Many businesses will find it necessary to develop their own databases, Websites, internal software systems, or software for sale to customers as a product/service. But the software development life cycle or SDLC, is far more complex than many at first realize. It takes intensive planning, cooperation, and effort to turn software ideas into a reality.
A well worked SDLC can help you know how to develop, “renovate,” or maintain any and every kind of software program at the highest possible level of efficiency and with the best possible performance results.
Here is a basic overview of the major stages involved in a full-fledged SDLC plan:
1. Requirement Gathering/Analysis
After the basic idea for your software program has already lit up the light bulb in someone’s head, the next step is to outline the specific business requirements you hope it will meet.
Project managers and stakeholders will meet and discuss the details of what functions they envision the software will perform. Who will use it and how, what data input/output will be involved, and other basic questions are asked. The analysis phase then seeks to answer questions posed in the requirement phase.
The end-result of this stage is the production of a “requirement spec document” that will be the basis of decisions made during the design phase.
2. Design and Coding
Designers will begin to formulate the structure and layout of the software and set up the hardware required to run it. This step moves from established requirement specifications toward a set of detailed design specifications. Testing strategies are also planned at this point, and the project is set for the implementation/coding phase.
Coders work off the design specs, after dividing the work to be done into units of more manageable size and dividing up the work among team members. Here is where the bulk of the workload is handled, and unsurprisingly, the coding phase is the longest one in the software development life cycle.
3. Testing and Deployment
Once the coding is done, your software program in effect has already come into existence; but you can’t afford to risk rushing it into immediate use without testing it first. Testing is done against the original requirements listed out in phase one. The software has to actually solve the problems/needs for which it was originally conceived, to be truly successful.
Testing involves unit testing, integration, system, and acceptance testing. Testers will put the software to “ordinary use” and keep a sharp eye out for any errors or bugs that pop up. It may take several rounds of testing and correction to get things ready for deployment.
Deployment begins with an expectation of customers reporting initial bugs, so it’s a continuation of the testing phase in a way and you need to be poised to correct all problems quickly to minimize user frustration. It all culminates in the “final deployment.”
4. Ongoing Maintenance
No database or software program is truly “permanent” or “maintenance free.” You should expect an occasional problem to arise, realize the need to monitor your software’s performance, and plan ahead for the eventuality of upgrades and replacement.