Software Development Life Cycle, popularly known as SDLC, is a terminology that defines a series of steps followed by developers to build and deliver a software solution.
While modern organizations abundantly rely on innovative software for their everyday operations, managing software development in-house becomes a cumbersome task as there are other critical functions, like operations, marketing, and sales, to take care of. In addition, many of the organizations do not have adequate resources to have an in-house development team.
In such scenarios, the ideal solution is to search for a software development partner. Understanding the basics of SDLC can make it easier for you to choose the right development partner as per your needs and expectations. Here’s a quick overview of the SDLC.
7 Stages of Software Development Life Cycle
While there are several SDLC methodologies, these seven steps can roughly vary between them. While they generally occur in the order listed below, they can be intertwined and worked upon simultaneously.
The first step involves product and project management planning. It can include capacity planning, resource allocation, cost estimation, project scheduling, and provisioning.
The development team and project managers, along with the security and operations teams, participate in these meetings to ensure adequate representation of all the perspectives.
The next phase of software development involves understanding client requirements. A team of business analysts from the development company meets the client to collect their requirements and thoroughly understand their expectations from the product.
The collected information is used by the analysts for preparing BRS (Business Requirement Specification). The BRS includes detailed guidelines for all the various stages involved in SDLC.
Software developers and architects begin designing the product once the client requirements are understood and BRS is prepared. Established patterns of software development and application architecture are used for the designing stage.
For instance, TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) is an established architecture framework wherein applications are developed from existing components to promote standardization and reuse. The created designs are documented using DDS (Design Document Specification).
In most cases, a few different design prototypes are created in this stage. A design is chosen depending on factors such as modularity, risk, budget, and time constraints.
The software development phase is also known as the implementation phase, as developers transform product idea and design into actual software. The DDS includes the source code guidelines that are followed for developing the software.
Several programming languages, such as Java, PHP, C, C++, Python, C#, etc., can be used for development. Aspects such as the product being developed and use-case help developers select the best programming language for the project.
Once the software is developed, it is followed by one of the most critical stages of SDLC, which is testing. A quality software solution can seldom be delivered without adequate testing. The testing phase involves an extensive range of tests to effectively measure product quality.
Some of the most vital tests include-
- Functional testing
- Code quality
- Performance testing
- Integration testing
- Security testing
Most top software development companies automate these tests to ensure that they run regularly without skipping, especially when the time constraints are strict. Once the testing phase is completed, a software product is ready for deployment.
After testing the software and ensuring that all the client expectations are fulfilled, the software is ready for deployment. The software is documented before deployment for referencing in the future. The client is also provided product ownership.
The strategy used for deploying the software relies on client specifications. In most large organizations, software deployment is mostly automated. However, deployment in smaller organizations or entities involved in regulated industries requires manual approvals.
ARA (Application Release Automation) tools are commonly used for automated software deployment. Continuous Integration systems are often integrated with ARA tools.
Also, in some cases, clients deploy the new software to limited users for conducting UAT (User Acceptance Test). The feedback collected from the users is used to improve the software further. The improved version of the product is then released for the entire market.
7.Maintenance and Operations
The SDLC will not end with deployment. The software solution should be rigorously monitored to ensure that it works as expected. Defects and bugs are discovered and resolved on a consistent basis. The software is again tested after every bug/defect removal so that the steps taken to resolve the errors do not result in other problems.
Similarly, throughout the maintenance lifecycle, multiple updated software versions are released, often with new features/functionalities to further improve the product.
Choosing the Right Software Development Partner
Now that you have a brief understanding of the SDLC, here are the steps you can follow to choose the right software development partner for your needs-
·Clearly Defined SDLC
It is essential for the development partner to have a proven SDLC strategy. While it is alright for the development company to use slightly different terminologies when explaining the SDLC, the process should involve the seven basic phases discussed above.
The product portfolio or past work of the company can offer excellent insights into their expertise. Most of the top software development companies have detailed portfolios on their websites. If not, you can always ask them about their past work during the initial consultation.
It’d be great if the software company has already delivered software solutions similar to your product needs. If the company has developed such solutions in the past, you can try using them to better understand their capabilities.
Ready to Choose the Best Software Development Company?
Software development is often not a one-time process or expense. The product will require continuous transformative processes and improvements to make it scalable and viable. Thus, it is always better to spend some time on the selection process as you are looking for a long-term association.
Now that you understand the basics of SDLC and know a few tips for choosing the right development company, put your knowledge into action to make the right selection.