What Is a Software Development Life Cycle?

A set of instructions for the computer to read and understand to perform a specific task is called a Software. Software development is the process to use computer programming to develop a software. This is not new for many, but the topic under consideration will be new for many. SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle, is the process of developing a new software.

The process of developing a software is not difficult to understand. The procedure of SDLC goes like this:

  1. Gathering and then analyzing the requirements to develop a software
  2. Designing of the software
  3. Coding or programming
  4. Testing the software
  5. Deployment
  6. Maintaining the software

Gathering and Then Analyzing the Requirements to Develop a Software

This is the initial phase. Like starting any business, starting to work on a new software requires a plan. The planning phase will include the project managers, stakeholders and even some senior software developers. No matter how professional or for how long the software development company has been operating, the planning is not an easy phase to follow. Although, it would take less time for experts to plan a new project and then to start working on it but still there will be some questions that must always be answered before taking on any project. Following are some questions, which needs answers before taking on the project:

  • Who will be using the software?
  • How they will be using it?
  • What is the required data to input?
  • What will be the output of the input data?
  • What is the purpose?
  • What skills are required?Will there be a need to hire new personnel or the current staff have the right skills and the capacity to work on this new project?

Find their answers. Is the project worth it? A thorough analysis is required here. There will be more questions that need to be answered before taking on this new project. All the work is documented for future reference.

Designing of the Software

Now comes the second phase, the designing of the software. On the basis of the documentation and the results of the first phase, the system and the software is given a design. From this, the developers comes to know the requirements of the hardware and system required to complete their new project. This phase will also define the system architecture. The designing phase will set the requirements for the next phase.

Coding or Programming

Here comes the role of the software developers. The system design documents are now divided into modules and the developers now start their job. This is going to be the longest phase of all. Programming is done here and it’s known to all that programming isn’t an easy job. It needs plenty of time, expertise and patience. Once done, the software developer sends their work to the tester.

Testing the Software

When in the production business, the quality of the product is always monitored and tested. So is the case with a software development. When the coding is done, the software developer sends their work to the Software Quality Assurance department /personnel. They will overlook the work of the software developers. The software quality assurance or the SQA for short will look for bugs and test the software. The test will be made as per the requirements and the guidelines mentioned in the requirements document. Unit testing, integration testing, system testing, acceptance testing is done by the SQA and if found deviations or errors, it’s sent back to the software developer. The procedures will keeps on repeating themselves until the software is bugs free and ready to deploy.

Deployment of the Software

On successful completion of the software and the testing, it is sent to the concerned client or is available to the public.

Maintaining the Software

Only the non-serious professionals or the ones not willing to carry on their business will not look back to their software but the serious developers will. Every software needs updating and maintenance. Whenever the software encounters some troubles, the software developing company will be there to fix it.

SDLC follows a simple procedure and it doesn’t require you to be a businessperson to know all the phases of SDLC. Every software developer and software developing company knows it all. So when hiring a software developing company you can rest assure that the procedure will be done in a professional way and the best product will be delivered.

Software Development Projects And What Are The Best Methods

What are the best methods for software development projects

The crucial component is when choosing the correct software development life cycle process that is required to create the project, as all other processes are comprised from this process. The software development projects including the spiral method may often be used instead of the waterfall method.

This way any problem may be corrected early and ensuring the testing process has more chance of success. The artifact from the development process can then be analyzed.

The testing process is an imperative part of software development that needs to be planned prior to coding. The testing process is created during the application designing and coding phase.

The project management remains essential to the success of the project. The project manager is constantly aware of these expectations. Rapid Development RAD is one system.

There has also been a notable change to the software process recently, this has been the emergence of the terminology: agile. The agile software methods and the introduction of agility to the development team, determines a change to the well established processes.

Communicating is crucial to success. Including the developing software development plan combining strategy. The architecture and any design or coding requirements. It is of great importance for the development team to know exactly what needs to be created.

As the majority of the software development is a hectic process, termed code and fix, as the software sometimes is created without a correct plan or only short term emphasis. This can work with a small project but as the system grows it is very difficult to add new elements to the system. In addition to this bugs can become a big problem and can be difficult to fix.

The entire software development plan and processing of any system will require the main components of communication, management, planning, testing and implementation. These steps can create ease.

Once a system is developed, it would be beneficial to provide troubleshooting and support to ensure the end user can actually use the software and also any bugs within the system may actually be made known through this process and ensuring to correct architecture for the development.

It is also important to ensure the design is also acceptable as the application must be easy to use, easy to understand and simplicity will contribute greatly to the success of this project and all future projects as there is structure.

Return on Investment in Software Development

Hi I thought I would write a series of articles on a topic that I believe is becoming absolutely critical in the software development industry, that being the magical and mysterious ROI (return on investment) in software development.

As the owner of a programming company here in South Africa, I decided at the outset of the company that a rule of thumb for accepting any software development project would be that I would need to figure out how to measure the ROI in that particular project. Now you may or may not be surprised to know that in most instances my clients don’t actually think of this measure before taking on the project, they know that they have a business problem or business need that needs to be solved with technology and are willing to pay an amount of money for that. Experience over the years however has shown me that the best way to retain that client in the long term and or to make more business from that client is to prove a ROI in some way on that software development project.

I find this measure to be critical because for my companies purposes it shows exactly how successful a project is to my client in monetary terms. The bigger my impact through the software I develop, the more successful I have been at satisfying that clients need, the easier it is for me to go back to that client and offer further services. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that a project coming in on time or under cost is a great measure of the success of that project at all, this is typically what IT companies do. If I really want to do a great job for my client then I always intentionally build a monitoring tool into the software I develop for them and that tool must track the ROI for the client in some way and present a report to the client whenever they want to see what this piece of software really is worth to them, be it through savings, additional income, time savings, it doesn’t matter so long as you track the value.
So how do you go about figuring out the ROI on software development project?

This is the difficult portion because it requires listening to the clients need carefully and scoping there need correctly, once you have done this, it should become fairly obvious what the client is trying to solve by having the software developed, this should then be a clear indication of the measure to be used on ROI. For example,a client of mine wished to have a system developed that automated the process of allowing shareholders in various properties to swap there owned weeks with each other. Before the client came to me they did this process manually, ie called there shareholders to find out if they were willing to exchange a week with a fellow shareholder that already gave an indication that they wanted to swap there week etc. This took a lot of time and for the administration fee that the client asked to do this, I suspect the profit was very little. Once we had developed the system and allowed the shareholders to interact with each other through the website instead of the web system, the ROI was very clear, why?

-We tracked each exchange in the system, each exchange has a monetary value associated to it.

-The clients telephone bill dropped significantly

-More swaps occur because of the ease at which shareholders can swap weeks, instead of having to go through a process of calling the company then waiting etc, this increase in sales is measurable

-Because the client offered the service electronically he could increase his administration fee.

All this information the client could get through there system thereby ensuring that he could very clearly see what his ROI was.
Conclusion

I believe without a doubt that if you truly want to complete a software development project successfully for a client, then you need to build a ROI tool into the software. Convince the client to do this, if you cant do that then build it free of charge, but make sure that you get your client to look at these figures. In the long term this will have a positive effect on your business and keeps your software development projects honest in terms of creativity and keeping the clients needs in mind constantly.

Please offer your comments and views on this topic, I am very sure that peoples opinions and views on this vary quite considerably, I am very willing to listen to other opinions in this regard.

In my next article on ROI and software, I will be describing more specifically how you can measure ROI on certain types of projects, in this case it will be how to measure ROI precisely in SMS campaigns.

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