When a team is developing a software product, there must be a clear understanding among team representatives about when and what to do. Otherwise, it would point to chaos and project failure.
Different life cycle models may plan the necessary development activities into phases in different ways. Thus, no element in which the life cycle model is followed; the essential activities are contained in all life cycle models though the action may be carried out in distinct orders in different life cycle models.
Planning should clearly define the scope and purpose of the application. It plots the course and provisions the team to effectively create the software. It also sets boundaries to help keep the project from expanding or shifting from its original purpose.
Planning can also include feedback from stakeholders. Stakeholders are anyone who stands to benefit from the application. Try to get feedback from potential customers, developers, subject matter experts, and sales reps.
Defining requirements is considered part of planning to determine what the application is supposed to do and its requirements. For example, a social media application would require the ability to connect with a friend. An inventory program might require a search feature.
Requirements also include defining the resources needed to build the project. For example, a team might develop software to control a custom manufacturing machine. The machine is a requirement in the process.
Design and Prototyping
The Design phase models the way a software application will work. Some aspects of the design include:
Architecture –User Interface-Platforms –Programming –Communications – Security
Prototyping can be a part of the Design phase. A prototype is like one of the early software versions in the Iterative software development model. It demonstrates a basic idea of how the application looks and works.
The coding process includes many other tasks. Many developers need to brush up on skills or work as a team. Finding and fixing errors and glitches is critical. Tasks often involve the development process, such as waiting for test results or compiling code so an application can run. SDLC can anticipate these delays so that developers can be tasked with other duties.
Documentation can be a quick guided tour of the application’s basic features that display on the first launch. It can be video tutorials for complex tasks. Written documentation like user guides, troubleshooting guides, and FAQs help users solve problems or technical questions.
Testing should ensure that each function works correctly. Different parts of the application should also be tested to work seamlessly together—performance tests to reduce any hangs or lags in processing. Much of the testing can be automated, like security testing. Another testing can only be done in a specific environment – consider creating a simulated production environment for complex deployments. The testing phase helps reduce the number of bugs and glitches users encounter. This leads to higher user satisfaction and a better usage rate.
In the deployment phase, the application is made available to users. Deployment can also be complex. Upgrading a company-wide database to a newly-developed application is one example. Because several other systems are used by the database, integrating the upgrade can take more time and effort. Many companies prefer to automate the deployment phase. This can be as simple as a payment portal and download link on the company website. It could also be downloading an application on a smartphone.
Operations and Maintenance
At this point, the development cycle is almost finished. The application is done and being used in the field. The Operation and Maintenance phase is still critical, though. In this phase, users discover bugs that weren’t found during testing. These errors need to be resolved, which can spawn new development cycles.
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