What is the software development life cycle? Why is it important?

by Andy Jones
March 27, 2020
Custom Software Developer, Software Development Company

Software development is a complicated process which requires sufficient time, extensive experience, out-of-the-box creativity, and excellent client-developer communication. Whether you are outsourcing the process or planning to get it done in-house, it makes sense to have an overview of how software development works. In order to do this, you should learn about the software development life cycle (SDLC).

What Is The Software Development Life Cycle?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a scheme that includes a breakdown of the main steps involved in software development, starting with early planning and ending with a ready-to-use product. There are several different SDLC models available. Each organisation can choose the right one for its needs.

Software Development Life Cycle Steps

These basic SDLC steps are present in each of the models.

  1. Planning – A team of experienced software developers and designers get together to discuss and analyse the client’s needs, ideas and requirements. They map out the scope of the project and document it for future needs.
  2. Implementation – A team of software engineers writes code according to the plan. Depending on the model, this code may or may not be changed in the process according to the clients’ alterations.
  3. Testing – Finding mistakes and defects in the code and fixing them to get an ideal final product.
  4. Deployment – After being fixed and approved for release, the software is deployed for the client to take advantage of it.
  5. Maintenance/Support – Changing the product according to new requirements (if any).

SDLC Models

Since all companies are different, each may have its own requirement for SDLC. The most popular models are:

  • Waterfall model – The oldest SDLC model follows each step consistently, never starting the next one before the previous one ends. The downside is a problem with one of the steps can delay the whole process.
  • Agile model – The agile process of software development is broken into cycles. Testing and releasing of each cycle is done separately, getting feedback for the next cycle. The biggest problem is that the project may take the wrong direction and end up being delayed. Other SDLC models include:
  • Iterative
  • V-shaped
  • Big Bang
  • Spiral

Why Is The Software Development Life Cycle Important?

If approached correctly, an SDLC methodology allows a high level of management control and documentation. Developers get a clear picture of what needs to be created and why. The client has the opportunity to interact with the team to ensure a clear understanding of their requirements. All the work is transparent with clearly defined goals and measurable outcomes at every stage. Meanwhile, everyone involved understands the costs, resources and time involved to complete different aspects of the project.

Software development companies all over the world use an SDLC to complete a wide variety of projects. If carried out effectively, it simplifies the development process while keeping all parties happy.

At Make IT Simple, we understand how software development models work and can help you select the best methodology for your project.

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