Explains the 5 Stages of Software Development

Senior Software engineer Mohamed Osman recently discussed the five stages of software development.

He explains understanding the fundamentals is essential for a software engineer to achieve success. These fundamentals include the five stages in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

  • Requirements gathering (planning)
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Maintenance and implementation

Osman dove further into what each of these stages entails.

Requirements Gathering

The requirements gathering or planning stage of the Software Development Life Cycle is arguably the most critical. An analyst, project manager, and domain expert compiles and analyzes the requirements. They later share their findings with the project team and communicate with stakeholders to develop the business requirements document.

In Layman’s terms, this is when the software development team gets a clear idea of the project before them. The project managers and stakeholders determine how the final product will look. They compile all this information into a document they can consult throughout the following stages of the software development process.

Design

The design phase of SDLC is when lead developers like Mohamed Osman and technical architects get to work creating the design plan for the custom software. This stage also includes making the Design Document Specification (DDS). The DDS outlines the database tables to add, transactions to define, user and system interfaces, network requirements, and more.

Development

The development stage of the Software Development Life Cycle is when software developers begin writing code. They also build the application or software based on the documents created earlier in the life cycle. The development stage is the longest of the five, and it is where the foundation laid in the first two stages comes to life.

During the development phase, software engineers delegate coding tasks to individual programmers. It is critical to the programmers’ understanding of their specific roles to increase efficiency. Programmers must follow the guidelines in the requirements gathering and DDS documents to ensure they achieve the stakeholders’ goals.

Design expert Mohamed Osman added that this phase involves using certain tools, like debuggers, compilers, and interpreters, unit testing, to create the code and enact the code.

Testing

The software testing phase is exactly as it sounds. This is when software developers test the software or application against the requirements to ensure it solves all of the demands outlined in the documents created in phases one and two.

The following are the tests administered during this phase:

  • unit testing
  • system testing
  • integration testing
  • acceptance testing
  • non-functional testing

Testing is the phase during which software developers strictly analyze the code they created. They record and correct any defects or bugs. The software is often sent to a quality control team to perform the testing. It is common for them to discover glitches numerous times before correcting all issues. The software must pass every test without error before it continues to the implementation stage.

Maintenance and Implementation

Now is when the software developers see their hard work turn into a successful application or other software. They install it in steps according to an implementation plan. This step includes opening the application in a beta phase and allowing the clients, companies adapting it, and some users to test it.

The maintenance and implementation phase may also result in users experiencing errors. They report these errors to those in quality control positions, so they can work with software programmers to develop solutions and repair the application. The software must then operate without errors for a predetermined amount of time.

Finally, the software is ready to launch to all users. After launching the software, developers will update the application and modify it in regular maintenance cycles. The work of a software developer is never truly complete as technology continues to advance, and applications must adapt to change.

Mohamed Osman and the Software Development Life Cycle

Osman explained that industry experts created the SDLC to save software developers and their clients time and money. The process ensures the developers understand and achieve (or exceed) the client’s expectations. Each stage plays a critical role in the success of the others and the overall success of the software.

Osman emphasized the importance of software developers learning and using the five steps of the SDLC. Failure to do so can result in an inability to meet the client’s requirements as well as the expectations of stakeholders and users. Disregarding the SDLC can easily result in a complete project failure.

Osman is a principal software engineer with nearly three decades of experience in software development and implementing the software development life cycle. He is widely known for his ability to build highly available software infrastructure.