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What is the Software Development Lifecycle?


Published on: 02 Jul 2021

By Vinod Subbaiah

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) is the most commonly used term to define the process of planning, creating, testing and deploying a software product. In today’s diverse computer software industry, you may also hear it referred to as the:

  • Application development lifecycle
  • Systems development lifecycle

No matter what terminology you use, the lifecycle process is often the same. Below, you will find answers to some of the most common questions there are about the SDLC process, including:

From the initial planning phases of your project to the launch of a fully functional production environment, you should have no questions about how your software is going to progress at the end of this post.

What Is The Software Development Lifecycle?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process that creates software products that are high quality, at an effective cost, in the most efficient time frame possible. SDLC is a sequence of phases and steps to follow in the creation of software that helps development firms produce a product that is well-tested and ready to deploy with confidence.

What Is The History Of The Software Development Lifecycle?

It may seem obvious, but before the development of the study of computer science in the 1950s and 1960s, there was no such thing as a software development lifecycle. 

With that said, the need for bringing structure to the programming process emerged quickly as the world of computing evolved. 

What originally started as a series of if/then statements progressed by the 1970s to the core phases and stages of our processes today. As more developers and a wider range of projects entered the industry in the 1980s, additional incremental checkpoints were added to the lifecycle, like the prototyping phase. 

By the 1990s, various lifecycle methods could be found across the industry. The most commonly used included agile, spiral, v-model, and waterfall. All of which are still core concepts in modern development. 

Today, there are many layers of complexity to taking a project from the brainstorming phase to production. Most of these layers are due to technology advancements in cloud computing, DevOps, and micro services.

Over time, the primary models will continue to be mainstays of the development lifecycle. But there’s no doubt that the SDLC will only continue to evolve as our industry discovers new ways to deliver software that is high quality with greater efficiency at a lower cost.  

How Many Phases Are There In The Software Development Lifecycle?

There are multiple suggestions for how many phases there are in the software development lifecycle. 

Depending on the complexity of a project, different systems developers may consider SDLC to be a four, five, or even seven phase project. For example, some development firms may consider the “testing and deployment” phase to be similar, while others may break it up.

Below is an 8-phase example of the SDLC.

  1. Planning and Requirement Analysis Phase
  2. Product Architecture Design Phase
  3. Building Phase
  4. Code Testing Phase
  5. Training and Transition Phase
  6. Software Deployment Phase
  7. Software Maintenance Phase
  8. Evaluation Phase

When you hire a development firm to work on your project, they should provide you with clear and open communication about the number of phases in their development life cycle.

What Are The Most Common Software Development Lifecycle Models?

At Asahi Technologies, we take a ‘Best of Breed’ hybrid approach to our software development projects. Because of that, we implement two of the three industry standard SDLC methodology approaches into each project. Depending on business demands, we implement either an agile approach or a Continuous Development Model for the development phase of the project.

  • Waterfall Model: We most commonly deploy the waterfall approach at the beginning of an engagement. During the initial strategy discussion and proposal phase, our process has some semblance to a waterfall model. However, it is only so we can provide you with an approximate timeline and budget upfront. 
  • Agile Model: We use the agile methodology throughout the development process because of its efficiency. By adhering to the principles in the agile model, we prioritize customer collaboration over contract negotiation, respond quickly to project changes, and value client interactions over processes and tools.
  • Continuous Development Model: When you need to deliver software to a production environment frequently with speed, safety, and reliability, our expertise with test automation and build automation can come to your rescue.

While these are the three software development models you will find that our team deploys throughout the project lifecycle, there are other models you may find other firms use. If you are considering outsourcing some work to a firm like Asahi, it may be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with these models, as well. 

  • Big Bang Model
  • DevOps Model
  • Iterative Model
  • Magic Box Model
  • Prototype Model
  • RAD Model
  • Spiral Model
  • V-Shaped Model

Why Does The Software Development Lifecycle Matter For Delivering Software?

Ok, so now you have a good understanding of what the SDLC is, how it came to be, it’s phases and the models that we use here at Asahi.

Now, it is important to understand why all of this matters. 

For any software development firm, it is important to deliver products that are: 

  • High Quality
  • Cost Effective
  • Efficiently Produced

The better aligned our team and the clients we serve can be on the steps required to deliver features or code changes to each project, the better off we all will be at the deployment stage.

We take pride in providing quality software development services, and we believe our work will exceed your expectations. Without the parameters of the SDLC, the likelihood that your project would be a success for both parties becomes lower.  

Because of the SDLC models that we use throughout our projects, we are able to set a high bar and consistently deliver:

  • Adherence to industry best practices
  • Robust code management and review processes
  • Efficient work processes
  • An innovative and completely agnostic tech ecosystem
  • Meticulous and timely project planning

Click here to learn more about our custom software development solutions

What Are The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The Software Development Lifecycle?

While the software development life cycle has had a place in the world of computer programming for decades, it is not without imperfections. 

For example, any development firm using the waterfall method only can be seen as outdated. In its own way, the agile method also has its share of disadvantages, like limitations in documentation and inability to define a budget ahead of time for organizations with a need to budget these projects upfront. 

The reasons we consider using the SDLC as a core strength of our processes include:

  • Controls and detailed steps, which eliminate some of the frustrations that come with the “grey area” of many development projects
  • Breaking large projects down into phases for project completion
  • Regular cost evaluation
  • Thorough documentation of development and design requirements
  • Well defined points for client feedback
  • Ease of system maintenance and accommodation of changes

Alternatively, here are some reasons often cited as a weakness of using the SDLC as a model:

  • Increased development time and costs
  • System definition in the early phases
  • Difficulty in estimating costs and timeline overruns
  • Limited user input and collaboration
  • Manual standards documentation
  • Does not tolerate changes in requirements

Many of the criticisms of SDLC can be attributed to the waterfall model, which is one of the key reasons why we shift to the agile model during development. This model shift allows our firm to get the specifics we need to create a successful software for you, while also allowing for customizations as you see fit.

Our firm, Asahi Technologies, takes pride in providing quality software development solutions that are going to exceed your expectations. Our team of solutions providers and project managers is based in the US – our development team is located in India.

If your business has a high quality software development project and you are exploring the option of outsourcing, please take a second to check out some samples of our custom software development or click the button below to contact us to receive a free consultation.

Vinod Subbaiah