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What Is SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)?

What Is SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)?

Today’s tech industry has a high demand for software developers. According to Indeed, the average salary in India is 8.4 LPA and $120,112 in the USA. As a result, it is essential to understand the software development life cycle (SDLC). According to TechReport, SDLC methodologies like Waterfall, Agile, and DevOps are used by over 71% of development teams worldwide, making it a fundamental aspect of project management that oversees every stage, from initiation to implementation.

In this blog, we will be discussing SDLC and other related concepts in detail.

If you want to know everything SDLC has to offer, do watch this Video

What Is Software Development?

What is Software Development?

Software development can be defined as a process that involves the creation, design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance of software applications. But wait, it is not restricted here. Software development also includes writing code and developing software tools and algorithms for the application.

The field also involves other activities like project management, UI/UX Design, and quality assurance. Due to all these factors, the rapid demand and growth of the software development sector don’t surprise anyone anymore. The most trendy language used by SDEs is Python.

What Is SDLC?

What is SDLC?

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) refers to the process that IT teams employ to design, develop, test, deploy, and maintain high-quality software applications and systems. It is crucial to understand the phases of SDLC for managing large or complex software projects.

Here is a brief idea about what a software development life cycle looks like:

  1. Project Planning 
  2. Analysis of the Project
  3. Project Design
  4. Implementation of the Project
  5. Project Testing
  6. Project Deployment

Importance of SDLC

SDLC is important because it provides a framework for developing quality software applications in a timely and cost-effective manner.

It also helps to ensure that the application meets the user’s needs and requirements. By adhering to it organizations can reduce their risks and gain visibility into the development process.

Organizations frequently use the System Development Life Cycle to create and maintain software applications and other associated systems. Planning, designing, creating, testing, and deploying software applications is a systematic process.

How Does SDLC Work?

The process known as the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is commonly used by software development teams to plan, create, test, and launch software products. Here’s a breakdown of how it unfolds:

  1. Planning: It starts with this initial phase where the project scope, objectives, requirements, and resources are defined. The key players have to come together to craft a project blueprint and set timelines.
  1. Analysis: This stage is about requirements examination by the team members including stakeholders as they seek to understand user needs, business goals, and technical constraints.
  1. Design: In this stage, the team drafts its software design based on these requirements. This would involve making plans and creating database structures and user interfaces.
  1. Implementation: Write codes in compliance with design specifications during the developers coding phase or what may be also called implementation. This covers the construction of software components and integration among them.
  1. Testing: Testing of the software application is a critical step aimed at identifying any errors that might have occurred during development. Such testing includes unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing which will guarantee that the software is in conformity with set quality standards and works properly.
  1. Deployment: The next thing to do when approved after being tested is to roll out this software into the production environment. This process involves the installation of the software, configuring it appropriately, and making it accessible to users.

Following deployment, the software transitions into the maintenance phase. During this stage, the focus is on incorporating user input, resolving issues, introducing functionalities, and ensuring that the software functions seamlessly to accommodate evolving needs.

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Benefits of SDLC

  1. Enhanced Visibility and Collaboration 

The SDLC framework facilitates alignment, among stakeholders and team members by establishing objectives, deliverables, and milestones for each phase. This increased transparency enables managers, developers, and customers to collaborate to launch high-quality software.

  1. Improved Estimation, Planning, and Tracking 

By breaking down projects into SDLC phases, you can enhance estimation accuracy, schedule management, resource allocation, and the overall project workflow. Monitoring progress ensures that the development process stays on track in terms of both time and budget.

  1. Mitigated Risks 

The gathering of requirements upfront and regular testing help prevent costly scoping issues and delivery failures. If necessary, changes are managed systematically through Agile models.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SDLC

Advantages of SDLC

  • Structured Approach: SDLC offers a structured and well-ordered framework for software development to ensure that all the stages of the development process are planned and performed.
  • Improved Quality Assurance: By following some steps that have been already prepared, SDLC helps identify and resolve defects at an early stage of the development cycle thus improving software quality.
  • Better Project Management: Better project management is facilitated by SDLC because it breaks down each phase of the development process into clear milestones, deliverables, and timelines. This facilitates tracking of progress as well as effective resource management.
  • Enhanced Communication: On one hand, stakeholders such as developers, testers, project managers, and customers are encouraged to collaborate through SDLC resulting in better comprehension of needs and requirements.
  • Risk Management: In addition to that, teams can use risk managements techniques that help them pinpoint potential risks or threats so that they may be able to come up with necessary measures aimed at reducing their impacts on projects.

Have a look at this blog to understand Why Risk Management is Important?

Disadvantages of SDLC

  • Rigidity: SDLC may be rigid and inflexible, and thus it becomes tough to incorporate any change in requirements or adapt to shifting project needs especially in a fast-paced environment.
  • Time-Consuming: It is time-consuming to go through all the phases of SDLC including requirements gathering, design, development, testing, and deployment of the final product.
  • High Cost: Compared to other agile methods SDLC often has a high up-front investment for planning, documentation, and resources which results in increased development costs.
  • Limited Stakeholder Involvement: Sometimes stakeholder involvement may be limited to certain stages of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) leading to a lack of continuous feedback and collaboration.
  • Overemphasis on Documentation: Sometimes there can be an overemphasis on documentation in SDLC resulting in too much paperwork which diverts resources from actual development activities.

Get ready for your interview by going through our Software Engineering Interview Questions blog.

