What is a software development life cycle? Definition, Models, Methodologies and Management
In a tech-forward world, SDLC which is the acronym for software development life cycle is the mainstay of this article, so if you’re interested in the subject, stick to the end or use navigation links to find where exactly you want to read.
Software development life cycle is a term that encompasses the framework used by development teams to build effective high-quality software for businesses. Adopted both by large and small software companies, the software development lifecycle methodology is a highly efficient development pathway trusted and used by top software engineers around the world.
Its methodology is widely accepted because of its step by step approach to software development. From its origin to how its implemented, you will see in this article all you need to know about SDLC.
How SDLC started; Back in the early 1960s, what we now call the “software development life cycle” was formerly known as “Systems development lifecycle” Now, that must have felt weird saying it out loud, it’s like using an old version of your phone. But going a bit deeper into the subject;
Geoffrey Elliot in his book “Global Business Information Technology” tells us of how big corporations invented the systems development lifecycle to help manage systems in business that are considered difficult and require a ton of data processing and analysis.
Over time, newer versions of the framework have been developed and adopted
Talking about the passage of time and the development of the SDLC, its phases has significantly evolved. With some versions having only five (5) and others (7), these variations consistently fluctuate, but in this article, you will read the most straightforward and consistent phrase framework for the SDLC model
Phase 1. Plan
This is the very first stage of the software development lifecycle framework. In this stage, every needed information is gathered from stakeholders and analyzed to determine specifically what can be achieved.
A couple of this analysis includes a study on the user persona, product’s purpose agreement and compiling requirements. It is at this stage that the team deliberates on the possibilities and opportunities associated with pursuing the project.
Phase 2. Design
This stage answers the question ‘How will we get this done?”
After there is finality on the requirements and team goal for the project, the most important thing to do afterward is the agreement on the design specifications.
In this stage, the aim is for everyone on the team to get a clear picture of what the goal is, and the process usually includes: building a product roadmap, acquire stakeholder agreement, and figure out the priority order of the project.
Phase 3. Code
This is the point where the development team brings the project to life using codes, following the specification. It is at this stage that the team interprets the overview of the entire plan into milestones and day-to-day activities.
Phase 4. Test
At this point, the QA team comes in. After the development team has released the first version of the product, the developers and QA team tests the product for possible bugs or defects. This process ensures the complete functioning of the product before its launch.
Phase 5. Deploy
For the stages to become a reality, the team must have checked, tested, and double-checked to fix any malfunction or design challenges. And the product meets all of the requirements and goals that were set before the project begun.
It is finally time to launch the product into the world! Now, customers will have access to buy and use the product.
Phase 6. Maintenance
Every developer knows that a product is never fully completed. Because ultimately there would always be feedback from users, complaints, and probably bugs to fix, this is why constant updates exist amongst such.
So at this stage, the attention of the entire team is fixed towards this; maintenance. Although the product team determines what feedbacks, questions or complaints gets to the developers for implementation on the product.
In the software development lifecycle, there are different models and each model stretches to different applications. But irrespective of all points to methods or steps that are important, and depending on the team, they can be adjusted to suit the environment and the project at hand.
The V model
This model is the more complex version of the waterfall model. It adds testing to each step of the process, thereby expanding the entire process which leads to the discovery of loopholes, and oversights early enough in the process. But likewise its less complex model; the waterfall it can lead to high risk due to its lack of flexibility.
The Waterfall Model
The waterfall model concerning its name has a top to bottom step-by-step approach. In this model, it is impossible to move onto the next stage without completing the first. It requires step-by-step tracking and careful observation, but it is a simple process that is quite easy to manage. It is also important to know that like the V model, the waterfall model can lead to risk because of its lack of flexibility.
The Iterative Model
This model moves in a cycle, completing piece by piece of a large project. These small units of a large project can be executed simultaneously. This model permits flexibility, in case there is a need for alteration or growth in the process. It is also important to consider the fact that the iterative model can be tough to manage and well drain resources for large projects.
The Agile Method
The Agile method considered one of the best methods is customer-centric. It focuses on the satisfaction and experience of the customer. The reason why most developers love this method is that they receive feedback from users all through the process and make needed adjustments.
Although it can be quite a drag to determine the duration and resources needed for a project, its flexibility and end-user satisfaction makes up for that fact.
The Spiral Method
This method is a combination of the iterative and waterfall method. It helps identify problems early in the project, but it also takes a considerable amount of financial investment.
You can as well see it as a risk analyzing method because it focuses on analyzing risk at every stage of the process. The Spiral method divides the project into bits, cycling through each phase till it comes to completion.
There are probably tons of benefits of using the SDLC framework but here are a few really good ones you should know:
- The SDLC ensures all stakeholders have a fair share of input in the product’s early stage of development.
- It helps developers answer the question of why and guides them to specification as they build
- SDLC cuts the work span considerably by controlling ‘after-the-effect-fixes’
- It drastically reduces the cost of development
- The SDLC helps improve the product quality and the organization’s delivery
- SDLC grants everyone on the team insight on how much it will cost to deliver the project and as well what it’ll take.
These are major benefits of the software development life cycle. There are little or no recorded problems because the flow of the framework demands that each stage must be complete before moving to the next. This way, problems are identified and dealt with the moment they arise. Which in turn positively affects the cost and quality of the project.
However, it is expedient to note that the SDLC framework also has its pitfalls or mildly put, disadvantages. These disadvantages can potentially impact development companies and the project process.
Here are some of the disadvantages of using an SDLC framework for your development projects;
- It is rigid, due to heavy process
The process is not flexible because the entire team has to agree on a particular development process and follow it aggressively.
This almost slows things down as it is the mantra of agile teams to have people over process, this makes for quicker more efficient decision making and fast workflow. But this is not the case with the software development lifecycle and stands as one major complaint amongst development teams.
- The whole process can turn out to be a complete fail mission
Software development life cycle has a nature that demands that a process must be followed. If a mistake is made or the team overlooks something, it can be that the market wasn’t properly studied, it can all end up a complete waste of time. This is a major issue with the SDLC framework
So there is a high chance of building a fully functional software that has zero demand! Unlike the agile approach which consistently reviews its project’s progress and seeks feedback from users in the marketplace.
- It stiffens collaborations and communications across departments
The entire team isn’t at all in communication during the development process. Because of the multiple stages associated with SDLC, a part of the team like UX or product marketing team could miss out on really useful information because of the workflow process and rigidity.
The software development lifecycle models, methodology, and management apply to different applications and projects, i.e. every project differs and may require the unique application of models. methodology and management. The tools for the actualization of the software is dependent on its intent
It takes a widely versed development company to analyze your project brief and determine what to model, methodology and management to deliver a quality software product. At Mobirevo we offer clients the best budget effective and seamless process to build a high-quality software product of global standards.