SDLC templates have been changing with the course of history. Its modifications reflect the ongoing progress in the information technology sector. So, what does SDLC 2021 look like and how does it differ from its predecessors? Read on and find out!
To start with, let’s fresh up a bit our knowledge of the notion and its origins.
What is Software Development Life Cycle template?
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) template is a framework describing all the stages and steps (from beginning to the end) that are required to deliver a great piece of software. In other words, it is a set of visual instructions – what stages are required, what steps the phases include and their sequence, when new team members should join the game and how to deal with change management, etc.
The notion of software development lifecycle (and the SDLC template) is nowhere new. Its goes back to the 1960s, when big companies developed first big systems which were bulky, comprehensive and difficult to build. To better manage the process, the software development life cycle was used to help the managers as well as all the system development team members stay on the same page and not to get lost in many design, software development and testing stages.
Let’s have a look at the earliest SDLC, which is a Waterfall model.
This pipeline has survived to our days and some companies may be using it even now. It is far less effective than modern-day Agile, though, as Waterfall is infamously known for high uncertainly, immense cost of changes, and challenging integrations at the very end of the project.
Building an SDLC Template…
We’ll need Waterfall software development lifecycle phases as a foundation to build an SDLC 2021 template, so let’s quickly go through them.
Requirements analysis and Feasibility study
Business or System analysis gives a start to the project with building a project plan. At this SDLC phase, project documentation is written (functional and non-functional requirements, responsibility matrix, change management matrix, etc.). Business analysis also covers the app logic, integration logic and some elements of architecture design.
Moreover, here you and your team will consider all the economic and legal, as well as recruitment issues that you may face during the software development project delivery and after it goes live.
To find more about Business Analysis, read our article on the topic, How does a BA bring value to your project.
A BA may give you a high-level view of the system, tools and techs, but the last word is the architect’s. He/she decides on the best tech stack, elaborates the app logic, integration methods, etc. – builds a ‘skeleton’ of a system and sends it to the software development team to grow some ‘organs and muscles’.
Let’s get down to work finally! This is the most time-consuming phase of the SDLC which takes up to 40 percent of the whole software development lifecycle! This is a subjective figure, of course, and it varies from project to project.
Time to test! Finally, we got to the phase where we can see how good (or bad) we were at requirements analysis, design and coding! System can undergo manual or automated tests, depending on the needs and specifics of your project.
Hooray! Why not to glue all the code pieces together and run them in the deployment environment? Now we can finally see what it all was for.
When the whole team is celebrating the success, the maintenance team’s watch begins.
So, this is a typical Waterfall software development lifecycle that a standard piece of software had to go through back in 60’s, replaced by Iterative model, V-model, etc. in time. It is pretty simple, yet it will serve us as a great foundation for a really great SDLC template.
Software Development Life Cycle template 2021
The SDLCs that our moms and dads used were nowhere near as efficient as it is now.
The SDLC model that an absolute majority follows today is Agile-based. As contrasted to Iterative model or V-model, it is almost exact replica of the Waterfall methodology (which is why we used it as a basis), only it makes focus on iterations and has a downward spiral shape, not linear like in Waterfall.
So, here what we’ve changed in the traditional Waterfall software development lifecycle to look and feel better in 2021.
Requirements analysis and Feasibility study
A high-level view of the system is still prepared at this phase including certain design elements, system logic, integrations and change management.
In other words, at this part we collect as much info about a to-be system as possible to make as few mistakes as possible during the development.
Yet, at the same time it is not typical for some Agile software development projects to do a comprehensive analysis and feasibility study at the start. Every project iteration implies analysis as its integral part, which is a crucial differentiator for new 2021 SDLC Template.
System design and Architecture phase
An architect is still given his/her own project phase to do all the job. Yet in 2021 there are many more aspects that an architect should consider. Let’s take a tech stack as an example.
Which tools and techs to use? Actually, this issue determines the price you’re going to pay for the system delivery. The price tag for the developer’s services varies depending on a language he/she uses (have a look at the chart here). Also, when choosing a tech, an architect must also consider its efficiency and applicability, not only costs.
Thus, what an architect recommends is always open to discussion in 2021. Back in 1960’s there was no such great abundance of technologies and system specifics to consider (previously used techs, third-party integrations, security, etc.). That is why decision-making was easier. Nowadays it is too risky to entrust it with one person instead of a team of stakeholders.
Software development and Testing phase
…have become a single whole. There are few software development projects left (if there any at all) in which software development is not followed immediately by testing. Here by saying ‘immediately’ we mean that each small code piece undergoes testing by the developer who wrote it (manual and auto checks), then it goes through:
- smoke test performed by the testers to find if the program runs as intended
- integration test in the end to see if the code pieces are running ok together and do not affect negatively other parts of the system
- load test to simulate max load that a system may go through and see how it copes with it, etc.
Software deployment phase
Deployment used to be a nightmare for the engineers of the 00’s (and those who suffered earlier SDLCs). This phase of the software development project was the pre-final, yet the most uneasy one. Due to the fact that all the code parts saw each other only in the very end of the software development and testing they could behave naughty in the deployment environment.
Thankfully, with the CI/CD processes and DevOps tools (blessings of the Agile era) the software parts attach seamlessly and undergo continuous testing for the best results.
System maintenance and Support
It could not be that relevant for the old-days systems, but nowadays it’s impossible to imagine a system without a system support team working non-stop to improve and polish it up. Bugs and errors not obvious in the software development environment could become an eyesore in production and reduce conversion (a real disaster of our days).
Furthermore, today’s complex systems operating 24/7/365 (digital banks, for instance) requiring almost 100 percent availability need continuous testing, constant updates, regular releases, and constant technical support, as a result.
Here’s a shiny Software Development Life Cycle 2021 for you. You’ve read a long read and truly deserve it!
We’ve also placed a comparison chart here for clarity. Thus you can see how the software development lifecycle template 2021 was born.
‘Haven’t you said that some companies have been using the Waterfall software development lifecycle templates so far’ – you may fairly ask. Yes, we did and that’s true.
State-run, banking or medical software development projects implying close control and accountability to the client are rarely planned according to the Agile-oriented SDLC. Thus, an original Waterfall software development lifecycle template is still a solution for them, though its limitations haven’t gone anywhere in 2021. Price of a mistake during system development is very high here.
By the way, if you’d like to know how to design a cheaper and more efficient system, stay on our blog to read TCO in Architecture Design: Questions to Ask and Mistakes to Avoid.