Developing a quality software product takes time and effort, with several steps to clear from concept to launch. These steps are called the Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC.

Software development companies can use SDLC to maximize efficiency, make changes when needed, and more effectively manage time and resources on the project. It also allows the client to follow the development process in a logical way, monitor progress, and make sure development stays aligned with their goals.

Phases of the Software Development Life Cycle

While different software development companies may consolidate or extend the process into more or fewer stages, all SDLCs tend to follow a similar progression, split up into around 6 to 8 steps.

1. Planning

In the initial phase, all stakeholders (i.e., the client and the project leaders of the software development team, as well as potentially sales reps, marketers, and potential customers) meet to determine the scope and goals of the software product. Questions that are answered during the planning phase include, “What is the product supposed to achieve, and on what scale?”

Based on this outline, the project leads will calculate human and material resource needs, coming up with a timeline that should include milestone targets and an estimation of costs. The planning stage also involves setting up the team structure and assigning roles to developers, engineers, project managers, and other specialists.

2. Define Features & Requirements

The next step involves defining the requirements of the software application. In this phase, you’ll want to answer the following questions: What does the app need to be able to do (what features do you want the app to have)? What needs to be done to implement the app’s features? Features include things like messaging, social media integration, payment processing, graphics, photo and video, geolocation, search functions, and so on.

Once the features are defined, the development team outlines the requirements needed for the project. This can include hardware, such as headsets and controllers for virtual reality apps, or appliances for testing smart home software.

3. Architecture, Design & Prototyping

In the design stage, the development team will model how the software application will work and define certain aspects.
This can include:

  • Architecture: Which programming languages (e.g. JavaScript, Python) will be used for the project, and which methodology will be followed during development.
  • Platforms: Software platforms, such as Apple, Android, Windows, Linux, web browsers, or gaming consoles, have different requirements for your software to run smoothly on them. Mixed and hybrid applications are possible, but it’s important to define the desired target platforms in the early stages.
  • User Interface (UI): Designers will model the graphical interface that users will engage with to interact with the software, which includes layout, colors, buttons, inputs, feedback, and more.
  • Integrations: How the software product will interact with other software platforms or apps.
  • Security: This could include encryption, password protection and storage, single-sign-on, multi-factor authentication and more.
  • Prototyping: A no code prototype is an early version of the software with the basics of the UI and functionality. It serves as a proof-of-concept for stakeholders and a useful tool for early testing. Experimenting with prototypes helps identify and address potential issues early on.

4. Software Development

At this point, the developers will write the code for your software application. The team will usually use source code management and static code analysis tools to track changes to the code and ensure quality. Good software development agencies also offer a monitoring platform for the client to track progress and provide feedback.

During this phase, the team should create documentation of the coding process in the form of notations or a user guide to facilitate testing and updates in the future.

5. Testing

The software should be tested before launch to make sure it performs as intended and meets expectations for speed and reliability. QA specialists should make sure the testing process is thorough, and any bugs or glitches are quashed before deployment.

6. Deployment

This is when the software is made available to users. For example, an app is submitted to the Google Play/App Store or made available on the company website or digital storefront for download.

Enterprise software deployment can be more complex, as the software is rolled out across an entire organization. It is recommended to have the dev team on hand to manage any issues with integrations during the launch.

7. Maintenance

Your application is up and running, but it’s likely that users in the real world will find bugs that weren’t discovered during testing. You might also come up with ideas to improve your product based on user feedback or market performance. A good software development company will offer long-term support for fixing bugs and expanding features, so that your software will continue to improve over time.

Partner with an Experienced Software Development Company with a Clearly Defined SDLC

At AccelOne, our hybrid US/Nearshore software development team has a proven track record of creating powerful software solutions for industry-leading businesses.

To learn more about how we can help you create the perfect software product for your needs, contact us online or call 800.863.6814.

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Based in Seattle and with offices in Las Vegas and Buenos Aires, AccelOne aims to solve software development’s biggest challenge: delivering quality solutions on time and on budget. We offer custom software development, nearshoring, and IT staffing and recruiting services. Browse our site to learn more.