Software Product Development Life Cycle: How to Choose a Model for Your Project
Men, the most superior race, have empowered themselves with complex things that make their lives easier. Augmented reality used in hospitals and video games, AI used in cars, IoT used in smart homes, are the core to the technological tools gaining popularity in today’s time. To make these things come into reality, organizations need to design high-tech software to build and support them. As mentioned, the software is the paradigm of complexity. However, no matter how complex, it needs to be flexible, easy to maintain and develop. And it can only be achieved through a simplified process of the Software development life cycle. The concept of the software development life cycle (SDLC) is much-needed planning in any IT project.
The software development life cycle (SDLC) involves a series of steps broken down systematically to successfully develop and maintain the software. It consists of a set of tasks required to complete at each stage of the development process. It is an extremely useful tool for developing leading software that helps in constructing and making the app ideas into reality.
If the software is unplanned, it tends to go out of hand and can lead to exceeding the budget and deadlines. The software development life cycle (SDLC) is probably the only way to ensure the resulting software meets the demands of a business and its users.
With SDLC, clients can enjoy the foreseen development progress of their software and see the predictions getting right. For teams developing the software, it is a roadmap that helps them understand what to do, when, and why.
Importance of Software Development Life Cycle:
– Enhances the visibility of the project for the engaged teams.
– Provides better control over the project
– Predictable outcomes can help combat difficulties during the development process
– Limits the exceeding of budget and deadlines
– Increased trust of clients
Phases of Software development life cycle (SDLC):
The teams need to ensure that there are transparency and clarity in the life cycle process, which helps them in following the steps without failure.
1. Planning and Requirement Analysis:
While talking about SDLC, it’s important to understand that planning is a foundation of the whole process which includes marketing research and analysis. Before starting the development process, understand the requirements of the clients, make time to get to know their goals and expectations towards the final product. Once the evaluation of the project is done, requirements are identified with their feasibility and validity.
2. UI/UX Design
This stage focuses on the entire architecture that is needed in the project. This includes the choice of programming language, hardware/software platforms, and software product architecture.
During the designing process, the testing team also defines their testing work during the process, I.e Testing systems architecture, configurations, prototypes, design details, interface details, dependency issues, and errors, etc.
3. Software Development
Once all the requirements are set and design choices are defined, the actual development process begins. This phase is the longest one in this entire software development lifecycle, where the actual coding comes into the picture
4. Testing and Quality Assurance
Once the software’s code is fully developed, testing is done by the team to assure all the requirements are met. The testing phase of SDLC is about quality assurance. Testing involves checking any faulty parts of the code and fixing them to make the product a success! All the standards set in the planning and requirements phase should match development so that QA can be in line with the implementation process.
The final version is rolled out when the software is completed and has no bugs.
6. Support and Maintenance:
During this stage, the software is exposed to the external environment and is prone to security breaches and bugs. Possible fixes and updates of the functionality at the maintenance stage make sure of being tolerant of security breaches.
SDLC Models Defined
While making the Software development life cycle (SDLC) models, choosing the appropriate model going with your development process allows your team to work in a more effective and predictable environment. There are different SDLC models in the industry, each of them offering its own approaches to the development process. No matter which model you choose, the phases of SDLC will remain the same.
Below are the main models that are constantly followed by industry experts:
1. Agile SDLC model
Agile is one of the most popular and most sought out software development models. With the Agile development process, the product is built-in small incremental builds and delivered in small iterations. All the phases are divided into time frames that are abided by the team religiously, to function properly. The agile software development life cycle is cut out for every product, making it a favorite of every SDLC team. This also involves clients’ feedback now and then and if clients want delivery of product fast-paced, Agile software development is a priority.
2. Traditional software development Life Cycle
A) The V-model:
It is another linear model with an association of a testing phase for each corresponding development stage, which means for every single phase of development, there is a fixated testing phase, helps in easy tracking and combating of potential defects and bugs, which assures the quality product being developed with every phase. This SDLC model is a highly disciplined one where the next phase only starts after the completion of the previous stage.
B) Incremental Model:
It is a process of software development where requirements are broken down into multiple autonomous modules of the software development cycle. Development is done in steps from analysis – design – implementation – testing – maintenance. New software modules are added in every stage with little or no change in the previous modules. The development process goes on sequentially or parallelly, adding to the speed of delivery, while many repeated cycles of sequential development can make the project duration long and costly.
C) Iterative development
Its software development process starts with easy implementation of a small set of software requirements and step by step to enhance the software versions until the complete system is implemented and ready to be deployed. The development progresses and changes on each iteration and grows. Although, with every iteration built on the previous one, software design remains consistent. As software is delivered in parts, hence, there is no need for a full specification from the project’s start and small changes to requirements are possible in the course of the development process.
D) Spiral model:
It is one of the most important Software Development Life Cycle models, which puts focus on thorough risk assessment and management. Thus, to reap the benefits of the model to the fullest, you’ll need to engage people with a strong background in risk evaluation. A typical Spiral model lasts around 6 months and starts with 4 important activities – planning – risk analysis – prototype creation, and evaluation of the previously delivered process. Repeated spiral cycles seriously extend project timeframes and involve extensive customer involvement for the feedback process.
The waterfall was introduced as the first of all development models. In the phases (analysis, design, coding, testing and QA, deployment, support), the process moves in a series. Each stage has its set deliverables and is documented for further assistance in the project. The next stage cannot start before the previous one is fully completed. Thus, for example, development requirements cannot be re-evaluated and analyzed further in the coding phase. There is also no ability to see and try the software until the last development stage is finished, which results in high project risks and unpredictable project results.
3 basic parameters will determine your SDLC needs:
1. Continuous Delivery vs. One time launch
In case your product development is a continuous process, you can choose models like iterative SDLC, whereas, in the case of small projects with a set launch period, you can either go with a V-model or Waterfall SDLC model.
2. Flexible vs. Rigid Requirements
During the initial phase of SDLC, Requirements are based on the planning. Whether your requirements have room for flexibility or not, the choice of the SDLC model depends on that. The Waterfall and V-model involve setting your requirements at the very beginning of the project and have no space for alterations once the development process starts. Agile and spiral are the most flexible models, and help implement frequent modifications during the entire product development life cycle.
3. Collaboration vs. Documentation
Models that require very detailed documentation for clients can be included in models like Spiral, Waterfall, and V-model. Agile methodology allows for collaboration and communication between the two parties helping combat difficult situations.
While choosing from the multiple approaches involving variations of levels in communication, flexibility, and frequency of releases, the functionality of your software, it is difficult to choose the right model of SDLC. Hence, you need to collaborate with the right software development partner, who has experience in delivering your product while handling tough spots during SDLC.