7 Steps Of SDLC: Which One Is The Most Crucial
Software creation is no easy task. Hence, you would need to design a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to circumvent obstacles in the implementation process. Let’s explore the different phases to start a successful software development project.
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What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?
The Software Development Life Cycle, aka SDLC, is a rigorous, iterative, multistage process which clearly outlines the stages involved in the software development project. Having a proper framework will enable businesses to deliver a robust system that meets the customers’ expectations.
Get SDLC right and companies can achieve the highest level of transparency and management control. A well-structured SDLC allows all parties to have a specific plan for arriving at the agreed goal. It can also help decrease project risk and improve development speed.
How to start a software project?
The software development life cycle consists of 7 phases
1. Requirements Gathering & Analysis
Before starting a project, you must determine the necessity of a new system to reach the business’s strategic goals. In the event of a problem or opportunity, possible solutions are submitted and evaluated to determine the optimal one for the project’s objectives. This is where teams examine the requirement analysis with inputs from clients, the sales department, market research reports and subject matter experts. For instance, a banking mobile app would require eKYC for the digital onboarding process and digital lending platforms covering the entire loan lifecycle.
Following that, this data is employed to create the basic project approach and carry out a product feasibility analysis from technical, operational, and financial aspects.
These requirements will need to get approval from either the customer or the market analysts via a Software Requirement Specification (SRS), which contains both functional and non-functional requirements to be developed throughout the project lifecycle. The documents will be used as a point of reference for the next stage.
Once gathering requirements is completed, the next step is to plan. From there, the terms of the project will be determined:
- Cost estimation
- Required resources
- Tech stack
- Roles needed in the project
- Project scheduling
- Leadership structure
Project managers need to clearly outline the project’s scope and objective. This charts the team's trajectory to efficiently develop the software. Additionally, it establishes constraints to prevent the project from escalating or deviating from its initial objective.
The final step is to determine the quality assurance requirements and execute risk identification. Based on the outcome of the product feasibility analysis, you can define the appropriate technical methods that should be implemented for the project to run smoothly with minimum risks.
The third phase goes into great detail about the required standards, features, and activities that fulfill the functional specifications of the proposed system.
Some essential factors that you need to take into account:
- Architecture: quality attributes, IT environment, human dynamics, and business strategy
- User Interface: how users interact with the software
- Platforms - decide on which platform the software will launch (Windows, Android, iOS, and Macintosh)
- Programming: involves techniques of resolving issues and executing tasks in the app alongside the programming language
- Communications: specifies the channels through which the software can talk to other assets, e.g. a central server
- Security: describes the procedures taken to safeguard the program, which might consist of password protection, SSL traffic encryption, and secure user credential storage
4. Software Development
This phase of SDLC involves writing code and transforming design documentation into actual software. Tools like Access Control or Source Code Management might be used to keep track to code changes.
The developers’ team should make sure that their code adheres to the planned blueprint to meet the software requirement specifications. It’s also important that you have clear instructions about the code practices and style.
This SDLC phase is where Quality Assurance (QA) specialists find bugs and errors. QA engineers usually deploy a range of frameworks in addition to continuous integration to perform unit tests and automation compilation.
The QA team would also conduct various testing, from functionality testing, systems integration to interoperability and user acceptability testing. Verification and validation are other crucial steps in ensuring the code is clean.
Depending on the budget and testing requirements, your project might select between manual and automation testing or the combination of both. Project managers would also need to create a test tool selection criteria and checklist to pick out the appropriate tool and framework.
After testing, depending on the client’s requirements, the product might undergo User Acceptance Testing (UAT) where it is tested in the real business environment with a limited segment. Based on the feedback, the software might be launched as it is or with proposed improvements.
The final phase entails maintenance and regular upgrades. This stage is when clients can enhance and fine-tune the software, if they want, to increase performance, add new features and capabilities.
What is the most important phase of SDLC?
Requirements gathering and analysis is the most crucial phrase of the SDLC. Without understanding the requirements, no project team can create a solution that is appreciated by customers. Most teams put effort into developing new solutions and neglecting requirement gathering which results in the failure of the software projects. This is one of the main reasons driving 66% of software projects fail, as per the Standish Group’s 2022 CHAOS report. Hence, it’s crucial that each requirement is outlined in detail and understood by the development team.
There are multiple SDLC models you can implement for your projects. Each processes development stages in its own way. Popular SDLC models are:
- Waterfall model
- Lean Development
Read more about SDLC models at: Software Development: Definition, Types, Methodologies, and More
Best Practices of SDLC
Development teams often use Source Control as a security strategy to protect the working code by storing the code in a single place with secured and logged access. It can either be a physical site where files are kept and retrieved in a room or a virtual area where customers can log in for a cloud-based programming environment via an encrypted channel.
Source Control is also equipped with a change management system which enables you to keep track of your team workflow. As with any storage, you should utilize a backup system to document development progress in case of a crisis.
Continuous Integration (CI)
The purpose of CI is to ensure every element is compatible throughout the development cycle. Before the emergence of CI, development teams would have to integrate thousands of lines of code at once. This posed tremendous problems, making the system prone to error. CI automates the incorporation of code change from various contributors to a single software. This helps avoid conflicts and duplicated work by ensuring all teams deploy the same programming languages and libraries.
SDLC Management Systems
A SDLC management system monitors and manages each phase of the development cycle. It enhances transparency of each stage and the project as a whole. Analytics, bug-tracking are also included. The cycle’s inefficient components can be optimized using these measures.
Having an effective SDLC is vital to develop a high quality software solution. Failure in one stage can have negative effects on the remaining stages of the cycle, hence, jeopardizing the success of the project. Businesses can only take advantage of SDLC when the plan is meticulously followed.
Want to design an efficient SDLC that can streamline software development and create transformative products? Consult with our experts today to kick start your project and have professionals accompany you through every stage of the SDLC.