A software product goes through several complex stages of development. This article explains the software product development life cycle in detail.
Customer demands are fast-changing, and to stay ahead of competition organizations need to introduce new products regularly. Else, customers might shift to other innovative products of the competitors to resolve their pain points. Hence, organizations should have a continuous and efficient product development process.
A product goes through a series of internal development stages before its delivery to the customer. These stages must follow a systematic structure to streamline the cycle and deliver a top-quality product.
What is a software product development life cycle?
The product development life cycle refers to the different stages or activities involved in manufacturing a product, right from ideation to its introduction to the market and discontinuation. The life cycle includes activities such as research, marketing, engineering design, development, and quality assurance.
Since products have a limited shelf life, the development cycle is a continuous process in competitive organizations. An established software development life cycle ensures high levels of visibility to the stakeholders, predicts the deliverables, keeps the project within the budget and deadline, and monitors the process efficiently.
Stages of software product development life cycle
To make the concept clear, here is a breakdown of the development life cycle and an explanation of each stage.
- Planning – Extensive preparation is essential before you start the development process. The important activities that comprise this stage are business analysis, market research, capacity planning, cost estimation, and so on.
- Requirement gathering – Once the initial planning is completed the requirement gathering stage begins. At this stage, the team works to understand the customer’s needs, aspirations, and mindset completely. The requirement gathering process should be thorough to avoid ambiguities during development. At this stage, the team also analyzes to check the feasibility of launching the product.
- Design – This stage covers all aspects of designing the product. It includes choosing the programming language, required software and hardware, and hosting options. The team also finalizes the user interface to provide the best user experience. The output of this stage includes two types of design documents: High-Level Design and Low-Level Design. The High-Level Design gives an overview of the process with functionalities of the modules, their dependencies, and the complete architecture diagrams. The Low-Level Design provides the details of the interface, database tables, functional logic, and the input and output of the modules.
- Software development – After the design, the developers start coding the product. The entire task is divided into modules and allocated to each developer. The front-end developers create the interface and handle its communication with the server. Coding is done by using the specified programming language and tools. There are many models like waterfall, agile, spiral, iterative, and big bang models to follow and the choice depends on the business requirements.
- Testing – This stage ensures the quality of the deliverable. There are many tests such as unit testing, integration testing, code quality, security testing, usability testing, and performance testing that should happen regularly. The QA team carries out these tests and forwards the bugs to the development team. Once the bug is fixed, it is tested again. The process is repeated until the software becomes free of bugs. There are also options to automate the testing process.
- Deployment – Once the software is clear of bugs and meets the client requirements, the next stage of deployment begins. This is an automated phase and is instant in high-maturity organizations. Other organizations, especially the ones in regulated industries, might require manual approval for deployment. It is possible to automate the deployment stage using technology such as Application Release Automation tools.
- Support and maintenance – After deployment, the product goes live and the customers start to use it. Continuous monitoring is required to ensure that the product operates smoothly. Customers might ask for enhancements or they might report bugs that should be fixed immediately.
Companies should adhere to a suitable development model and life cycle to meet the client’s requirements effectively. There should be clear communication during the process and you should keep the flow according to the defined milestones. Post the launch of the product the process continues with support and maintenance activities.
SBL follows an agile development methodology to provide our clients with the benefits of scalability, customization, and low-cost implementation. We ensure that the client is a prime contributor throughout the development process.
Contact us for your custom application requirements and avail the best product for your business needs.