Software Life Cycle Phases and Models Explained

August 5, 2022

The software development process can be long and tedious. Many developers or project managers use software development life cycles to create software products fast, efficiently, and within the budget. This blog post will discuss software life cycle phases in detail to help you in your software development projects.

What is Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

All software development begins with the same first step; all software products begin as ideas. The idea is turned into a prototype and exists in various forms before it gets into the user’s hands.

The output of each stage in the software development cycle becomes the input for the next stage. This continues until the software is delivered to the customer.

The Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) is the process we use to develop software. If followed correctly, the software life cycle phases can provide the best level of documentation and management control. 

SDLC Model Explained

A lifecycle model is a visual representation of all the processes involved in making a piece of software.

It outlines how each of these methods should be carried out.

A life cycle model provides a framework for the various activities that must be carried out during software product development. Different life cycle models may plan the necessary development activities in different ways, depending on the project’s specific needs.

However, all life cycle models typically include essential activities such as requirement gathering, design, implementation, testing, and deployment.

Regardless of the model used, all essential activities are contained. The steps may differ in sequence, but they’ll always be there.

During any stage of the customer lifecycle, multiple activities may be conducted.

SDLC Popular Models

While all software development lifecycles (SDLCs) share many similarities, there are slight variations between them. Here’s a brief rundown of the most common ones.

The Waterfall model is the oldest and one of the most traditional software development lifecycles. The drawback of this model is that it is a linear process.

The drawback of the Waterfall Model is that once a team begins working on one phase of a project, they cannot move on to the next until the previous is completed. This can cause major delays, especially when some unplanned features or changes need to be made.

“V” stands for both “verification” and “validation,” and it’s often seen as an extension of a waterfall development method. Here, a “testing” phase is included within each stage of the process.

The lengthy testing process eliminates many more serious problems that can happen at the final stages.

The iterative development approach is an answer to the limitations of the Waterfall method. A minimal working prototype of the software is developed in the first phase and is refined through each testing phase. This allows for errors to be caught and corrected sooner, making the overall process more efficient.

Bugs and errors can be found and fixed as soon as possible with the iterative model, allowing for a quicker release to the market.

The Spiral approach is more flexible than the Agile and Waterfall  Models. It comprises four software development stages: Planning, Risk Analysis, Engine, and Evaluation. This permits more feedback than the two other models.

The evaluation process begins again. This works well for complex projects that have multiple iterations.

The Big Bang model is an excellent solution for smaller projects or when you have a broad idea that needs to be developed. This approach is commonly used by small development teams who work together closely.

Here, the planning phase is bypassed, and requirements are implemented in the order in which they are received. Moreover, the release schedule is flexible and can be altered anytime.

The Software Life Cycle Phases

1. Planning

Requirements analysis is the most critical stage of the software development lifecycle.

The senior management team performs it after getting input from all the key stakeholders and industry experts.

Planning for quality assurance requirements and risks associated with the project is done at this stage to ensure a successful outcome.

A business analyst and project planner meet with a client to discuss what they want to build, who will be using the product, and what the goal of the product is.

Before creating your product, you must understand its core functionality.

For example, a client may want an application for money transactions that is precise in function, operation, and currency.

Once the analysis is complete, an audit is conducted to evaluate the product’s viability. If any questions arise, a discussion is initiated.

2. Defining Requirements

The next step in the SDLC is to define the software product requirements. The SRS document created in the previous stage will be used as a guide for this. The software developers should thoroughly follow the SRS and ensure that the customer reviews it before proceeding to the next stage.

The next stage of the software development life cycle is to document and represent the software requirements and get them accepted by the project stakeholders.

SRS is the document containing all of the requirements for the product to be designed and developed during the project’s lifecycle.

3. Design Stage

The final phase of building software is where all the knowledge from the previous two is brought together. This results from all the input from the client and the requirement-gathering process.

4. Development

The final stage is to develop your project.

In this phase, the coding is developed, and the implementation of the design is begun.

In this stage of SDLC, developers write code according to the coding guidelines set by their management. They also use programming tools such as compilers, interpreters, and debuggers to develop and implement the code.

5. Testing

After the code is generated, testing that the products solve the needs addressed and gathered during the requirements stage is important. This can be done through unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and acceptance testing.

During development, there are several types of tests that can be performed. Unit, Integration, System, and Acceptance.

6. Deployment

Once the software is tested and certified, it is deployed to users.

Then, based on the analysis results, the product is released as it is or with recommended enhancements in the target area.

After the software has been successfully installed, its upkeep and maintenance begin.

7. Maintenance

Once a client begins using these systems, real issues start coming up, and new needs arise.

This process of ensuring the quality of the developed product is known as maintenance.


SDLC done correctly can provide the best level of documentation and management control. The software developers know what they should do and why. Everyone agrees on the goal upfront and has a clear plan to reach it. Everyone is aware of the costs and available resources. Make sure to follow the software life cycle phases correctly for better results.

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