SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle): Definition and Phases


SDLC, short for Software Development Life Cycle is a very familiar process that many businesses are applying in their products. In the IT industry, SDLC helps tech engineers design, develop and test in a thorough and competent way. Since the application of SDLC in software products, many high-quality apps have been created and continuously improved, enhancing user experience. So, what is SDLC exactly? What are the phases in this process? Let’s find out in the following article.

What is SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)?

SDLC stands for Software Development Life Cycle. In SDLC, each phase and task required for a software application is outlined and planned by the stakeholders of a project. When every step and detail of the project is clarified, monitoring and controlling will be easier, ensuring the project stay on track.

In every phase of an SDLC, the stakeholders can carry out fine-grain analysis to identify the most efficient way to do the project and the possible issues to avoid. Most ideally, the analysis is divided into technology research, market research, cost-benefit analysis. In the technology research, the development and testing need to be addressed so that the team knows how everything is built and tested.

The basic phases of an SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)?

A full SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) consists of 7 steps:

  • Planning and Requirement Analysis
  • Defining requirements
  • Designing the Product Architecture and prototyping
  • Software Development
  • Software Testing
  • Deployment
  • Operations and Maintenance
SDLC Software Development Life Cycle - Phases
SDLC Software Development Life Cycle – Phases

The original SDLC comprises of particular steps in a particular order. But this doesn’t have to be the same for every company. In fact, SDLC can be subdivided into smaller units. Some project managers even combine, split, or even omit certain steps that they feel are unnecessary during the development process.

1. Planning in SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)

Planning and requirement analysis is the first and foremost step that must be done when you want to develop an application. This step requires the stakeholders, aka the project manager and team leaders sit down together and calculate many features.

As we said above, there should be technology research, market research, labor and material cost analysis, a detailed schedule, and the goals of the projects.

The stakeholders also need to conclude the requirements of the project, both in terms of finance and technology. From these requirements, they come up with a full analysis on how to fulfill those and a more detailed plan for the project.

2. Defining requirements

Know your expectation well to streamline your product. Answer these questions:

  • What is the application supposed to do?
  • How many features do you want your product to have?
  • What are the requirements for each feature?
  • What kinds of resources are needed to build such product (both in terms of HR and finance)?

Once the requirement analysis is done, the next step is to clearly define and document the product requirements and get them approved by the customer or the market analysts. This is done through an SRS (Software Requirement Specification) document which consists of all the product requirements to be designed and developed during the project life cycle.

3. Designing the Product Architecture and prototyping

The designing phase includes the “illustrations” of everything needed in building a software application and sometimes, it also includes prototyping.

The design should be specified in the following features:

  • User interface: How the software application is represented in front of the eyes of users. To have this, your team needs to come up with a wireframe, and a detailed design of the app and its different functions.
  • Architecture: In architecture, you need to define the programming language, how you handle data, etc.
  • Platforms: It can be iOS, Android, Windows, etc. To know this, you need to know the target market, target customers, and maybe even their behaviors.
  • Programming: With the programming language that you chose in the architecture step, you then choose a suitable methodology in managing the project.
  • Communication: You decide on the methods of communication between the software application and other assets.
  • Security: What measures can be done to protect the application from attacks? What process is gonna be applied to assure this?

The output of the prototyping step is the early versions of the software application, showing the basic ideas and how the application will look and work. From this prototype, you can get feedback and then improve the application.

4. Software Development

While the three above steps can be considered the “preparation” for the software application to be built, software development is when the coding and programming actually start. To successfully pull off this phase, the first thing needed is to have full documentation, including a user guide, troubleshooting guide, FAQs, source code, etc.

In this phase, based on the agreed-upon prototypes, the developer team will program the application accordingly. Required functions and modules will be carried out as scheduled. The schedule for each module, task or even the final version needs to be clarified when all the planning is done, so that no more time is wasted. A detailed schedule can help the business scale its operations and prepare for the launch.

Application features will be divided into smaller tasks, and the project manager will have his/her own way of managing them.

Read more:

5. Software Testing in SDLC

Software testing is considered a vital part of a successful software application. Before making it available on the app store for users, your team needs to carry out testing, both manual and automated to make sure everything can do what it’s supposed to do.

There are many kinds of testing, but one application doesn’t necessarily have to have them all. Based on the scale and the number of features of the application will the test leader decide what kind of testing are to be done.

Normally, the application will be tested in a simulated production environment. With this being done, you can see how the application actually functions. Many companies now choose to test in production, but this is not recommended as it can affect user experience with the application.

All in all, the testing phase helps your team reduce lags, bugs, and glitches. And with a well-functioning software application, you can gain higher user satisfaction and a better usage rate.

Read more: Automation Testing vs. Manual Testing

6. Deployment

The application is made available to users during the deployment phase. Many businesses prefer to have the deployment step automated. This might be as straightforward as a payment portal and download link on the company’s website. It could also be the installation of an app on a smartphone.

Deployment can be difficult as well. One example is migrating a company-wide database to a freshly designed application. Because the database relies on numerous other systems, integrating the upgrade may take extra time and effort.

7. Operations and Maintenance

This is the last phase of an SDLC in which the development cycle is almost finished. Now, the software application has been done and is being used. With a wider scale and many more users, it is very likely that they will discover bugs that weren’t found in the testing phase. These errors will be handled and resolved.

Models like Iterative development propose extra features in future releases in addition to issue patches. A new Development Cycle can be started for each new release.

Consult your SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) with Lotus TS

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) can be considered the backbone of how to build a fully functional software application. For the best result, it is recommended that your project applies every phase of the cycle so that the overall quality can be assured. On the other hand, many project managers can have their own way of building their applications.

For more information on how you can apply SDLC in your next project, consult with experts from Lotus TS to know how to do this.

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