A Detailed Look At The Software Development Life Cycle
Whether you are building a game or something more complex like an ERP system, software development is no joke. A lot of software is highly complex and requires a systematic process to develop it efficiently. This process is called the software development life cycle.
But what is the software development life cycle? Let’s take a look at it by considering the various steps you can follow to bring your project to life.
Stages Of The Software Development Life Cycle
This is the first and most fundamental stage of the software development cycle. With the help of the company you choose to employ, you begin by gathering all the information you can – from sales, market surveys, and even domain experts! You then use this information to plan your basic approach to the project and determine whether or not your method is feasible.
It is also essential to do a risk analysis while you plan. Once you are sure you can complete the project without too many liabilities, you need to make a detailed list of your requirements. To do this efficiently, you need to be clear on two things – the goal of your final product and who your end users are.
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Once you know what you need, you can communicate your requirements to your development team. You do this by creating a software requirement specification (or SRS for short) document that describes what you want your product to do. You should include a detailed list of all your requirements to fully prepare those who will build your software before they get started.
An SRS document works as a guide for all the teams involved in the software development life cycle – from development to design, to testing, to maintenance. Always keep this document up-to-date and give every stakeholder a copy so they can follow along.
At this stage of the software development life cycle, your design team will use the SRS document as a blueprint to create the best possible architecture for building your product. They will do this with the help of the risk assessment you did earlier and your budget and time constraints. We can think of this phase as the culmination of the last two.
Your designers will also consider integrating the new software into your existing systems. They will define all the different architectural modules and figure out how they will communicate with any external or third-party modules.
This is the stage of the software development life cycle where the coding work begins. Your team of developers start implementing the specified design to build your software. Just like the rest of your team, your coders must stick to the blueprint you have decided on.
You also have to ensure that your developers follow a system of nomenclature to keep the code consistent. After all, you want it to be intelligible so that anyone who has to make modifications in the future will easily understand it.
Once you complete all the modules you can start testing your software. You don’t want to make it available to the public if it doesn’t work correctly! This is the stage where you iron out all the kinks and make sure that there are no bugs in your software.
Remember the SRS document we talked about? The testing team is usually separate from the development team, and they refer to this document to ensure they meet all your standards. Of course, they also correct any errors in design or development.
You can also get users to test your finished product! This is invaluable because you will learn what works and what doesn’t for your customers – the people who will finally give you money.
Your software is now ready to go live! You should keep two copies of your software – one that users will pay for and use and one that your team will continue testing and tweaking. This ensures that people can still use your software while it is in the process of being upgraded.
If you want, you can deploy your software in stages. You can make changes to improve it based on how it performs with the first set of users. We can think of this as extended testing.
This is the last of the software development lifecycle phases. Your work doesn’t end with deployment because the world of software is constantly in a state of transformation. Even once your software is widely in use, there will be bugs to get rid of and improvements to make. Your maintenance team will take care of this. It is their job to keep your product functioning and up-to-date.
Adapting The Software Development Life Cycle
While the core stages of software development remain the same across projects, no solution will work in every single situation. Each project is different and will require a different strategy to be implemented. We will take a look at three different models of software development and how they arrange the different stages we have talked about.
This was the first software development model to exist and is probably the simplest to understand. According to this model, you don’t move on to the next step before completing the previous ones.
In contrast to the waterfall model, you do not work on all of your requirements at once. Instead, you work on smaller sections of your software before putting them together.
We can think of the agile model as a combination of the first two. While you follow the different phases of software development, you do so for each of the different features of your product.
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