If you’re looking to create any type of software it’s important that you understand exactly what that entails.
- Have to know about the process and the phases.
- Have to know about the different methods that can be used.
- Have to to know how to start the process all over again when it’s time for a new piece of software.
So, how are you going to go about it? What are you going to do in order to get your piece of software from a simple idea in your head all the way to a finished product that’s for sale on the market?
Following details will help to understand the lifecyle implementation.
What is The Software Development Life Cycle?
Have you ever wanted to create software but you just weren’t sure where to begin?
Maybe you tried it out before but it never succeeded. Or maybe you’ve never tried it but you want to now. No matter where you are on the process right now you can absolutely turn things around and you can create a piece of software that’s not only high quality but designed to last.
It just means that you’re going to have to put some time and effort into the process and you’re going to need to follow something called the software development life cycle.
This life cycle is all about following the most efficient and effective path to turn your piece of software from an idea in your head into an actual product that people can use.
It’s going to take a long time and if anyone tells you that it can be done quickly then they definitely haven’t done it before. It can take months to create a very small piece of software and it can take years to create something more intense or extensive.
Make sure that you understand what you’re doing and that you’re being realistic about what it’s going to take.
With the software development life cycle you’re going to go through different specific stages that are going to make it as easy as possible to create that piece of software.
The life cycle was designed and created by people who have extensive experience with software development and it’s going to help you along the way.
If you can’t pay to get a mentor or someone who’s been there before to help you along at leasth3> following this cycle is going to give you a head start and make sure that you know what you’re getting into as you move your way along.
The Phases of Software Development
The first thing we need to pay attention to is the software development process itself. These different phases are going to make it possible for you to get all the way from an idea to a fully functioning product, without skipping anything.
Even if you don’t think something is important, you’ll realize soon enough (once you think you’re all the way at the end) that there’s something missing.
It could be that you didn’t do enough testing and your product doesn’t have enough fans. It could be that you missed some phase of the marketing process and now no one knows who you are, but going through each of these is the only way to know you have a completely ready piece of software.
The Planning Phase
The first thing you’re going to need to do is plan out your software. This is going to be a long and drawn out process and it’s actually going to take longer than most any of the others.
That’s because planning your product means a whole lot more than just coming up with an idea. You’ve probably done that a million times before, right?
You know how to come up with ideas because everyone can come up with ideas. They’re easy. We can spit out thoughts and ideas all day, every day. But actually planning out anything is going to take a whole lot more.
The planning process also consists of gathering all of the required information about your desired idea. It means doing a whole lot of analysis of the different people involved and the different aspects of your software.
This part of the process needs to be done by an experienced software engineer so they can make sure they’re gathering everything that they need. This is going to include aspects that you might not even think of if you’re not a highly qualified engineer. So, just what aspects are there to this planning phase?
You’ll need to know who the client is and what they want. You’ll need to know the scope of what the project is going to entail. You’ll also need to document all aspects of the scope for the project so that you can review them at a later time.
After all, there’s going to be a whole lot involved in this project and you don’t want to come up with thoughts and ideas and plans at one point only to realize later that you haven’t actually written it down.
If you do that you could find that you’re forced to do even more of the same research again, at a later time, because you didn’t record it the first time.
This is also where you’ll need to do some calculations because you need to have a very good idea of how much this entire thing is going to cost you in the long run.
Make sure you do your research on all of this as well. If you make a cost estimate that doesn’t work you’re only going to be disappointed in the long run.
Next up, make sure that you have a schedule that you’re going to try to stick to. Don’t get too upset or disappointed if you’re not able to stick to it exactly, but having a rough idea is a good way to start.
The Requirements Phase
This is where you’re going to make sure you know all of the requirements especially. While you’ve started gathering some of these things in the planning phase, you’re going to really make sure you’ve nailed everything down with this process.
You want to make sure that you know all of the requirements that you put into place and that your clients do. Keep in mind that the software engineer that you hire to do all of this work only knows what you tell them. If you assume that they know something rather than telling them all about it you could be setting yourself up for trouble.
Make sure that even if you think something is obvious or something should be a given you want to tell them and make sure that it’s in writing.
They should have absolutely everything that you know about the project or about what you want from the project written down so that they can work from a single sheet (or set of documents).
This could include something as innocuous as wanting the company logo in a specific location or wanting the names to be written out in a specific font. Anything and everything that you know needs to be recorded for the engineer.
The Implementation Phase
Next up is the implementation phase or the design and prototyping phase. This is where you’re going to actually start working on the project itself.
You’ve already got all of the information you need to know how to do it or to know what you’re going to be doing. But now you have to actually do something with it, right? This is where your software engineers are going to start the hard stuff.
They’re going to start actually writing out all of the code and getting it to a fully finished product. Keep in mind that you’re going to have several different stages of writing the code and just because you have it fully written once doesn’t mean that’s going to be the end of it.
