Custom software development is all around us. New apps, websites, and digital products come out every day. Behind each new release is a complex sequence of events that must be followed to ensure an application’s success: the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Today, businesses use the SDLC when conducting small changes (such as adding a website sign-up feature) and larger changes (such as BigCommerce HubSpot Integration). They assemble teams, hire a UX designer, and begin making software architecture plans. There are 7 common steps to the SDLC regardless of the method a company uses.
Here are a few answers you might have about the SDLC and the importance of each phase.
Phase 1: Planning
What does planning look like for custom software development?
Planning is actually the most important step in the SDLC. It helps the entire team determine the amount and types of resources required: time, money, manpower, infrastructure, and more. The software team uses this phase to define the application’s purpose, scope, and software architecture. This section of the process lays the groundwork for the remainder of the development life cycle.
Phase 2: Analyzing the Requirements
What does it mean to analyze requirements during the SDLC?
Operations team members, developers, and product owners and testers begin planning details and defining outlined requirements. This step is somewhat of a secondary planning phase, as it is used to determine the functions of an application and analyzes the requirements of such functions. For example, most applications feature some form of user registration. Setting up user registration will require username and password input fields. Custom software development teams must consider all of these minute details in order to get a clear, concise idea of what needs to be created for an application.
Phase 3: Design
What importance does the design phase hold?
The design phase brings together several key aspects of an application: software architecture, user interface, platforms, programming, communications, and security being the foremost. These details are evaluated and then turned into a concrete design plan, or “design specification.” A design specification will model the way the application will work, so stakeholder feedback is a must. Any type of failure resulting from the design phase will inevitably result in cost overruns or project collapse. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to hire a UX designer during this phase.
Depending on the project, its team members may work together to create a prototype. Prototypes are a good way of modeling what software might look like and how it will function. Providing this type of hands-on experience for feedback helps avoid any costly mistakes during the development phase. Designers may adjust their software architecture prior to being fully committed to a design. Again, this is a good time to hire a UX designer for specialized, technical input.
Phase 4: Implementation / Custom Software Development
How does implementation work?
This is the actual development phase of the SDLC. Depending on the size of the project, it might include a single developer, an entire team, or even several teams. With larger projects, teams will usually work with either Access Control or Source Code management applications. Utilizing these types of systems helps teams track code changes and verify the compatibility of each team’s specific project.
Beyond writing the code, custom software development includes checking for and addressing glitches, errors, and any other system issues. Oftentimes, developers will leave source code comments to explain their thought process, or even create user guides. Teams will use this phase to cultivate sources of documentation for software use, such as video tutorials and FAQs. Communication plays an important role in the implementation phase.
Phase 5: Testing
How does testing impact the SDLC?
Testing is a necessary step for any type of product, and software is no different. Development teams will (or should) always test their software prior to releasing it to users. Basic testing (such as security) can be automated, so it isn’t as time-consuming. The more time-consuming tests will usually involve intricate product deployments. They will mirror an actual user experience and simulate what users will encounter throughout the application. Through several trials, developers will ensure that each function works as it should and that the entirety of the product is seamless when executed. Ultimately, this phase will decrease product errors and increase user satisfaction.
For example, many online stores are taking advantage of BigCommerce HubSpot Integration, which allows online retailers to connect their stores with a CRM. Done correctly, this integration allows for seamless syncing of orders, line items, and customer/product information. An incorrect BigCommerce HubSpot Integration attempt will lead to disrupted business through a lack of customer, money, and order management.
Phase 6: Deployment
What does software deployment entail?
At this point in the SDLC, much of the heavy lifting and keyboard smashing has been done. The software has been cleared of errors, thoroughly vetted, and is now ready for users to enjoy. Depending on the application type, this could mean adding it to the company website or an app store for easy downloads. It could also mean a company-wide update to the new software.
Phase 7: Maintenance
How does maintenance play a role in the SDLC?
Software maintenance will ensure the longevity of an application. Although at this phase the application is already in use, maintenance will make sure that newly discovered problems are resolved as they are found. Developers might also require updates or additional features to be tacked onto the product after its initial launch. These new releases will begin a new SDLC, and the process will begin all over again.
No matter the custom software development project, the SDLC is essential for an application’s successful launch. It isn’t unheard of to complete the SDLC with a single person for small projects (adding a sign-up feature). You can go the extra mile and bring in specialists to help with larger projects (BigCommerce HubSpot Integration): hire a UX designer for software architecture assistance, developers for coding and bug fixes, and project managers to divide tasks as necessary. Ultimately, the better your organization and planning, the better your project’s execution