Like many people, you may be familiar with some aspects of software development but you may not know what the entire software development life cycle is. The following explanation was designed for maximum simplicity so that anyone can easily grasp all the stages.

Stage 1: Planning

The planning stage is the most important one of the cycle. Objectives and goals of the project are identified. Many people are involved in this stage, including the senior staff, engineers, client, marketing specialists and others who are consulted to come up with a basic approach to the project. Risks are identified and technical roadmaps and goals are laid out. The requirements of the project are also identified at this stage.

Stage 2: Defining

After the requirements are discussed, then they are clearly defined and documented. The goals are broken down into functions and operations of the project. The requirements of the project will then need to be approved by the client or market analyst. A lot of analysis goes on in this stage to accurately define the different aspects of the project.

Stage 3: Designing

Based on the requirements, usually more than one design approach is created for the project. These various designs are reviewed by all the stakeholders and the best design is selected. At this point the details of the design should be pretty fleshed out.

Stage 4: Building

At this stage, the building of the product begins and programming code is generated. The type of programming language is chosen depending upon the type of software product being created. Debugging and other tools are used to create stability in the code.

Stage 5: Testing

This stage brings all the elements together into a testing environment. The software product is tested wherein defects are reported, tracked, fixed and retested, until the product reaches the quality standards set by the team.

Stage 6: Deployment And Maintenance

At this stage the software product is released to be used by customers. Some companies release a Beta version which can be tested out and improved upon by the users who provide feedback. Beta testing is valuable as it enables the software to become improved with real users. After Beta testing feedback is collected, improvements can be made to the design or functionality. The maintenance part comes into play next. It is an important one because it ensures that the system does not become obsolete. It also ensures that bugs are fixed and users are protected. Maintenance ensures that the system’s performance is evaluated and improved on a regular basis.