Software Development Life Cycle and Testing

These five phases constitute the life cycle of a software project called the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The Five Phases of the SDLC:
1. CONCEPTION
2. INITIATION
3. ANALYSIS
4. DESIGN
5. CONSTRUCTION

Phase 1 – CONCEPTION: This phase starts as soon as someone, either a user or a member of the data processing department, recognizes a problem or opportunity that suggests a data processing solution.
The objective of this phase is to answer the following questions:

– What is the perceived problem (or opportunity)?
– What are the goals to be achieved by the solution?
– What benefits will result from achieving the solution?
– What will be the scope of the project?

These details may be recorded in an informal note or in a formal document. This document is called Project Request Form.

Phase2 – INITIATION: In this phase the analyst, working with the user, does a preliminary study of the user’s need. The information developed during this phase permits the organization to decide if it is worth spending money on the project.

The key information to be recorded consists of the following:

– Proposed system solution
– Alternative solutions considered
– Economic justification (Cost Benefit Analysis)
– Schedule of time and cost estimates for the completion of the project

This document is referred to as System Proposal.

Phase 3 – ANALYSIS: During this phase, the analyst and user come to a detailed agreement on the functions that the proposed system has to perform. A detailed document is prepared containing:

– Outputs to be produced
– Inputs that must be received
– Data to be retained
– Procedure to get the outputs from the given inputs
– Audit and control requirements: This specifies the features that are required to ensure that the user can monitor the system to check that it is working properly.

– System Acceptance Criteria: This lists the tests that the user would actually perform to check conformity with the previously agreed performance requirement and other specifications, before accepting the system.

This document is called Function Specifications. In addition to creating Function Specifications, the Cost Benefit Analysis prepared during the Initiation phase should be reviewed for accuracy. Similarly, the cost and time estimate should also be reviewed/revised.

Phase 4 – DESIGN: At this point, the emphasis changes from defining the user’s requirement to defining how the system will work. The documentation developed is technical. The design documentation should specify:

– Exactly how each input, output, operation, file and audit control requirement will be handled
– Acceptance test plan/schedule
– Facilities, equipment and personal required
– Manual procedure required to operate the system

This document is referred to as Design Specification. At this point again, the Cost Benefit Analysis and cost/time estimates are reviewed /revised.

Phase 5 – CONSTRUCTION: The last phase in the system development procedure includes three activities:

– Completing and testing computer programs and operating instructions for using the package (Run Manual, User Manual).
– Performing all tasks to carry out the conversion from the system currently in use to the new system.
– Conducting the final testing of the system to determine if it performs according to the acceptance criteria established during the Analysis phase.

Another essential activity for any system is the system evaluation. During system evaluation the performance of the system in a real life environment is assessed.

This is not considered a phase as:

– It may be several months before it is possible to take the first measurement of system effectiveness.
By this time the project development team might have been disbanded or moved to other projects.
– It is an ongoing activity. In fact, it should be regarded as a project in itself.
– The results of the system evaluation might indicate that the system has to be modified /re-developed.

Testing:
Software Testing is the course of completing a program or system with the intention of finding errors. Or, it involves any activity aimed at appraising an attribute or capability of a program or system and determining that it meets its required results.

The testing process:
1. Create test plans.
The test plan documentation consists of two documents:
• Detailed test plan (DTP) document
• Detailed test case (DTC) document
2. Review the design.
The design review also helps in identifying the scenarios that must be tested for one or more of the following:
• Possible security attacks
• Performance optimizations
• Profiling to ensure that there are no memory leaks
3. Perform black box testing.
Black box testing includes the following:
• Testing all of the external interfaces for all possible usage scenario
• Ensuring that the interfaces meet the functional specifications and address all of the requirements testing for various types of input.
• Testing for various types of input.
• Performance testing
• Load testing.
• Stress testing
• Security testing

Importance of Offshore Software Development

It is important to manage your technology that you follow. Whatever may be the technological strategies that you employ it is necessary to supervise them. Companies make use of offshore industry executives’ extensive experience to give a competitive edge. It is not easy to manage technological advancements and one needs an IT professional to carry out this.

Rapid growth in the field of computers has eased out the paper work in companies. People have become techie and carry out all their tasks online. It is easier to maintain customer database through client database management systems. Software developers have developed tools to make your office paper work easier. Client relationship management, customer database tools have eased out the whole process of maintaining database and creating simple reports. This has helped to cut down on time and control information too.

It is indispensable to comprehend the complexities of software development. Being away from the client’s office the offshore company must know how to control the tolls online at various development stage. They should also be able to co-ordinate with the clients well and maintain security of the client’s data. As all the activities are carried out online, it is essential to safeguard it from hackers.

Make your clients aware of the process and procedures involved in creating software and maintaining embedded systems. The success of any outsourced company would depend on how well they are able to clearly understand the client’s technical requirements and make them understand about your processes too. Clear communication is the need of the hour.

Key Pointers to Know Before You Invest in Software Development

Developing a usable enterprise software is a daunting task as it involves plenty of complexities. Issues related to security are some of the major obstacles observed by software developers while building intuitive systems. Security issues concerned with information access for both external and internal factors indicates that the enterprise software solutions can end up becoming inaccessible.

Not all enterprise systems are usable enough to cope with all the complex business operations. However, with more focus on the emerging trends including workplace dynamics and customisation, we have been able to bring a lot of innovation and functionality to enterprise solutions. Keeping this in mind, here are some of the tips to consider for building usable software solutions.

Intuitiveness of the application
It is obvious that introduction of an enterprise solutions to the organisation requires proper training. However, things can get simpler if it requires minimal training. Expectantly, the more intuitive your software is, the smaller is the learning curve.

Integration with existing business processes
Nowadays, organisations deploy a series of software systems and thus, using a new application that can integrate with all other existing solutions is certainly essential. A company must focus on building a business solution which, integrates with all other enterprise-level tools deployed by the company.

Customisation and Extensibility
Enterprises presently need custom software solutions for creating features which, will help them in meeting their business goals. Furthermore, with the introduction of new plugins and extensions, it becomes easier for developers and marketers to extend functionality and add extensibility to the application.

Privacy
In the present competitive world, privacy does not solely relate to data security and protection. Privacy includes several aspects including compliance with regulations, user privacy, data protection and privacy and much more. Keeping all these in mind, you must develop an enterprise software solution that ensures maximum security of business data.

Type of Technology Used
The industry of software development involves loads of frameworks, programming languages, databases and 3rd-party technologies. Adhering this fact, you must choose an efficient, business-specific application for your organisation that is cost-effective and complies your industry standards.

Type of Methodology Used
While considering the arena of software development, there are two types of methodologies deployed for project management; Agile and Waterfall. Though the Agile development process is ideal for both large and small companies, the Waterfall process is quite rigid and mostly meant for heavy scale industries including construction and manufacturing.

Result Evaluation and Analysis
Evaluating the business productivity and software installation and usage is important to understand its utility or effectiveness. Thus, considering the reporting measures and metrics is highly essential while building a software application.

As more and more businesses going digital, development of high-end enterprise applications has become more important. Considering the aforesaid aspects will not only help you in developing the most app business software for your company but also enable you to simplify the entire task and get maximum productivity.

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