Once your software engineers have completed the implementation phase for the first time they’re going to have to move through some of the other stages.
But they may have to work their way back through stages over and over again because there’s always going to be something that they find later. They may find it in the first testing phase or they may find it after multiple different testing phases.
Just be sure that you’re doing the best you can the first time, to hopefully mitigate the number of times they’ll have to rewrite anything.
The Testing Phase
The next step is going to be testing the product that you’ve created. Keep in mind that this is going to take several different stages and processes. You’re going to have to test the very first piece of coding that your software engineers come up with to see if it’s actually going to work.
If you conduct the first level of testing you’re going to see problems and things that need to be changed within the code. You might find that it doesn’t work at all or that it doesn’t work the way you expected it to. You might find that it’s just not quite to the level that you wanted it to be.
In the end, there are going to be several different testing phases even if and when you get to the product you think is going to be absolutely perfect.
That’s because, once you’ve figured out how the whole thing works and you know that you have something that’s high quality you have to make sure that it’s something that your clients and potential users of the software are actually going to like. You’ll need to run tests with the potential audience to find out what they want.
If you’re creating the software for a specific client you’ll need to send it to them to make sure that they like the finished product. If you’re creating it directly for customers or people that are going to purchase it from you then you’ll want to pay attention to what a sample test likes.
They’ll be your alpha and beta testing group (and possibly far more than that) so that you can work out the kinks and the areas that they don’t like. It could be anything from bugs that they find to simply not liking a certain aspect of the style (like color or size of text).
The Documentation Phase
The next step of the process is all about documenting everything that you’ve created and everything that you’ve done. You want to be able to mimic the entire process again if you need to and that means writing down absolutely everything that you did and exactly how you want it to work.
You want to make sure that you document every step along the path alongside the code that you created and what it does. If your software itself every stops working or if it were wiped out entirely right now you should be able to start from nothing with the information in your documentation and get right back to where you were.
Make sure that you write out all of the application programming interface while you’re at it. All of this information is going to be crucial to being able to use your program and being able to pass it on to the people that own it (whether that’s your client or your customers).
Make sure that you’re paying close attention to everything and that you’re writing it all down step by step and with everything in it.
The Deployment Phase
Now you’re ready to actually create the program and put it out there. You’re ready to make sure that everyone gets a chance to use your new software program.
This is where you’re actually going to put it out to the mass market. So, instead of just having a few people within your team and maybe your alpha or beta testers take a look at it you’re going to put it out for the general public to try out.
Whether you’re giving it away or selling it, you want to make sure that people are able to take a closer look and work with it if they want to.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you’re completely done either. Just because you’ve deployed the software doesn’t mean that you’re going to be free and clear and ready to start on something else entirely.
Rather, you’re going to need to pay close attention to everything that you find about it. There’s never an end to the testing process really. Even when you’ve deployed you’re going to need to keep watching for areas that need to be edited.
Listen to the people who are buying and using your software. Pay attention to everything that they tell you and keep track of where they might need improvements and changes.
You may find that they want something changed or edited or upgraded. You may also find that there are some bugs with the software that they find and you didn’t before.
All of this information is going to be extremely important for helping you resolve the problem and get the software built up to what they expect it to be. Just make sure you’re resolving the problem as soon as possible.
The Maintenance Phase
Next up is the maintenance phase. This is where you’re actually going to make all of those changes and improvements. This is where you’re going to keep working toward improvements and you’re going to keep making your software better.
It’s also where you’ll edit as you go along, so if the software starts to break down you’ll be able to do what needs to be done to get it back up and running.
That’s all going to be extremely important when it comes to keeping your customers happy and continuing to bring in additional ones. No one wants software that’s outdated or isn’t continuously updated.
Keep in mind that making all those changes and continuing to update is going to take time. It’s going to take you hard work and your software engineers are going to need to just keep working all the time.
Even years after you’ve completed a project it’s not going to be completely done. You’re going to need to work at it. Of course, if you decide to shut down a piece of software you won’t have to worry about it, but if you want to continue using it you definitely can’t stop or walk away.
The New Phase
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a phase of the cycle, but it’s going to be an important step in the process. This is the part where you’re going to actually start working on the next thing that you want to do.
This is where you’re going to start looking at different types of projects you can create next or how the project and software that you just completed is going to make it a whole lot easier for you to create a springboard.
You absolutely can create something entirely new because you’ve already done it once and you have a good idea of what’s going to happen next.
So, are you ready to create an entirely new piece of software? Maybe it’s something that you want to work on alongside the old project or maybe it’s entirely different.
No matter what it is, this is where you’re going to have to turn around and go right back to the top of the list and start over. You need to start with that new idea and then you’ll need to get through the planning phase and the testing phase and all the different parts until you get back here again, because the software development life cycle is never over.
