This article aims to explain what software development is and overview the most important components, topics, and terms around it.
Software is a computer program– a set of commands for computers to complete a specific task. That could be task automation did manually, organization of data in a certain way to provide entertainment or individualized learning, etc.
Software development has become a crucial path for all types of businesses to go digital and grow their customer reach. Technology influenced the way customers move on their journey being guided by content on different channels. Recent tech advancements affected also the way we work, along with mobile access, connected to various systems and users with sync data. The role of software development companies is to help organizations understand their customers, research the best ways of serving them and maintain a competitive advantage.
Software development is the process of building computer programs. That’s writing the code at a fundamental level. However, this process includes various stages of the software development lifecycle from research to final product realization on a broader scope.
Below are described the typical (standardized) steps of the software development process. The exact number of phases depends on the applied software development methodology and framework for the team.
Step 1. Planning and Analysis
This phase is sometimes called requirements collection and feasibility study It implies collecting all the relevant information from the customer and other stakeholders, understanding project purpose, needs, and expectations. A meeting is conducted with the customer to discuss the scope considering the initial requirements, expected issues, opportunities, and risks.
Having defined and documented the software requirements and a plan with staffing the software development team provides an estimation of the project regarding the development effort. Then a basic plan is created which guides priorities, staffing, budgets, schedule, and all other initiatives.
Step 2. Software design and architecture.
After planning and analysis, the design and architecture stage comes when system and software design documents are created according to requirements specification documents. Software architecture shows the structure of a system and focuses on how the elements and components within a system interact with one another. Software design explores the implementation details of the system focusing on the code level design aiming to help developers alter requirements into implementation.
Step 3. Development
At this stage, developers start to build the system. The coding is done as per the specifications set out in the previous stage. Requirements are transformed into tasks and assigned to individual developers. This is the longest stage in the software development life cycle process.
Step 4. Testing
After the code is written it can be deployed in a test environment. At this stage, the quality assurance and the testing team may find some errors/defects and communicate with the developers. The development team fixed the error and then sent it back to quality assurance for retesting. This process will continue until the software is defect-free, stable, and runs according to the business requirements of the system.
Step 5. Deployment
Once the software testing phase is over and there are no errors or errors in the system, the final deployment process will begin. The system is provided for production to verify execution, completeness, and correctness. After passing this stage, the software is theoretically ready for market and may be provided to any end-users.
Step 6 Maintenance
The maintenance phase of the SDLC occurs after the product is in full operation. Maintenance of software can include upgrades, repairs, fixes, and new features implementation.
Different formats approaches and techniques are used in the software development lifecycle model to make the project development process yet effective, to organize the workflow, eliminate waste, reduce costs and provide the highest quality.
Over time a few dozen development models have been realized, efficiently adapted, and evolved to a successor. However each of those has its unique advantages and possible drawbacks, so it’s essential to analyze the core gist of the specific project to understand which framework would be the right fit for it.
Let’s take a look at the top software development methodologies used in Y2021.
Agile methodology is the most popular practice today that promotes continuous interaction between development and testing in the SDLC process of any project. In agile software development methods, the entire project is divided into small incremental builds. All these builds are provided in iterations, and each iteration lasts one to three weeks. The most popular Agile methodologies are Scrum and Kanban.
Scrum is the most commonly used approach Agile development framework and is a lightweight process framework for agile. Key differences to other Agile processes are concepts and practices divided into the 3 categories which are roles, artifacts, time boxes.
While Scrum is based on short, sharp, structured sprints, Kanban is a more continuous and fluid strategy. It is based on visualizing workflows, optimizing efficiency, and limiting work in progress at any one time.
The adoption of Agile development practices brought about new disciplines of software development. DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations. It aims to shorten the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. DevOps is complementary with Agile software development; several DevOps aspects came from the Agile methodology.
Feature-driven development, Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal, and test-driven development are further variations that fall under the Agile umbrella.
The waterfall is another widely accepted SDLC model. In this method, the entire process of software development is divided into various stages of SDLC. In this SDLC model, the result of one stage is used as the input for the next stage.
The waterfall model is document-intensive, and the early stages record the operations that need to be performed in the subsequent stages.
Lean Software Development is a transformation of lean manufacturing principles and practices. LSD is adapted from the Toyota Production System. Lean offers a solid conceptual framework, values, and principles, as well as good practices, derived from experience, that support agile organizations.
Rapid application development
The rapid application development model in which the application is developed based on prototyping without any detailed planning. RAD is a useful methodology that provides more accelerated development and higher quality results than other software development methodologies. The RAD model prioritizes more on the development task, and there is less concentration on planning. This method aims to accelerate the entire development cycle (i.e., developing software in a short period.
The above software development methodologies work well in certain projects depending upon the nature of the project. One methodology that looks right on a particular project may not be suited for another project. So when choosing a software development methodology for a specific project, it is advisable to consult a professional software development company.
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