Business owners who have to build their first digital product with the team of developers often face the difficulties defining whether the development process is authentic and propper. Our article describes what the software development life cycle is, its main stages and methods. That will help to avoid common mistakes when the management over the project appears to be vague due to failure to follow the right development flow.
Any software is a complicated and structured massive of separate blocks of information and functions. Though when arranged harmonically, the digital products serve business goals, make the work or lives easier. Such solutions appear as the result of successfully performed a Software Development Life Cycle.
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is the process of performing particular actions by the team of developers resulting in the viable digital product launch.
Commonly it includes the following steps:
- Designing and architecture conclusion;
- Software development;
Each step has equal importance along with the others and can not be omitted without a negative influence on the final product quality. The general understanding of SDLC principles is the core for making the comprehensive system to serve the business goals.
These principles help to define how it is possible to build the product with the lower costs and highest quality in short terms. Such an effect takes place due to the creation of the structured flow of the development process, application of automatisation to some extend and applying best practices.
Though the correct SDLC is useful for each participant of the development process, software engineers receive the biggest profit from it. They can grasp the entire project at once and get a better understanding of what to do, when and why as precise, as possible.
Profit of properly arranged Software Development Life Cycle for a developers team
The entire flow of the process, starting with planning and ending with the deployment is arranged. That ensures the great visibility of the main stages for everyone engaged in the process.
Such planning allows to define specific goals and compare the desired and received upon the completion of these goals. That brings more understanding and predictability to the entire process.
The previous point defines this one. While having a strict plan and goals predictions, you can control the process better. Such oversight is useful for project management and timely implementation of necessary adjustments.
The approach gives the possibility to build more precise calculations to avoid breaching the budget or deadlines. Lower risks bring the overall stability and confidence to the business owner.
What does each step bring to the entire cycle of product development?
Let’s discover what each step means for the developers team and the product itself.
It is necessary to evaluate the initial idea first, to build a good digital product that finds its niche in the market. This process should take place before the start of the development itself. It is even possible to change it to the ground or shift the target market or users and consequently change the development flow.
After analysis and approvement of the initial idea, it is necessary to make a comprehensive plan of the actions that should take place to get a digital product. The developers calculate the cost of the development and various risks possibility as well. As the result, the team concludes the Statement of Works together with the business owner.
Designing and architecture conclusion
Every feature of the digital product should find their design implementation with the UI and UX calculations before the development start. The architecture is the core point for product future stability and scalability, so it is concluded before the coding step. Several options for the product design can appear there. The designers and business analysts can check them in this stage to avoid unnecessary risks.
Only after all that planning and preparation comes the development stage. The developers apply best practices and methods to reach the goals specified in the documentation.
It is impossible to build a product without bugs. This stage is necessary to find any discrepancies and weak points of the product and eliminate them before the market launch. Also, the product is tested for the ability to reach the defined requirements.
The product means nothing if nobody uses it, that is why the deployment or launch stage can namely become a birth point for a product. The product is moved around various environments to ensure the business stays safe and can implement the changes or adjustments to the product ASAP.
Sometimes the Software Development Life Cycle includes the software maintenance step. Application of special performance monitoring tools helps to analyze the product, its values and implement timely changes and rectifications.
Models of the development management that make the process efficient
Various approaches and models of the development process can define the flow and its participants. If properly introduced the SDLC becomes an easy highway for the development flow.
By this model, all development is performed most straightforwardly. Only after completion of a step, the next one can take place.
This model is the easiest to be practically implemented, though if something goes wrong, the entire project stops and should be started from the start in case of the critical issue.
It can be used when a business has strict and clear technical requirements for the future product. Though, it is currently considered as obsolete and is not applied in the project creation commonly.
With the Agile method, the tasks are performed in repetitive cycles (sprints) to ensure fast product development. If it is necessary to correct something in the product, such observations are added to the scope of works for the next cycle.
The communication between the team and the business owner should be harmonized as much as possible. That’s all because the features that should be in the final product are brought in the course of communication but not in full scope from the start.
The agile method uses communication as a supplementary resource and possibility of constant growth for a team and product quality.
To avoid some misinterpretations due to the lack of introductory planning, this methodology should be used by an experienced team.
It is rather good for small projects and limited teams.
As it can be got from the name of this method, it deals with the repetitive stages. Though generally, it is similar to the Agile method, it has some peculiarities. The development flow includes smaller parts of the whole project that undergo the entire process of development.
The business receives the operative product, but with the limited number of features. The next iteration can broaden the product’s features or areas of the application without cancelling the previous versions.
It is one of the fastest ways to get a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in the shortest terms and start proving its value, check theories and improve it.
The budget can not be strictly limited as it is often impossible to name the entire scope of functions needed until MVP is launched and tested in the market.
It is good for big products that due to the complexity should be divided into smaller parts and launched to the market successively.
These are the most common methods, though not all of them as there are so many that it should be a separate article.
The application of the particular method depends on several factors: project size, its complexity, number of developers who will work with the project, their experience, budget and time limitations.
Regardless of the methodology applied, each Software Development Life Cycle consists of the steps that ensure the stable flow of the process. Its primary goal is to make the management of the development process as clear as possible and lessen the number of resources spend on any kind of project.
In case if some steps of SDLC are ignored or taken randomly due to poor implementation within the team of developers, that can bring some hindrances to successful project launch. So in some cases, it is crucial to find a team that already have implemented strict requirements to the code conclusion and uses guidelines of the international development standards. The clearer the management over the project is – the clearer and predictable the result of the development process will be without losses of time and money.