Software Development Life Cycle: What it is and how it's affecting your project

June 18, 2021

Software development doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, if you have ever worked with an offshore or nearshore company, you might have noticed there are certain specific processes that go behind developing a software solution.

However, what you might not know is that this process is called Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC and can directly affect how your software project is being carried out, and how it would turn out.

There are multiple different SDLC that companies apply depending on the type of the project they are working on, however, they usually follow up a basic structure that allows them to achieve an overall better work and results.

But, before we get into that, let’s take a loot at what SDLC really is, and why you should definitely pay attention to the model your software development outsourcing partner is using.

How a Software Development Life Cycle can affect your project

SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle refers to the undergoing process every IT outsourcing services company has to go through in order to develop a web or mobile solution in the shortest amount of time possible, and in the most effective way.

Companies tend to adapt this modele since it allows them to go through all the phases of software development (planning, designing, creating, developing, testing and delivering) in an organized manner that assures they will reach the maximum levels of productivity and will be able to achieve a great product.

As the name itself states it, it is a life cycle, meaning it embodies all the parts, stages and processes that are involved in software development. To put it simple, it is one of the few worldwide accepted software development methodologies that many companies are familiar with.

Now, you might be asking “How does this affects my project?”, well, like it or not, SDLC is the core of any software outsourcing relationship. If your offshore of nearshore company doesn’t follow a standard method or can’t figure out a simple path to create a software solution, you’re in bad hands.

Not only that, but the way your IT outsourcing services provider handles and follows the cycle will determine the success of the overall project, which of course, concerns you.

Types of Software Development Life Cycles

Like we previously said, there is just one type of SDLC, which is usually divided into five or seven phases, which will see later on. However, there are different models or takes on these cycles that companies apply depending on what software solution they are building.

We are not going to touch directly on these types, since they depend directly on the type of company and project you’re developing, however, we will mention the most common ones, such as:

  1. The Agile Model

  2. The rapid application development

  3. The Scrum method

Here in Rootstack we are firm believers of the scrum methodology, and believe it is probably the most effective one amongst all the software development methodologies currently available.

The SCRUM methodology is based on the idea of using an agile framework for managing projects such as software development in an effective and progressive way by using sprints and dividing work into different sections that can be carried out within an specific period of time.

We are not going to deeply analyze the SCRUM method, however, we will say it is one of the most moldable and adaptable work methodologies that follows up the Software Development Life Cycle almost perfectly.

Phases of SDLC

Just as we previously mentioned, the software development life cycle is usually divided into five or seven phases max. Each one focusing on a different aspect of the overall project and seamlessly going through one phase of the process to the other until the software solution is finally completed. These steps are:

1: Gathering requirements

This is the very first step in any software development project, and it is based on gathering all the vital requirements regarding the software solution it self in order to be able to create a plan of action.

It is during this stage that the offshore or nearshore company takes the time to write down all the important information regarding the scope of the project. Usually, companies do this in two main ways:

One, by setting up a meeting in which the Project Manager of the nearshore company and senior members of the software development team sit down to discuss the project with the client.

It is during this meeting that the client just provide the company with all the relevant information regarding what they want and what they need to get done, and it must be done so in a professional and clear way.

Two, resourcing to short interviews with the client that help clarify exactly what type of software solution they need and what are their specific requirements for this project.

2: Deep analysis and planning

Once the IT outsourcing provider has all the information and requirements on their side, planning begins. It is now time to take all that useful information, analyse it and come up with a strong, functional plan.

This part is usually carried out by senior members accompanied by the project manager or CTO. Together, they must take into consideration all the previous points made by the client, and run a deep analysis regarding the viability of the project, the technical, economical, functional and operational factors that could make this process succeed or fail.

Once all these points have been taken care of, they should end up with a proper plan of action that deeply describes how they will carry out with the project, the different stages it would go through, the technologies they’ll use, etc.

Some companies divide this step into a third one, in which they create a SRS document, also known as a Software Requirements Specification document, which includes and documents all the requirements and expected behaviour of an specific software solution. However, we will include this step as a part of the phase 2.

3 Coding or product development

This is when the actual software development process begin, and as you would expect, this part is carried out by the software engineers of the team, who are in charge of code every stage or part of the overall process.

During this phase, each engineer should report back to the PM or Business Analyst and showcase their work done so far, being open to any feedback or modification that might be required.

It is worth to mention this is usually the longest part of the Software Development Life Cycle since it involves more people and more software development methodologies being used at the same time.

4: Testing or QA

Once the development part is over, the it outsourcing services provider should start testing the software solution on various different testing platforms to make sure every feature is working as it should be.

During this stage QA’s will check every part of the software, run it on different platforms, check how it responds to integrations and use it as if they were the final user.

5: Deliver and implementation

How the offshore or nearshore company decides to deploy and roll-out the software solution will completely depend on the size and complexity of the end product.

However, companies tend to use either the waterfall method of bigger software solutions, or the Agile method for software development projects that were much less demanding and easier to implement.

And that’s how IT outsourcing services companies handle and manage everything regarding software development. Again, this is a standard methodologie and companies can (and will) adapt this method to what they specifically need.