Key SDLC Methodologies

The different approaches of Waterfall, Agile, and Spiral have similarities in terms of the core development phases. They cover planning, design, building, testing, deployment, and post-deployment maintenance/support. The key distinction lies in how these phases are organized and adapted within software cycles.

Types of SDLC Models

Software teams can choose from a variety of structured development frameworks to build applications efficiently. The 4 most widely adopted models include:

1. Waterfall: Linear & Sequential

Waterfall Model

The waterfall methodology proceeds through software delivery in orderly, consecutive phases without overlap. Stages include gathering requirements, system design, coding, testing, release, and maintenance. Its defined path brings discipline but restricts flexibility in shifting needs post-launch.

2. Agile: Iterative & Adaptive

Agile Model

Agile utilizes short, repeatable work cycles called “sprints” to incrementally develop features. Requirements are refined progressively rather than pre-defined. Continual user feedback and adjustments keep teams aligned with changing needs. This adaptability prioritizes responding to new market demands.

3. Iterative Model:

Iterative Model

The Iterative Model is a model where the development process is divided into multiple cycles or iterations. At each iteration, the requirements are analyzed, designed, and coded. The feedback from the previous iteration is used to modify the project.

This model is used when the requirements of the end product are not well understood or are expected to change over time.

The Iterative Model is a cyclical software development process that repeats the development cycle multiple times until the desired result is achieved. This is different from the Waterfall Model which is a linear approach to software development with a set of defined steps.

The Iterative Model has four general phases: 

  1. Planning: The project team develops a plan for the project. This includes defining the objectives and scope of the project, as well as determining the resources and timeline.
  2. Design: In this phase, the project team designs the architecture and user interface of the software.
  3. Build: The project team builds the software according to the specifications determined in the previous phase.
  4. Test: The project team tests the software to ensure that it meets the requirements.

4. Spiral: Cyclical With Risk Analysis

Spiral Model

The spiral model core building phases are planning, design, engineering, and evaluation on each iterative rotation. Making small versions of a product and letting users give feedback early helps find problems. Ongoing risk analysis makes sure we’re dealing with potential issues right away.

All models overlay similar SDLC principles into differently structured frameworks prioritizing order, discipline, or flexibility. Understanding these tradeoffs helps software teams select optimal development cycles that align with project and business requirements.

Also, check out the blog on types of software testing.

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How Does SDLC Address Security?

In today’s complex cyber threat climate, organizations must make security a priority throughout the entire software lifecycle. DevSecOps has become the foremost methodology to integrate security best practices into every SDLC phase.

DevSecOps breaks down the separation between developers, security engineers, and IT operators via collaborative workflows for creating system hardening. By bringing these cross-functional perspectives together during design phases, more resilient architecture and code are produced.

Automated processes like continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) in DevSecOps help teams quickly release security updates when problems come up after launching a product. Fixing issues is no longer a lengthy process when new code can deploy on-demand.

Key activities to incorporate in security involve threat modeling during architecture planning, performing static/dynamic analysis on code, executing security-focused test cases, and comprehensive monitoring of production systems. Embracing DevSecOps ultimately creates applications proactively resistant to modern cyber risks. Prioritizing security from the start reduces organizational exposure through secure SDLCs.

Contrasting SDLC and Application Lifecycle Management

While sometimes used interchangeably, software development lifecycle (SDLC) and application lifecycle management (ALM) refer to related yet distinct technology management disciplines.

SDLC specifically focuses on the coded building stage. It includes key phases like initial planning, requirements gathering, iterative development, testing, deployment, and post-launch maintenance.

ALM looks at the entire production lifecycle timeline of a software’s life, from when it’s actively used to when it’s retired. It covers the whole process, connecting different stages of development to keep track of changes and improvements over time.

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How Can the Cloud Help You Meet Your SDLC Requirements?

Incorporating cloud computing brings benefits that support fulfilling the needs of SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). Few examples of cloud providers are Amazon Web Service(AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Plaform (GCP). Cloud increases the effectiveness of SDLC in the following ways:

  1. Scalability: Cloud platforms allow for adjustment of infrastructure to meet changing project requirements, during the software development life cycle.
  1. Cost Effectiveness: Cloud services follow a pay-as-you-go approach reducing expenses and eliminating the need for investing in physical hardware.
  1. Global Collaboration: Tools based on the cloud facilitate real-time teamwork among dispersed teams boosting productivity and effectiveness.
  1. Faster Time to Market: Cloud environments grant access to resources when needed speeding up development processes and product releases.
  1. Resource Optimization: The Cloud platforms offer a variety of services that can help streamline operations, automate tasks, and improve efficiency in your organization.
  1. Security and Compliance: Cloud service providers have tight security protocols. Ensure that adequate data backup provisions are made to ensure regular data backups and minimum downtime is experienced during emergencies.
  1. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Redundancy features like automated backups are included with cloud platforms to ensure data integrity as well as minimize downtime during disasters.

Conclusion

Software development is a continuously developing industry and its future will be successful. It is future-oriented in that there are more needs for software and new technologies are emerging.

To remain competitive, software developers must keep up with the newest trends and technologies. Moreover, agile methodologies of software development will continue to be adopted more often as they highlight collaboration, speed, etc.

If you are stuck on any questions or have any doubts, do feel free to reach out at Intellipaat Software Community to get the solutions to your queries!

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About the Author

Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science

Presenting Sahil Mattoo, a Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science at Eli Lilly and Company is an accomplished professional with 14 years of experience across data science, analytics, and technical leadership domains, demonstrates a remarkable ability to drive business insights. Sahil holds a Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence from Great Lakes Institute of Management.