The digital platforms and applications era has touched every vertical of our social interaction today. The rise of the digital framework has propelled the growth of the software development industry, and it continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors globally.
We all use software applications in our daily lives – from ordering stuff online to making calculations – but how does software development work? And what exactly is the software development process? Why is software development significant? In this blog, we dive deep into the different aspects of software development and document the numerous software development models.
The rising prominence of software development
Software development is a comprehensive process of creating software programs, applications, and systems to provide efficient solutions to real-world problems. With the IT sector multiplying, the number of software developers has also increased. According to the US bureau of labor statistics, the demand for software developers is likely to grow by 22% until 2029.
With the advent of new techs, such as AI, blockchain, and VR, to the existing software ecosystem, the market for the software industry is expected to continue its upward trend. Regardless of the business profile, today, every organization needs highly efficient software products or services to deliver an enhanced experience to the customers. But many companies struggle to find talent that can scale their software projects efficiently and bring value to the clients.
The lack of high-quality software developers continues to impact businesses globally. Thus, it is essential to have a robust and well-defined hiring structure to vet the developers and hire highly skilled developers to lead your software development projects.
The different phases of software development
With software development such a critical part of modern businesses, it is important to understand how does software development work? Six fundamental stages are associated with the software development process, known as the software development lifecycle – SDLC. These stages are Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, Deployment, and Maintenance. Each phase is critical for creating a highly efficient software application that delivers optimized performance and reliable benchmarks. Let us look at these different phases in more detail:
The analysis is the first stage, where you analyze the business requirements, conduct customer surveys, and gather all the relevant information regarding software needed for your business. This phase involves extensive research since it provides the foundation for the rest of the project.
The analysis phase involves the creation of user personas, graphical illustrations, data modeling, and finalizing the requirements. This process of requirement gathering provides a more comprehensive understanding of the project. It helps to fine-tune the development process in line with the requirements and thus create a framework for optimized execution of the development project.
The software development’s design stage relates to the architecture and specifications of the project. Some main activities that software developers or designers conduct at this stage include specifying design documentation, development protocols, software tools, frameworks, and coding guidelines to cater to the project goals.
The design phase builds on the analysis stage to provide a visual window into the development framework. It acts as a template for the developers to follow and adhere to the guidelines mentioned in the design documentation. Design is one of the crucial phases of effective software development.
The development stage is the core of the software development process. This phase is where the developers code and build the nucleus of the software project. Usually, it’s a collaboration between the front-end and back-end developers, where the front-end developers build the interactive interface, and the back-end developers provide the business logic through databases, APIs, and servers.
The developers need to follow the guidelines and specifications mentioned in the design documentation to ensure a consistent and streamlined process. Once the development is complete, you should test the software for reliability and performance.
Testing is one of the most critical phases of software development. This phase lets developers identify bugs, errors, and performance issues before deployment. The software testers can use several testing modules, such as unit testing, integration testing, and system testing, to ensure the final product meets the specifications and performance requirements.
Every software project, regardless of size or complexity, has bugs or errors in its first iteration. This is why extensive testing is paramount to ensure a good quality software product that delivers optimized end-user performance.
The deployment phase is when developers deploy or integrate the application into the production environment. At this stage, apart from the deployment, the developers also provide guidelines for installation, execution, and administration. This stage indicates that the application or product is ready to be used by the end users.
The deployment stage is significant since it signals the successful completion of the project. It is worth noting that, during the deployment phase, the application might face issues, and it is critical to troubleshoot those issues to ensure a smooth transition from the development to the production stage.
Maintenance is the final stage of the software development lifecycle. It is an integral part of providing optimized and flawless experiences to users. Upgrading your software applications regularly to ensure better security and improved performance is vital. The world of software development is constantly evolving, and thus keeping your software modules updated with the changing trends is a crucial part of the software development project.
An effective maintenance strategy is paramount to developing reliable software products and building long-term trust with your customers. Hence, it is crucial to have a software team dedicated to regularly maintaining your software applications.
The different software development models
It is vital to understand the numerous software development models when you ask the question: how does software development work? The software development models are different ways in which you can approach the complex nature of software development. The model you choose will impact the budget, project’s quality, objectives, and timeframes. Hence, it is essential to consider different models before finalizing your preferred model for software development.
The waterfall model is one of the software industry’s most prominent and widely used development models. The waterfall model follows a cascading approach where each stage of the SDLC follows another, and you can’t proceed to the next phase until you have completed the previous one. It is a linear model where each stage has well-defined requirements and goals.
The iterative software development model follows an incremental approach, combining several development cycles before the project starts. This model follows repeated cycles until all requirements are met, and at each cycle, some new features or specifications are added to the software. This model was developed to overcome some of the shortcomings of the waterfall model.
The V-model, also known as the validation and verification model, can be considered an extension of the waterfall model and follows a sequential approach. Here, the software system’s development and testing occur in parallel, which means that at the end of each phase of the development cycle, a testing phase ensues.
The four verification phases in the V-model are requirement analysis, system design, architecture design, and module design. Additionally, the four validation phases are unit, integration, system, and acceptance testing. A combination of these with the coding phase forms a V-shaped module.
In the agile software development model, the project is divided into small chunks of incremental development modules, and these modules are completed in iterative sprints of execution. The agile development model focuses on collaborative software development with various project stakeholders, and it helps improve the final product’s efficiency. Some prominent agile methodologies include scrum, kanban, and extreme programming.
The spiral model primarily focuses on evaluating and managing risks associated with software development. The spiral model combines the characteristics of the waterfall and iterative models to take advantage of both approaches. The four primary quadrants of the spiral model are i. Determining objectives, ii. Identification & resolution of risks, iii. Developing and testing the product, and iv. Reviews plus planning for the next phase. The spiral model is primarily used for large-scale and complex projects with innovative requirements and R&D activities.
Software development is a comprehensive process involving numerous stakeholders and cross-functional teams. It is vital to have a well-defined structure to ensure seamless and timely completion of the software project. As we have seen, different phases of software development and numerous execution models help developers meet objectives. Before starting your software project, you must evaluate the different models and choose the best-suited model based on your requirements.
Huzefa is a technical content writer at Turing. He is a computer science graduate and an Oracle-certified associate in Database Administration. Beyond that, he loves sports and is a big football, cricket, and F1 aficionado.