What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) outlines the procedures developers must follow during each stage of software development. It includes a thorough outline of the strategy for creating, deploying, and maintaining the programme. The SDLC defines the full development cycle or all the activities involved in organising, producing, evaluating, and implementing a software product. 

A life cycle depicts the different tasks carried out on a piece of software from conception until retirement. The needed development activities may be scheduled according to phases in various life cycle models. Therefore, no matter whether a life cycle framework is used, all fundamental tasks are included, even if they may be performed in various sequences depending on the life cycle model. Multiple activities can be carried out at every stage of the life cycle.

Creating a software product wouldn’t be systematic and disciplined without using a precise life cycle model. Team members need to agree on when and what to do when producing a software product. If not, it would be an indication of disorder and project failure.

Why is the Software Development Cycle Important?

Some of the benefits of the Software Development Cycle are as follows:

  • It offers a useful methodology and structure for creating software applications.
  • SDLC assists in cutting wasteful development costs. Developers can identify costly errors and estimate expenditures during the early stages.
  • It offers a foundation for assessing the software’s efficacy. This improves the software product even more.
  • The life cycle makes it possible for developers to create top-notch software applications. This is because they adhere to a well-organised approach that enables them to evaluate the software before it is released.

Software Development Life Cycle Phases

There are 7 phases that make the Software Development Life Cycle. The phases are listed below.

  1. Planning
  2. Analysis
  3. Designing
  4. Development
  5. Testing
  6. Implementation and Deployment
  7. Maintenance

Planning Phase 

The planning stage, also known as the feasibility stage, is where developers will plan for the impending project. Determining the goals for new systems, the problem, and the scope of any current systems helps.

The planning stage, which is perhaps the most crucial, establishes the project timetable, which might be crucial if development is taking place for a commercial entity that must be released to the market by a specific date.

The team should be able to identify issues before they have an impact on growth by creating a strong overview for the upcoming cycle.

Analysis Phase 

During this phase, the developers usually create a document known as a software requirements specification. An SRS document lays out the program’s goals and expected results. It also includes the features the programme should offer.

Then, while considering the software’s design and coding, the developer team will assess the requirements. Additionally, looking at the viability and potential of including these needs in the software system. The main objective of this step is to ensure that everyone comprehends every last nuance of the need. A few needs include technology, software platforms, coding, and security.

Designing Phase 

The programme designer carefully examines if the prepared software satisfies all of the requirements of the user during the design phase. Additionally, it is also examined whether the project is feasible in all spheres for the client.

The team will concentrate on the architecture and programming of the application, including determining the programming language, industry standards, and techniques for resolving issues and carrying out particular activities. Based on the stated application designs, the team starts designing user interfaces and deciding which platforms the software will run on. Security comes last but not least.

Development Phase 

The development stage is when programmers write the application’s code per the preceding design papers and laid-out specifications.

The product’s programme code is created according to the design document’s specifications. The actual development process ought to be rather simple, given the extensive planning and outlining that has already taken place. Developers will use various tools, including compilers, debuggers, and interpreters, and adhere to any coding standards established by the business. This phase of the SDLC is regarded as one of the lengthiest.

Testing 

The software is released in the testing phase after it has been built by the developers. The system’s overall functionality is then tested by the testing team. Testing is carried out during this fifth stage of the SDLC to ensure the entire application complies with the client’s demands.

Following testing, the testing team may discover some problems or defects and inform the developers of them. The developers then send the product to QA for a retest after fixing the defects. This procedure is repeated until the programme is reliable, bug-free, and meets the system’s operational needs.

Implementation and Deployment 

The overall software design will be completed after testing. Developers will work to incorporate various modules or designs into the main source code, frequently using training environments to find additional errors or flaws.

The framework will finally be built and incorporated into its environment. The software is technically ready for market after clearing this stage and may be made available to any end customers.

Numerous systems and devices should frequently be interconnected to finish this step. In some circumstances, additional time and effort may also be required. At first glance, the deployment step could appear to be the last, but this might just be the beginning.

Maintenance Stage 

When the consumer really begins utilising the system that has been designed, problems arise that must occasionally be fixed. The seventh step of the SDLC is maintenance, which is when the developed product is looked after. The programme is updated promptly in accordance with the evolving user-level environment or technology.

Developers are expected to take control of the situation by making any changes that the software may need after it has been executed. This can include repairing faults that could have been missed out in earlier stages. In comparison to smaller-sized systems, larger systems can need more maintenance.

Models of Software Development Life Cycle 

Several defined software development life cycle models are used in the software development process. To ensure success in the software development process, each process model adheres to a set of specific processes unique.

The models we cover are:

  1. Waterfall
  2. Iterative
  3. Agile
  4. Big Bang
  5. Spiral
  6. V-Shaped
  7. Prototype

Waterfall Model 

This software development life cycle paradigm is regarded as the most established and straightforward. With the use of this process, we complete one phase and then begin the next. This model is known as the waterfall model because each level floods into the next, and each phase in this paradigm has its own mini-plan. However, this paradigm has the flaw that even the smallest unfinished elements can hold up an entire procedure.

Iterative Model 

Iterative development is a technique for segmenting the software development of a huge application into manageable chunks. It’s a specific application of a software development life cycle which emphasises an early, basic implementation before steadily gaining complexity and a wider feature set until the finished system is ready.

Agile Model 

Agile is the new standard model widely used because it takes a phase-by-phase, or “sprint-based,” approach to software development. As a result, developers can finish the project rapidly and with greater flexibility if fresh adjustments to scope and direction are introduced during each sprint. As a result, agile projects take less time to plan and are more flexible than traditional projects.

Big Bang Model 

The Big Bang approach to software development and coding emphasises all available resources with little to no forethought. Then, when necessary, the needs are recognised and carried out.

This strategy functions well when a small development team is working on a project together. It is also helpful for software development projects in the classroom. In scenarios when needs are unclear, or the precise delivery date is not known, this strategy works best.

Spiral Model 

Gathering the business needs in the baseline spiral is the first step in the Spiral Model. Assessment of system requirements, component requirements, and unit prerequisites are all completed in this phase, which is followed by spirals as the product fine blends.

Determining the system requirements during this phase also entails constant contact between both the customer and the analyst. The product is introduced into the identified market at the bottom of the spiral.

V-Shaped Model 

Testing and development are planned concurrently in this type of SDLC methodology. There are, therefore, two phases: a verification phase and a validation phase. By the coding phase, V-Model joins.

Prototype Model 

Comparing prototype models to the actual software reveals that they perform poorly and have limited functional capabilities. Prototypes are built with dummy functionality. This is a useful tool for figuring out what the customers want.

Software prototypes are created before the final product to obtain helpful user feedback. After taking into account user feedback, the prototype is once more examined by the client. Up until the consumer accepts the model, this process continues.

Wrapping Up 

With the top standard of transparency and management control, SDLC may be a fantastic tool. However, project failure may result from disregarding users’ needs, stakeholders’ concerns, or client requirements.

Each model of the Software Development Life Cycle has benefits as well as risks of its own. The elements like needs, system Complexity, size of the project, the cost involved etc., can help establish the optimal model for any project.

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