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The Stages of Software Development

The ubiquity of personal computing makes staying on top of software innovation a major priority for businesses. As most people are aware, software consists of lines of code written by programmers that tell hardware — computers and computer equipment — what to show.

Good software can greatly boost the productivity of an enterprise, make like simpler for employees and management, and make the firm more profitable. However, many business professionals fail to have a solid grasp on Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) the process by which software is developed. The better they understand this, the better they can communicate with programmers and software testing services to leverage software for a competitive advantage.

Software Development

Requirements Analysis

In this stage, software project managers meet with stakeholders and business leaders to elicit their needs. First, general information is gathered about

  • who will use the system
  • how it will be used
  • what data will be input into it
  • what data will be output by it

These general requirements are then analyzed by the software professionals to determine the feasibility of turning them into a new program or an improvement. The key deliverable at this stage is a requirement specification document that will guide the next steps in the SDLC.

Design

The design of the new software is mocked up from the requirements gathered in the previous stage. Hardware and system requirements are specified as the overall architecture of the new system is planned. A test strategy is also mocked up, as engineers decide what and how to test. Broad user requirements have now been transformed into tight technical specifications that can guide the next steps.

Implementation

Here, the process of building the business software is segmented into units or modules as actual lines of code are written. Here, the focus of work has shifted from project managers to developers who do the painstaking work of building the new software. It is the longest part of the SDLC.

Testing

Now the newly written code must be carefully tested against the user requirements gathered at the beginning of the cycle. Does what the coders developed actually fulfill the stakeholders’ needs? Testing can be both functional and non-functional. In functional software testing, the focus is on how the software will behave under certain conditions and on the process by which it will operate. Non-functional testing focuses on the system’s overall structure and user experience.

Deployment

Here the end product is actually distributed to users so they can use it. At this point the software is considered to be in beta, meaning that bugs and needed changes are reported by users to the engineering team. When all necessary changes have been made, the final deployment will commence.

Maintenance

As we all know, the path of newly released software seldom runs perfectly smooth. Users will continue to find bugs, oversights, and areas of improvement that may have been missed during the beta period. Companies will periodically release patches and updates to deal with these issues, and typically new versions of the software will be released on an intermittent basis.

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