In the Beginning
The software and technology industry is in a state of constant change. Just like every other industry, software development has identifiable phases and stages which need to occur in order for the next part of the cycle to occur. There are several different approaches to software development including; the Waterfall model, the Incremental model and the V model. These are generally known as Software Development Process Models and involve six set phases.
A Quick Guide for Software Programmers: The Six Phases of Software Development
The following six phases are designed in all of the software development process models to occur consequentially. Each one must be completed in order for the next one to be able to take place. As in any cycle, the elements are dependent upon the others and the initial stages are vital for the ones further along the cycle to become possible.
Requirement gathering and analysis
One of the most crucial stages of the process is the one that starts off any software development life cycle: gathering business requirements and figuring out exactly what the requirements of the software or system will be.
In this stage, project managers and stakeholders in the software will speak to potential users and find out as much information as possible regarding how and by whom the system will be used, as well as the required data input and output of the system.
The Requirement Specification document, which is created following this research, will then act as a guideline for the next phase of the model.
Using the Requirement Specifications, designers will begin to prepare system and software design. This will give an indication of the exact hardware and system requirements that will be needed and how it can be constructed and developed. Just like the Requirement Specification document before it, the newly created System Design Specification will then feed into the next phase of the Software Development Life Cycle.
This is the stage of the software development life cycle where actual coding begins. It is also the most time consuming and lengthy phase of any software development life cycle with extensive detail and skilled work required.
The system design documents are usually broken down into modules and the developer of the software can begin to produce the code.
This phase returns to the Requirement Specifications and tests the code that has been developed against what the initial requirements were. There are several different types of testing which include phase unit, integration and system testing.
This is often the first stage of the cycle when the customer or consumer is given access to the product. It relies upon success in the testing phase, which can take a huge amount of time. At this stage in the software development life cycle, the product is deployed to the customer for their use. Dependent on the product, there may be official launches or marketing around this phase. There’s more great information on software release at this Wiki page.
The Software Development Life Cycle doesn’t stop just because the product has been successfully delivered to the customer. Instead, there may be new issues to deal with in the form of customer’s encountering difficulty with using the software or simply initial teething problems to react to. During the Maintenance stage, elements can continue to be adjusted and improvements can be made. This stage of software development is generally ongoing.