Effective planning is only half the battle when it comes to delivering a successful project, especially if we’re talking about software development. When every mistake may lead to losses in an already limited budget, you need to be confident in every step your team takes. For one thing, PMI’s Pulse of the Profession survey showed that 37% of projects fail due to a lack of defined goals and milestones to measure their effectiveness.
That’s where the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) comes in. If your in-house or outsourcing development team follows SDLC, you can be sure they’re working according to specific tried and tested stages. This helps to build a consistent workflow and produce excellent software in time and within budget.
Each stage has the demands and goals the team needs to achieve. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Usually, an SDLC consists of seven stages:
First things first: we start by planning the project and agreeing on its scope. This is the stage when you decide on the project plans, schedules and timelines, and, of course, cost estimation. It might sound obvious, but make sure you have the budget that will cover the entire project, with its risks and possible issues.
2. Analyzing requirements
Before getting down to development, the team needs to know the requirements set by you - the client. This stage lays down the foundation of the entire project and helps make sure the team delivers precisely what the client needs. This is also the time to discuss the functional and system requirements of the project, as well as user requirements and operational ones.
3. Designing the system
When the development team has the client’s input, they turn it into design specifications, which are used to map out the solution that will be developed. Design documents created at this stage will become a perfect guideline for understanding the system architecture at future stages. But don’t expect anything elaborate: at this point, only prototypes and wireframes will do the trick.
With all the preparations and estimations behind, it’s finally time to start coding. Since you’ve prepared the design documents in advance and have a complete vision of the system’s architecture, it should be pretty straightforward. At this stage, the only thing that matters is the development team. Regardless if they’re your in-house employees or a dedicated team, these people should follow the blueprint created during the previous stage to meet your expectations.
Some companies decide to spend less time on software testing and more on product promotion. However, it has been proven time and time again that professional and timely testing is as important as development. So, don’t disregard this step, because this is when you can actually see if the end-product meets the goals set earlier. And make sure you deliver an error-free solution, of course.
When your software is ready and tested, it’s time to deploy it and allow the first users to participate in beta-tests. This stage is a milestone in creating user-oriented products and your last chance to make significant changes to the software since, after the release, you’ll only be able to add bug fixes and new features.
After the release, this stage may be a continuous process for your team. It’s important to carefully monitor the experience users have with your solution and pay attention to their feedback. This will allow you to update the product according to their needs. Besides, maintaining the product also means releasing new features to attract more users - just make sure they fit the goals set at the first SDLC stage.
Following the SDLC turns software development into a less risky step-by-step process and helps deliver a high-quality product users will enjoy.
The Bottom Line
A smooth strategy and clear goals are the cornerstones of any successful project. That’s why we advise you to only work with specialists who can take care of planning and breaking the complex development process into easily evaluated stages. At Perfsol, we help our clients set clear goals as well as estimate the cost of each stage and resources needed to build an outstanding project.
With more than 20 years of experience in software development, we’ve mastered the art of working according to SDLC. So if you’re looking for a professional software outsourcing vendor, contact us anytime.