Software Development Life Cycle

A breakdown on the steps of the software development life cycle

Software Development Life Cycle
Z. Reese Downing
Z. Reese Downing
Director of Marketing

Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC, is a structured series of activities that are utilized by software development teams to ideate, design, develop, test, and roll out software applications. Utilizing this process helps break up the developmental procedure in a way that can easily be assigned and tracked, assists teams in ensuring an organized approach, guides teams toward a timely delivery, and most importantly ensures that all quality metrics are met with the final application. That last bit is especially important. CISQ (Consortium for Information & Software Quality) reported that poor software quality led to just over $2 trillion dollars in loss for businesses in 2020. That is a staggering number, and one that further highlights the importance of utilizing a strong life cycle plan in order to ensure a successful MVP. 

Let’s take a look at each step of the process.


The first stage in the Software Development Life Cycle is planning. This is where software development teams evaluate the scope of the MVP. This is an important step that teams need to take in order to ensure the application they are planning is not only feasible, but carries necessary value. During this stage, costs are estimated and a timeline is typically laid out with achievable milestones that will take the software development from start to finish. Once this is all completed, everything is presented to stakeholders, where the software development team can gain feedback, adjust as needed, and come to an agreement on moving to next steps.


Once the planning stage is completed and the software development team has gained the necessary buy-in from stakeholders, it’s time to move onto requirements. In this step, specific needs, essentials, and provisions are discussed between the software development team and the client to ensure that all details are communicated effectively and included in the build.

Additional steps that may be taken during the requirements stage could include evaluating what specific tools may be needed to execute the build, as well as scoping the project to execute team assignments.


The design stage is where the development truly begins. A prototype of the application or software is developed that properly demonstrates the layout, look and feel, and functionality. Steps within the design stage can include:

-Specifying programming language and any templates used

-Identifying what platforms and operating systems the application will work on

-Hashing out how the app will need to communicate with other software, applications, or servers

-Laying out how the end user will utilize and interact with the application

-Determining any necessary security measures, like password requirements, encryptions, and/or user credentials

Once the design stage is completed, it is presented to the client for approval before the build stage begins.


This is where we get into the nitty gritty of things; the actual writing and building of the program code. This stage could be handled by a single developer, or there could be a team of multiple developers working in sync to execute the build. In most cases, software developers utilize a source code repository or access control system to help the team keep track of changes to the code as they work through the build.


Done in sync with the build stage, the documentation stage is essential to a successful application build. Throughout the build, software developers will document virtually all relevant data for later use. This could be notes on procedures and operational aspects, necessary comments on specific source code utilization, troubleshooting steps, FAQs, or even user guides and tutorials that can be in textual or graphical mediums.


The test stage is one of, if not the most important stage of software development. Proper testing before rollout allows developers to flush out bugs and glitches in application operation, overall performance, and security measures. This step is vital to execute prior to deployment so any and all glaring (or not so glaring) issues can be addressed prior to handing the application off to the end user.


Once the test stage is completed, the application is deployed and rolled out to its users. The complexity of deployment can vary drastically. It could be as simple as downloading an app on a mobile device, or it could be as convoluted as installing a system wide application that’s replacing an old system or being rolled out as a brand new tool. Integration can be a time consuming and complex challenge, especially if the application works in sync with other programs.


This is the final stage of the software development life cycle, and one that can be in perpetuity. As users report bugs and glitches, maintenance is done to address these issues. Within the maintenance stage can also be rollouts of updates and new features as the application grows with the end user. How software development companies handle this stage can be the difference between a good software development company and a great one.

If you’re interested in learning more about CODE/+/TRUST and how we can help you develop your next great application, reach out to us today.

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