Software Development Lifecycle

Sometimes called a system development life cycle, the software development life cycle is the process through which a software system is created, or in some cases, altered. The life cycle requires a number of steps as well as a number of people in order to be successful. As with any type of project, the SDLC is going to need to pass through certain stages in the development process. Understanding the different phases is going to help even those who are not developers understand the process through which all software must go. Here are the stages of the development lifecycle that you will find in most development companies.
The Stages in the Software Development Lifecycle

The first stage is the preliminary analysis. When developing software for a company, one has to look at the reason the company needs to develop the software in the first place. It could well be that there are some alternatives that might be a better option. Exhaust all resources when trying to determine if you have any alternatives. This means that you are going to want to look at the problem from all different angles. Talk with employees - or anyone in any part of the company that the software would affect - and learn more about the company. It could be possible that by simply tweaking or re-imagining current software, you could avoid a full development cycle.

During this early stage of the SLDC is also the time to determine the costs of the development as well as the benefits that the software can offer. This will help in determining whether the return on the investment is going to be worth developing the software. In addition, it's time to come up with and submit a first plan. You will need to define what the software is going to be able to do and how it will affect the end users positively.

Next will be the preliminary system design, where the real work of creating the software is going to begin. At this time, you want to write down all of the features that you believe the software should contain in as much detail as possible. You should try to create mockups of the screen layouts and the interfaces for this process. Include as much documentation as needed to give the actual developing code writers what they need to get started.

In the next stage, the development stage, the developers will be writing the code. During this process, they are going to take the ideas that you want incorporated into the software and try to make them a reality. If there are issues, they will likely let you know during this stage so that it is possible to rethink the problems and smooth them out before continuing.

After this stage is the integration and testing phase. This puts the new software into a special environment where users will be able to test it without putting it to use on the full system. It is time for testers to look for any issues or bugs that the software might have that slipped through in the development stage. Once everything is in good working order, it goes into full use in the company, or becomes a product in the case of software development companies.

A final stage, maintenance, is going to continue through the life of the software. They will be able to make changes and updates, fix little bugs that might've slipped through, or create for other platforms.

The length of the SDLC varies based on a number of things, such as the complexity of the software, the company, and the usage of the software. It is rarely a good idea to rush the development of software, as this is how buggy software gets into the market. One of the things that some companies are doing is taking open source software and then tweaking it for their own usage. It is often much faster and easier then developing from the ground up.