The answer is this: the right framework will help direct your workflow in the right direction. A pretty strong and popular framework these days is SDLC – Software Life Cycle.
How SDLC works and why it is used
The diagram below provides an overview of the six main stages of the SDLC.
In general, SDLC is such a closed loop in which each stage influences the actions in the following ones and provides promising indications for the future. To answer specific questions and ensure consistency in your development process, all six stages try to influence each other effectively and consistently.
I will try to abstract away the subtleties and provide general examples suitable for students and software developers. For example, if by analogy with Zoomshift trying to create an app for hourly workers, or an app for time tracking, you will need to start with the requirements analysis stage.
At this most basic level, you will be able to understand what should be the requirements for employees in matters of time and labor, for which it will be useful to interview both the employees themselves and their senior managers. Also, for a better understanding of the problems of current applications in the field, you can test your solutions on the market, and create diagrams, charts and in general, keeping records will help you better understand the quantitative and qualitative feedback… Only after realizing these critical features are you ready to move on to the next stage of SDLC – planning.
The requirements analysis phase can be very tedious, but going through these steps leads to many results: reduced time-to-market, increased productivity, lower budget, and increased likelihood of product-to-market.
Think outside of your typical time tracking application — think about what you want to create, what you want to do, and then define requirements to address the associated challenges. This will be your beginning.
SDLC stages and best practices and methodologies
During development, before moving from the current stage to the next, it is necessary to complete each of its steps, for which they should be better understood. In this regard, the first three steps try to answer the test questions, and the last three are optimized to achieve actual results.
- Requirements analysis answers the question “What problems require solutions?”
- Planning answers the question “What do we want to do?”
- Engineering and design answers the question “How will we achieve our goals?”
- Software development regulates the process of creating a product.
- Testing regulates the provision of quality product performance.
- Deployment regulates the use of the final product.
These six steps describe the steps you are likely to take when evaluating, building, testing, and deploying your software. However, the SDLC standardizes and formalizes the workflow, which is only in your best interest: by following specific steps of the framework, you can easily understand where you are in it and tell the team where you are going.
Let’s take a closer look at each step and analyze the test questions and results, some of which you may want to optimize for your specific situation.
Stage # 1: Requirements Analysis
At this point in the SDLC, you need to obtain feedback and support from relevant internal and external stakeholders. Consider my recent example of developing a time tracking application: you will need to think broadly about who your potential users will be. Some ideas will include your clients, designers, your boss, or other technical team members. In general, you want to answer the following question: “What problems require solutions?” Being attentive and taking notes will be very helpful at this stage.
When you are satisfied with the answers, you can proceed to the next phase.
Stage # 2: Planning
At this stage, you are looking for an answer to the next question: “What do you want to do?” This question may inspire you to understand the unit economics of your plan (costs and benefits), risk mitigation factors, and expected costs. Similar to planning a vacation, you will need to lay out your belongings and think about what to take with you.
I read a lot about the Instagram story, whose planning phase took an incredibly long time. It coincided with explosive growth social networkstherefore, user interaction with the product was still largely unknown. The developers knew that strong primary experience (shooting, editing and sharing photos) would ensure growth, success and high conversions, and correct planning would simplify design, so they planned accordingly and spent on design a lot of time. They have always looked one step ahead and thought about the future of social media and ecommerce…
Plan for what you can control and remember the things that you cannot plan. This will help you get a solid foundation to get to the third stage.
Stage # 3: Engineering and design
By this stage, you should already know the requirements of your product and, in general, understand what you generally want, and before starting to write the code, this understanding should be enough to answer the next question: “How will we achieve our goals?” In other words, you need to understand what exactly you are optimizing and design accordingly.
Let’s say you want to build a secure, high-performance, efficient, and load-bearing application. Which of these four principles is most important to you? Why? Do the stakeholders from the first stage agree with this? It is important to ensure the approval of all participants.
After the design phase, you can finally get down to the keyboards, and making changes in terms of time and resources spent will grow steadily, and all sorts of small factors will gradually accumulate. In this phase, I recommend considering several key elements to make final design decisions: operational excellence, safety, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization.
Stage # 4: Software development
During the development phase, you seek not so much to answer questions as to produce results, or, more accurately, you need to lean towards action and create a prototype or system that others can test. At this point, your goal is to build the trust of your stakeholders by embodying the developer mindset. It is critical to follow the first three steps at the start of development to meet the expectations.
Get out your computer, make sure the environment is conducive to a work environment, grab your hot coffee and get down to business.
Stage # 5: Testing
Employees in T-shirts with slogans like “Design is cool, testing is not very” was a familiar sight for me, but you must understand that you will not be able to create the final version of the product until you eat the dog on it. Upon completion of this phase, you should be able to ensure the product is in working order. Track errors and inaccuracies, listen to other people’s points of view, and dive deeply into the question in order to find errors that slow down the release of the final product. You just need to provide a solid foundation.
Phase # 6: Deploy
Take your product and use it. Offer interested parties from the first stage to use your product in vivo, start tracking involvement in sales… Listen to your users over and over again, as feedback through surveys and recommendations can help you return to Phase 1 and start collecting new requirements. And don’t forget to celebrate the release.
Putting it all together: the SDLC approach
The SDLC framework exists to help you reduce time to market, deliver better performance, save budget, and increase the potential value of your product to the stakeholders you care about. SDLC is especially helpful in software development because it forces you to work within a tight framework. In other words, to ensure the correct action at the correct time and for the correct reasons, SDLC will force you to follow every necessary step. Think of SDLC as a plan for success: following it blindly doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it makes you more likely to be happy with the results.
Software development, as we all know, is a vast topic, and it can raise issues from web design tools and online forms to more robust machine learning or backend systems. Whether you’re writing code in the browser or doing more robust development, you need a roadmap.
Software development can be challenging and rewarding at the same time.
The SDLC is a technical plan, but more broadly, you can think of it as a guide to life. You can apply SDLC to many themes, for example content creation in SaaS model carried out on the SDLC cycle. Before writing content, the author first determines the requirements, plans what exactly he will write, and only then actually puts the pen to the paper. Also SDLC is great for tech entrepreneurs.
My friend wanted to found best ad agency for Facebook and turned to me and other specialists for help. Despite his big ambitions, I advised him to use the SDLC framework to do the requirements analysis first. I asked him: “What problems do you want to solve? What do your users want? And most importantly, how will this platform help you achieve your goals? “
By posing these questions around SDLC, he was able to better hone his final product and provide the right tools to the right users. He narrowed his horizons to a stricter definition of his problem area and was able to allocate resources for planning before he even started doing anything else.
Then he went on to create the very best growth service on Instagram, but his interests are constantly evolving, and now he already has scheduler programs social media activities at any scale. Eventually he will have to go back to the basics: requirements analysis.
User acceptance of its technology proves that solid technological and financial results can be achieved with the correct application of the SDLC. However, as with business development, software development never ends.
Therefore, the cycle continues.
Whether you are building a company, a tool, a complex program, or a completely new product, to ensure quality and focus on the users, SDLC is a good solution.
Build Cool should be your guiding light, and the SDLC should be your tool and helper.