Everyday, new software is being developed and rolled out. In some shape or form, software touches every aspect of our daily lives. The reason it has become pervasive is that of the efficacy of the software development process.
The software development process is also known as a lifecycle, because software must constantly be updated to improve user experience, fix bugs, and staying up to date with the latest hardware and trends.
The software development process is complex but must be followed closely to avoid major pitfalls down the road. It’s tested and true, and remains the same for any kind of software developed anywhere in the world.
It has six stages:
Planning is a crucial first step. Specialists from custom software development companies gather to discuss the requirements of the project and how to meet them. Teams are built along different methodologies, and tasks are assigned based on skill set. These specialists may write use cases to understand how different users may interact with the software, and look at the different risks involved in tackling the various tasks needed to develop a software.
Because there are often many parts moving at once, it’s during this stage where teams begin to figure out deadlines so everyone can move forward at the best pace possible. Deadlines, deliverables, and delegation occurs here.
Once major tasks and teams are understood, smaller teams or individual specialists begin to break down their tasks to smaller deliverables. Breaking them down to a smaller scale allows the team as a whole to evaluate the time, costs, and investments required to develop the software.
Developers, testers, designers, and project managers work together to see if the project is feasible given their restraints, and evaluate the functionality and reliability of the software if they continue as planned.
Once you’ve confirmed the need for this software, and your team’s ability to deliver something functional and reliable, you can begin to design what the software will look like.
How it looks is closely tied to its functionality and user experience. With a creative and clear design, you begin to see the overall architecture of the software. At this stage of the software design process, you can determine the database design, data models, and workflows for smaller teams.
Coding only begins at this stage of the software development process. At this stage, the actual development begins, using up a lot of brain time of developers. Usually there are several developers and programmers on any given project. Each one of these coders and developers has different subtasks that they are responsible for.
Typically, the project manager will be tracking how quickly or slowly these sub-tasks are being completed to identify potential deadlocks or constraints before they occur. Many of these sub-tasks are co-dependent, meaning that a developer must complete their sub-task before a programmer can start theirs. Management’s role here is to make sure everything transfers smoothly so that the team will meet their deadline.
5. Integration and Testing
Once the team is satisfied with a working product, they can move onto the integration and testing phase of the software development process. This stage is where teams make sure that the software works reliably on various systems. They are also testing all aspects of the software’s functionality to ensure that everything does what it’s supposed to do.
It’s not uncommon to bring in testers from outside the project. Developers and programmers within the project may be too close to it to really see major flaws or areas of improvement. Project managers will invite users who don’t know much about the software to come in and evaluate its ease of use, functionality, and first impressions.
After bugs and fixes are identified, the project team corrects them before moving on to the next stage of the software development process.
Once software is able to confidently pass all the stages of the software process, you have a viable product. But once it’s launched, the work is never done. There’s a delivery implementation process which involves bringing the software to its intended users. The software will encounter questions, concerns and require maintenance as time passes to perhaps allow more users, to expand its features, or to stay up to date with new hardware. Once the next step, feature, or fix is identified, the software development process begins all over again.