Are you ready to create a brand new product? How do you feel about the process as you’ve just gone through it? This is also a good spot to stop and think for a little while. After all, you’ve just gone through a very long and extensive process that took you a whole lot of time, energy, effort and money.
Are you really ready to go back to it? What would you like to do differently? What worked out and what didn’t? This is the time when you should be reflecting on absolutely everything because you’re going to have better insight, especially if this was the first time you went through the process.
If you’ve never done this before and even if you have you can make notes about how you would do it different and how you would do things the same. You would also make sure to write down anything that you found out that you didn’t know before or that you think might be helpful moving forward.
All of these things are going to be invaluable when it comes time to start working on that next piece of software. Even if you think that you’re never going to have to create another piece of software again you’re going to want to write things down, just in case.
Never assume that this is going to be the only thing you do, and never assume that your current software engineer will be there when you decide to create something else in the future. You want all of their notes and information stored somewhere safe for the next time and the next person.
Software Development Models
When it comes to actually starting the development process you want to make sure that you’re using the right model, right? Well, the truth is that there isn’t really a right or a wrong model.
There are just all different kinds of models that you can use and that will allow you to create a great piece of software but you have to make sure that you know what they each are and how they each work.
That way, you can make a decision that works for your piece of software, for your company or just for the way that your specific software engineer actually works.
The Waterfall Model
The first method is called the waterfall method. In this method you’re going to go through each of the steps that we outlined above, but you’re going to do it in a one by one kind of manner.
If you’re the type of person who likes to complete a task before you move onto the next one this is where you’re going to fall in. You’re going to work on step one (the planning phase) and you’re going to get all the way through it before you move onto the next step in the process.
This model is going to be great for many people because it allows you to not jump back and forth. You can complete the first part, then go back through it all, review and make sure that it turned out exactly the way you want.
From there, you’ll be able to decide whether it’s time for you to continue on or whether you’re going to want to move back into this step and work through a little better. But you absolutely won’t move on until you think it’s completely perfect.
The V-Shaped Model
The next option is the V-shaped model. With this model you’re still going to go through every single step one at a time, but you’re going to go a little bit differently.
So, you’ll go through the planning phase and make sure that it’s 100% complete before you decide to move on to the next step. Then you’ll make sure that’s 100% complete before you move on to the next step.
What’s different about this process is that you’re going to put a little bit more emphasis on how much and just when you’re doing the testing.
The V-shaped model is really all about the testing. It’s about making sure that you test every single aspect of your product and that you test it often.
You’ll be doing testing even when you’re still working on writing the code. You might find that you’re only halfway through (or not even that far) but you want to make sure that the individual pieces that you’re working on are actually going to work, so you start testing them.
This is a great way to go if you’re a really conscientious person and you find yourself worrying or second-guessing a lot.
What’s really great about this is that since you’re testing each piece as you go along you shouldn’t have as much involved when it comes to testing the finished product. You should have already worked out nearly all of the bugs by this point and you should know whether or not the ultimate project is going to work.
You’re also going to create a full plan before you ever even get to the development phase, which is going to be an important aspect of the project as well and you’ll be able to make sure that your finished work is going to be your absolute best work.
The Incremental Model
Finally, we have the incremental model. With this model you’re actually going to be going through a number of different phases within the development cycle.
Someone who likes this type of model is going to be more focused on how to go through each step and make sure that your project is being developed in a positive and helpful way.
After all, you want to make sure that you have a great looking piece of software when you’re done right? And of course, something that actually functions in the way that you originally intended. That happens when you know what you’re doing.
In this process you’re going to break down the development phase and you’ll work individually on things like the requirements of the software, the design of it and then the implementation and the testing.
You’re going to work through one piece at a time in the overall phases that we already talked about, but you’re also going to work through one piece at a time when it comes to the smaller phases that you’re creating for yourself. You’ll also have a final product created quite early in the process, which is going to make it even easier for you to get moving.
Create Your Own(custom)
As with anything else, there’s always going to be room for you to do things entirely on your own. You might even be surprised just how much wiggle room there is but you can create your software program and project in any style and layout that you want.
If you decide to take a whole lot of time in the planning phase you can do that. If you want to add a bunch of sub-steps into the implementation phase you can go ahead and work that out. This whole process is going to be entirely up to you.
Make sure that you focus on the areas that you struggle with because you want to make sure when the project is done it’s going to look and work great.
Make sure you also test everything before you pass it out to the client or the customers because by the time they get it you want to know that it works and that it’s going to continue to work the way they expected. This is how you’re going to make the most money for your project, after all.
Wrap it Up
Your software development life cycle might look slightly different from others, but the most important thing is that it needs to work for you.
While the major aspects of each phase are going to be the same from one project to the next, and from one company to the next, the sub-sections and the steps within the entire process are going to be a bit different.
So make sure that you’re doing your research and that you’re taking your software all the way through the phases that we’ve talked about, no matter which particular process or model you decide to follow along the way.