What is a Software Development Life Cycle? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Software Development…
  • 0:44 Stages of the SDLC
  • 2:29 SDLC Methods
  • 3:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Noel Ransom

Noel has taught college Accounting and a host of other related topics and has a dual Master's Degree in Accounting/Finance. She is currently working on her Doctoral Degree.

This lesson defines the software development life cycle (SDLC), and explains its six-stage process. Examples of the models and methods of the SDLC are also provided.

Software Development Life Cycle

Susan works at a company that specializes in completing various technology projects. Her supervisor has assigned her a project to develop a software application for a new client. She needs a process to follow to ensure she completes the project and doesn't forget any critical steps needed to develop the application. Susan decides to review the software development life cycle (SDLC) to get guidance on how to implement her project.

The SDLC is a methodology that defines the steps of a software development project and there are several stages. Susan wants to follow the SDLC, but needs to understand each stage in the process before providing instructions to her project team.

Stages of the SDLC

Each stage in the SDLC produces deliverables and outcomes that are required to begin the next stage in the process. We'll now look at each of these stages and what happens during them.

The first stage is requirement gathering and analysis, which is when senior leadership begins planning the project. The client provides the requirements to the organization, and analysis begins to determine project approach, deliverables, and anticipated final outcomes. Business requirements from the customer are gathered to determine who will use the software and how.

The second stage is software design. This is when business architects use the requirements gathered from the first stage to produce several designs of the product. Each design is reviewed in a design document by various internal stakeholders. The best design is then selected.

The third stage is coding and implementation, which is when the design documents from the second phase are used to implement the design and produce the code. The code development is the longest part of the SDLC process.

After the code is developed, the fourth stage, testing, can begin. The code is tested based on the customer's requirements to ensure the code works according to specifications.

After the code is tested, the fifth stage, deployment occurs. This is when the product is delivered to the customer.

The final stage is maintenance or post-deployment. Once the product is in use, the customer may experience technical issues, and maintenance of the software is conducted at that time.

Now that Susan knows each stage of the SDLC, she is ready to provide instructions to her project team. Susan begins her project with planning and gathering the requirements. While her team is gathering customer requirements for the software, Susan decides to research various methods of the SDLC.

SDLC Methods

There are several SDLC process models a project manager can follow to get through each phase in the SDLC. The process models are different ways to move through each phase, and they depend on the customer's requirements and the length of time the project team has to complete the project. Some of the SDLC models include the waterfall model, iterative model, and spiral model.

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