The Software Development Life Cycle

May 7, 2019
John Kensinger
John Kensinger

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is the framework or process an organization follows to determine which steps will be taken during the development of a software. While the number of steps or phases can vary from organization to organization, most SDLCs generally include:

  • Planning: This can include analyzing what is required by the software and determining the scope of the project.
  • Design: How are you going to meet the project requirements? You have to design a plan to get from beginning to end.
  • Development: In this phase, your software developers begin the work of coding.
  • Testing: Is your software working the way you expected? Will your software provide a positive user experience? Performing functional testing and usability testing are just two of the ways you can check your work and improve your product.
  • Deployment: At this point, you are ready to release all or part of your software to see how it performs for actual users.
  • Maintenance: Whether you got it right the first time or user feedback has indicated areas for improvement, you will need to maintain your software to meet changing demands and technological requirements.

Just as phases can be added or eliminated based on your needs, how organizations move between the stages can also be personalized. In the blog, “Software Development Life Cycle,” the author highlights that “the core idea of a software development life cycle remains -- it is an order of tasks aimed at creating a digital solution.”

Traditionally, many organizations started with the planning phase and moved through each phase only after the preceding phase was completed. This is called the Waterfall Model, or Waterfall Methodology. The drawback to this method is that a hold up in one phase can completely prevent a project from moving forward. That said, there are many other other models organizations are using: Agile, Iterative, Spiral, Lean, and DevOps.

Today, many organizations use the Agile Model, where you quickly release iterations, test, improve, and await customer feedback. It requires teamwork, flexibility, and speed. More recently, the Agile Model has evolved into the DevOps Model. While both models are customer-centric models that rely on collaboration, high quality, and small but frequent updates, DevOps takes it a step further. It’s not just a model, it’s a culture, a movement, and a mindset. Software developers, testers, managers, and stakeholders all share a common goal: continuous delivery of a quality product. DevOps is thus another way of enabling an organization to keep up with the changing nature of technology and the demands of customers. In his blog, “How to Build a Successful DevOps Culture within Your Organization,” Patrick Turner offers four tips for creating and maintaining a DevOps environment:

  1. Learn to trust
  2. Understand motivations
  3. Eliminate blame
  4. Help your team to understand the “why”

Whether you choose the DevOps, Waterfall, or another model mentioned earlier, an SDLC gives everyone involved a project road map. It can help define roles, expectations, and responsibilities among team members. When it comes to implementing an SDLC model, you should consider a variety of factors, including:

  • What sort of resources do you have to complete each phase?
  • Do software developers and quality assurance team members communicate and work well with each other (this is particularly important for Agile and DevOps models)?
  • What outside resources, such as testing services, will be used?

The best way to get from point A to point B is to have a plan that everyone on the team is aware of. Regardless of which model and stages you choose to focus on, they will all affect your SDLC in critical ways. If you want to see how test IO can benefit your team in the testing stage, get in touch with us today.

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