The Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC, is a series of procedures for developing software applications. These steps break down the development process into manageable activities that can be assigned, done, and evaluated.

This article will explain how the SDLC works and go over each phase in detail so you can get a better idea of how your software development project’s life cycle will work.

Software Development Life Cycle: Defined

At its core, the Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC, is a method for producing high-quality, low-cost software in the least amount of time. SDLC is a well-structured flow of stages that enables a company to swiftly develop high-quality software that has been thoroughly tested and is ready for production.

SDLC reduces the cost of software development while both enhancing quality and speeding up the production process. SDLC accomplishes these seemingly disparate objectives by following a strategy that avoids the common hazards of software development projects, typically beginning with reviewing existing systems for flaws.

Stages and Best Practices

Depending on the scale of the project, some project managers will combine, split, or omit steps, dividing the SDLC into six to eight parts. For this article, the phases will get divided into Planning, Defining Requirements, Designing and Prototyping, Software Development, Code Testing, Software Deployment, and Operations and Maintenance.


Project leaders review the project’s terms during the planning phase. Moreover, calculating labor and material expenses, developing a schedule with specific deadlines, and forming the project’s teams and leadership structure are all part of this process. Additionally, stakeholder feedback can get incorporated into the planning process.

The scope and objective of the application should get clearly defined during the planning stage. It charts a course and equips the team to produce software efficiently. It also establishes limits to prevent the project from expanding or diverging from its initial goal.

Defining Requirements

The step of defining requirements determines what the application gets intended to do and what its needs are. The resources required to complete the project also define the requirements. A team might, for example, create software to control custom manufacturing equipment. In this case, the machine is a requirement of the process.

Designing and Prototyping

The Design phase models the way a software application will work. Some aspects of the design include:

  • Architecture
  • User Interface
  • Platforms
  • Programming
  • Communications
  • Security

You may also include prototyping in the design phase. In the Iterative software development approach, a prototype is similar to one of the early versions of software. It gives you a general concept of how the program appears and functions. This “hands-on” design can be displayed to stakeholders and used to get feedback on how to improve the application. Notably, changing the Prototype phase is less expensive than rewriting code to change the Development phase.

Software Development

The actual writing of the program gets referred to as software development. A small project may be created by a single developer, whereas a large project may get divided into numerous teams.

However, you must complete numerous more duties during the coding process. Many developers need to brush up on their abilities or collaborate with others as it is vital to find and resolve errors and bugs.

Waiting for test results or generating code so an application may run are common tasks that slow down the development process. SDLC can foresee these delays, allowing developers to get reassigned to other duties.

Code Testing

Defects and shortcomings get tested at this stage. These flaws get addressed until the product satisfies the original requirements. In a nutshell, code testing entails determining whether or not the code fits the given conditions.

Software Deployment

The goal is to deploy the program to the production environment so that users may begin utilizing it. On the other hand, many firms prefer to move the product through various deployment environments, such as testing or staging. This option allows stakeholders to test the product in a safe environment before releasing it to the public. Furthermore, you can catch any final before the product is released.

Operations and Maintenance

The development cycle is practically complete at this stage. The application has been completed and is currently getting utilized in the field. However, the period of operation and maintenance is still crucial. Users find flaws missed throughout testing during this phase. These issues must get addressed, which may result in new development cycles.

SDLC Models & Methodologies

After learning about the SDLC phases, this section will tackle the most common SDLC models and methodologies.

Waterfall Model

The simplest and oldest SDLC model is the Waterfall Model. With this strategy, teams finish one phase before moving on to the next. Each phase has a sub-plan, which “waterfalls” into the next. The model’s major flaw is that little elements left unfinished can bog down the entire process.

Agile Model

The Agile SDLC approach divides the production into cycles and produces a working product in a short amount of time. This strategy results in a series of releases. Each release’s testing provides feedback that gets integrated into the next version. The disadvantage of this model is that its great emphasis on client engagement can sometimes lead to the project going in a different, often wrong, direction.

Iterative Model

Repetition gets emphasized in the Iterative SDLC approach. Developers produce a version in a short amount of time and for a low cost, then test and enhance it through rapid and repeated versions. One major downside is that if left unchecked, it can quickly deplete resources.

Other Models

Many other SDLC models are only variations on these key processes. For software development, companies adopt LEAN manufacturing methods. Moreover, testing, verification, and validation are all part of the V-shaped development process. Lastly, the spiral effect allows you to pick and choose models for each stage of the process.


SDLC demonstrates what’s going on and where you may improve your development process.

Just like many other business processes, it strives to examine and improve the software development process. From day-to-day coding to controlling production dates, it presents a scalable view of the project.

Finally, when done correctly, the SDLC may provide the highest level of management control and documentation. Developers know what they should build and why they should build it. All sides agree on the end goal upfront and see a clear path to get there. And most importantly, everyone is aware of the associated expenses and resources.


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