In any software or applications development project, selecting the right development life cycle methodology can be a challenging task. The stages, or tiers, make the process even more difficult as they vary by repeatability and priority. A software development company can choose a development life cycle for you, but this can pose a risk. Especially if you don’t quite understand your needs and expectations or how to achieve them. Such hurdles can often lead to communication challenges between you and your development team.
In this article, we break down the software product development life cycle to its basic phases to help you find your bearings and choose a model that will be perfect for your product development project.
Stages of a software development life cycle (SDLC)
The need to attract the most talented and experienced software engineers arises at the start of the SDLC life cycle. A skilled team can set the right foundation for the rest of the development cycle.
Define the requirements
Once a client has chosen a software solution, the next stage is a deep dive into the requirements. The team will evaluate and analyse documents and the current ecosystem. You might need a little flexibility if you feel like you will want to change or expand the list of requirements.
The developers will then move to design several product architectures for the client. The vendor will also give you information regarding your product’s future limitations, hardware options or cloud hosting if it’s a SaaS product.
Developing the product
This SDLC stage develops the software by generating a working code and showing it to the client. If the previous steps were carefully done, this should be the least complicated step
This stage tests for bugs and deficiencies. Quality assurance also aims at eliminating any errors that might drag on in the code.
Deployment and maintenance
At this stage, the software product is displayed to the client and can be released to the market. Depending on feedback, more adjustments might be needed to fix different issues (which is typical with any modern software product).
Choosing an SDLC model
Some of the examples of SDLC models include Spiral, Waterfall, V-model, Big Bang, Agile and Iterative. Selecting any of these models is a process that an organisation can undertake by itself or consult with an external vendor. Usually, three parameters will describe your needs. They include requirement flexibility, release frequency, and cooperation approach. These three parameters are further scaled using two distinctly opposite options.
1. One major release ↔ continuous delivery
As a client, think about how you want your product to grow. Do you want a full-fledged product with a single release? If so, Waterfall and V-model will suit you. Models such as Iterative, Kanban and RUP imply ‘iterative’ delivery and need regular releases at set intervals.
2. Rigid requirements ↔ flexible requirements
Waterfall and V-model have strict set requirements at the very start and don’t allow room for changes. Iterative, Scrum and RUP are quite rigid but still offer room for adjustments. Spiral, Kanban, and EX are the most flexible models.
3. Documentation ↔ communication
How you collaborate with your vendor and get involved in the project is also important. Some models such as Waterfall, V-model and Spiral require little documentation. Scrum, Kanban and EX, however, demand direct and constant communication. You can always maintain hold of your project by collaborating with your vendor while choosing the best befitting SDLC model.
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