6 Key Steps of the Software Development Process

We take a lot of things for granted. We handle online shopping or banking operations with just a few clicks on our computers and smartphones. But as we do so, do we ever consider what stands behind our beloved apps and software? What does it take to create an online product that would be so fast, efficient, and up-to-date? In reality, software development is no joke; it is a challenging process that requires a lot of money, time, and, above all, effort. This article will uncover the essential stages of the lifecycle that most top software development companies go through before delivering the services we enjoy using.



Why are the stages important for software development? 

In software development, the elaborate structure of work is everything. It ensures everyone, from stakeholders to developers and designers, stays on the same page. The team members can set clear deadlines and requirements for each stage and communicate effectively with each other during the process. 


The six most essential stages of software development 

There might not be a universal outline of the software development stages — each company can add steps they find helpful for their workflow. The six presented in this article are those that are mandatory — without them, no software will be complete: 


1. Gathering and analysis of requirement

According to statistics, 10% of startups do not make it past their first year, and one reason for this is the lack of research and meticulous planning. Hence, outlining all the product requirements and exploring the market should be paramount to keep the software afloat. At the stage of gathering and analyzing requirements, project managers and stakeholders should agree on who will be the target audience, what the core values of the service are, what it will look like, and how much money they can allocate to it. Once discussed, these requirements are documented so that the developers can use them as a reference at the following stages.  


2. Design

Design is not only about the visuals but also about accessibility and user-friendliness. At the initial stages of software development, designers work out the draft version of the design for the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). They do so to test how the elements look and interact with each other. If the design is well-thought-out, it can contribute to many processes. First, it can help the pages load faster, which saves users time. Additionally, a straightforward interface satisfies users and gets their attention. Once the design is approved, the developers can start with coding and testing. 



3. Coding

One proven way to start coding is to create an MVP — a minimum viable product. It is the version of the application that only has the most basic features. Once released on the market, MVPs can help to see how well the product is performing, what extra features can be added in the future, and the potential roadblocks. It is a cost-effective method and a great source of insights for stakeholders and software engineers. If the launch of the MVP is successful, developers can shift to expanding the software and creating more sophisticated features. 


4. Testing

Here comes the most time- and effort-consuming stage of software development. It is a crucial process that ensures that the software product is of high quality, reliable and meets the customer’s needs. During testing, QA specialists reveal any potential defects in the product, which are then addressed. It also involves evaluating the software product for any risks. Testing might include various methodologies, namely unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing. 


5. Deployment

Deployment is the phase when the product finally reaches the end customers. It starts with choosing the deployment strategy; the options are blue-green, canary, or rolling deployments.  Then follows the setting up of the infrastructure and creating databases and other data storage solutions.  Finally, the specialists carefully monitor the launch to ensure everything works as expected. It can involve several tasks, such as checking server logs, monitoring performance metrics, and analyzing user feedback and other data sources.


6. Maintenance

The product is released, but the software development does not stop there. The development team is still improving the software, introducing additional features and innovative designs, updating the product, and studying user feedback. Also, the maintenance stage includes regular checks for issues and bugs and updating documentation. 


Wrapping up 

Understanding the various stages of software development is crucial for anyone involved in a software project. Each stage, from analysis of requirements to maintenance, demands careful consideration and collaboration, and only this approach guarantees that developers will create exceptional software tailored to meet the needs of end-users. 

To ensure the success of your software project, engage actively in each phase, ask questions, and provide feedback. Collaborate to build software that not only meets but exceeds expectations.



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