In the last few years, software product development has become an important thing in the IT industry. With the latest advancements in this field, it is almost impossible to imagine any relevant activity that does not involve a form of computer-related processes.
Software product development is a complex but highly organized process that incorporates strictly defined steps and precise procedures. These steps and procedures are referred to as SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). The set of practices and rules helps connect IT experts, project stakeholders, and non-tech members, enabling you to achieve your desired results. With teamwork, all the parties involved are able to create a unique solution or software product from your exceptional idea.
Software product development life cycle helps structure work to enable teams to meet deadlines, project requirements and also remain within the proposed budget. But, it is important to understand that the stages in this life cycle depend on the model that a company chooses to adopt in the software development process. These models may include waterfall, incremental, V-model, Agile, or Rapid App Development (RAD).
In this article, we look at the key steps in an effective software product development process.
1. Brainstorming and Planning
The first step in the software development life cycle is brainstorming ideas. This step begins with an excellent idea, but the concept must be keenly thought over before its implementation. Thinking over the idea leads to planning, which is one of the core stages in product development or software development. Proper planning helps determine the scope of your project, leading to better results.
Besides, it also enables you to define ways and means that will be applied to allow the business to meet its strategic objectives, timeframes, cost-related issues, resource availability, and determining solutions.
Once you develop a thorough plan, you can now proceed to the following stages in the development process. Preparing a detailed plan in the first stage of the life cycle can offer you numerous benefits.
After creating a plan on what needs to be done, ways, and the means to use in the entire process, you need to think about the requirements. In this stage, you will have to define the project in detail while also carrying out the project’s feasibility. This enables your team to get an in-depth understanding of your project’s goals and also obtain all the requirements. Thus, when developing an excellent software product, you need more than just a catchy design and clean code.
Analyzing the requirements enables you to identify potential risks in the early stages, which helps you develop ways to mitigate them from the first step. Besides, it also creates clear, structured documentation that promotes better understanding and cooperation for both clients and the development team. The analysis of the requirements also plays a key role in ensuring that the next step in the life cycle is also successful.
Carrying out feasibility analyses allows you to get a clear picture on all the economic and technical aspects affecting the software development process. Factors like resources, tasks, time, and involvement estimates on the team of developers allow you to determine the cost and profit in your project and calculate ROI.
3. Design & UX/UI
The other important stage in the product development cycle is software design. During this phase, your team of designers will start creating initial visual concepts based on the documentation for your product. The visual concepts are presented to you in the wireframes, and once you approve the results, your designers will develop high-fidelity prototypes.
This phase involves creating the actual conceptualizing of your software product or the detailed architecture of the software that meets specific requirements in your project. The custom-tailored design helps set definite standards and workflows. It includes a clear overall product design or solution, plus the database design and structure. In this stage, the entire structure of the solution is created with a final prototype. It also involves the building of mockups to be used for the next stages in the development process.
A design phase is a form of visual modeling of everything about the software product. This starts from the product’s functionality to defining the critical software or hardware components.
It also defines structure capabilities, software tools to be used for future development, and attaining the business objectives and needs. Once all the design models are completed, your designers and experts will pass the documentation and designs to the team of developers.
4. Coding and Development
As the name suggests, this phase involves converting the documentation into software and writing code during the development process. Coding and development is a complex phase as it is the foundation of the entire process. This stage is also the longest as it encompasses many vital things to consider in software development.
The team of developers is also required to ensure that the code they write meets your project’s requirements specifications and conforms to the stakeholders’ requirements. If all prior stages in this life cycle are carefully executed, your solution is more likely to match the project’s requirements. After the whole architecture and functionality of the software product are built, the solution proceeds to test.
5. Testing and Integration
Once the software product is fully built, it now undergoes system testing, and then the integration process begins. This phase might vary from one development process to another, depending on the preferred testing processes. Usually, Quality Assurance (QA) experts apply a wide range of frameworks together with continuous integration for unit tests, testing, and automation compilation.
During this phase, the QA team carries out a whole range of tests on the built and completed solution. This includes functionality testing, acceptance testing, interoperability and systems integration, and much more. The series of tests ensures that the software product’s business objectives are met, and the code is clean. Thus, the phrase acts as a validation and verification stage, which helps in ensuring the solution is successfully completed.
The implementation stage involves the deployment and installation of the completed solution. In this case, the stage takes place step-by-step based on the specified implementation plan. Once the application is tested, it is now moved to production. This involves components and data transfer, but only the specific changes are deployed in the next releases.
The release might be a straightforward process for simple projects, but more complex projects release might be in stages (staggered release). After this stage, end-users and system analysts can try out and check the completed application.
7. Maintenance and Regular Updates
This is the final phase in the software product development lifecycle. The stage involves regular updates and maintenance of the software product. Like the other development stage, this phase demands great attention since it helps make adjustments based on real-world feedback. In this stage, the product is upgraded, polished, fine-tuned, and enhanced according to the feedback given on its performance.
The phase presents a perfect time to improve the application’s functionalities to modify it to meet the actual end-user needs and upgrade its performance. It also enables you to meet additional requirements from the user and add new capabilities to the application.
The software product development lifecycle is a complex and structured iterative process that requires a detailed project plan to make it easier to follow and organize. But, if all stages are done well, the process enables the company to deliver high-quality products and solutions as SaaS development services and software development outsourcing. that meet the needs of the end-users. It is also important to understand that the lifecycle can be adjusted or shaped in different ways to meet the needs of each app development process or a particular project. Besides, the software development lifecycle can also be adjusted to identify particular actions required to deliver the desired results.
Thus, the lifecycle acts as a backbone model that arranges a framework while equipping every member that is involved in non-technical and technical activities. This allows every company to deliver a clean code and solution that satisfies the expectations of even the most demanding end-users.
Thanks & Kind Regards,
Thanh (Bruce) Pham
Saigon Technology Solutions
Email: [email protected] saigontechnology.com
A Member of Forbes Technology Council
Mobile: (+84) 913 666 227
Skype: tienthanh.pham (Thanh Bruce Pham).
I am a Software developer with approx 4 years of experience in building various responsive and beautiful websites and apps.
Language: Ruby, Java, HTML/CSS, Android
Frameworks: Ruby on Rails, Hosting: Heroku, Godaddy
Database: Mysql, Postgres, Mongo, Oracle
Also please look on my stack overflow profile.