What is the Software Development Life Cycle?

By Raven Web Services on August 11, 2022

The software development life cycle (also known as the software development process or simply the life cycle) is a model that organizes activities necessary to produce a final Digital Product. The software development life cycle has three main phases: analysis, design, and implementation. Each phase is divided into sequential steps that should be followed in a specific order. In this article we will explore what each phase of the software development life cycle entails and how it relates to different types of projects and organizations. This article does not cover testing your code as an end-to-end developer nor test automation as an operations specialist.

How was the SDLC created?

Software development life cycle was created by Grady Booch in the late 1980s. He first introduced it as the software process to a group at IBM. The SDLC has become an important part of software engineering, and many organizations are now adopting the process. In fact, according to Gartner Group, there were more than 1.3 billion software projects worth over $2 trillion in 2018.

Why is the SDLC important?

The SDLC is important because it reduces risk and ensures that your app or website is not only functional but also bug free. The quality of your product will depend on the quality of your code, which is why having a process for development (such as the SDLC) will ensure your code remains error-free and functions properly. The SDLC ensures software at all stages meets certain standards, from design to implementation, and takes into consideration many different factors including usability, security, maintenance, scalability, and portability.

The role of security in the SDLC

Security is a critical part of the software development life cycle and has been since the beginning. In short, it's considered an integral part of the SDLC. It's not just about ensuring that your code is robust against hackers, but also about making sure you're taking steps to protect your company's intellectual property and data from unauthorized access. As you go through each phase of the SDLC there are challenges associated with security, including how to protect your employees and themselves. If you're managing a larger-scale project, with more people involved in its design or implementation, it can become difficult to keep track of security measures as they progress in their work.

How does the SDLC work?

The SDLC has three phases: analysis, design, and implementation. Each phase is divided into sequential steps that should be followed in a specific order. In the analysis phase, you will identify the software problem and decide on the best strategy to solve it. The design phase is where you will outline your software solution in a high-level manner (overview), as well as estimate the effort involved. The implementation phase involves actually building your software solution.

What are the SDLC models/methodologies?

There are a number of models or methodologies that have been developed to aid in software development. These models may vary depending on the type and size of the project, as well as the resources available. There are five main models that are commonly used: waterfall, spiral, agile, iterative (i.e., phased), and evolutionary model. Other common terms for the SDLC include life cycle and business process management (BPM).

SDLC best practices

The software development life cycle is a guide for developers to help them plan and organize their work. This life cycle consists of several phases (some organizations may have it separated into more or less phases but typically there will be at least four phases and as many as seven or eight):

Planning phase

The planning phase covers all aspects of project and product management, including resource allocation, capacity planning, project scheduling, cost estimation and provisioning. During the planning phase, the development team collects input from stakeholders involved in the project to ensure everyone is on the same page and agrees with the proposed plan. This is an important step in ensuring the successful execution of the project.

Coding phase

The coding phase includes system design in an integrated development environment. It also includes static code analysis and code review for multiple types of devices.

Building Phase

The building phase takes the code requirements determined earlier and uses those to begin actually building the software.

Testing Phase

This next phase is all about the evaluation of the software. The testing team will assess the developed product to see if it meets the requirements set out in the previous phase. This assessment will involve functional testing, such as unit testing and code quality testing, as well as integration testing.

Release Phase

The release phase involves the team packaging, managing and deploying releases across different environments.

Deploy Phase

In the deployment phase, the software is officially released into the production environment. 

Operate Phase

The operate phase entails the use of the software in the production environment.

Monitor Phase

In the monitor phase, various elements of the software are monitored. These could include the overall system performance, user experience, new security vulnerabilities, an analysis of bugs or errors in the system.

The future of the SDLC

Increasingly, companies are using Agile development methods to implement software. Agile is an iterative method that emphasizes communications and cooperation during the design phase (or "Analysis") of a product. It also favours collaboration and short cycles of work in order to reduce the overall time required for development. The software development life cycle is changing to match these new methods, as it is becoming less about following strict guidelines and more about developing a product with the right features at the right time. This will help ensure that companies can keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape. As the SDLC becomes less structured, organizations need not worry about what they are saying they will do in terms of time frames or costs; instead, they can focus on delivering a quality product that meets their customer's requirements. The future of software development is exciting with new developments being made all the time.

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