Custom Software Development: Life Cycle Stages and Best Practices

All businesses, whether startups or established companies, rely entirely on software development to operate online and increase their market presence. 

What's more, software customization provides an extremely organized workflow that contributes to the natural efficiency of companies, whether it's the banking sector, health care, or any other area of business. 

But customized software to include certain features certainly requires careful planning and a set of protocols. This whole process is called the software development life cycle (SDLC). A custom software development company that neglects any of these lifecycle steps is unintentionally making mistakes in the software. 

Consequently, if you are one of these customers looking for a reliable vendor, you need to have a deeper understanding of the complete software development process. 

What Is the software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

The software development life cycle is a set of 7 steps that help an organization move seamlessly through the various stages of development. This step-by-step process aligns project requirements, budget, deployment time, and quality assurance to ensure a reliable product is delivered. Each of these steps, however, depends on the type of development model (Agile, V-model, waterfall, RAD) that a company chooses for its operations. 

Idea and Planning

A well-thought-out idea becomes the cornerstone of every project, and it takes a lot of brainstorming to implement that idea effectively. Thus, strategic planning forms the core phase of the SDLC, which includes determining the availability of resources, the type of methodology to follow, the scope of the project, the development challenges, and its cost. In addition, the planning phase also helps to anticipate possible obstacles in the project and take the necessary steps to overcome them. 

In addition, during this initial phase, the software development company collects information from its customers to learn their expectations and problem points. This, in turn, helps the development company optimize the flow of its operations.

Requirements Analysis 

Also known as the feasibility analysis or definition phase, this phase includes three stages. 

Requirements gathering is one of the most critical stages of requirements analysis to get the final product precisely in line with the customer's expectations. In this stage, the business analyst collects the minor details of the requirements from the customer in the exact form they need. It is also customary to involve stakeholders in this phase to avoid any discrepancies between the customer's expectations and the final product. These stakeholders can be programmers, quality control engineers, etc. 

An example of requirements gathering: Suppose a user asks a company to develop software so they can view the attendance of their employees. The business analyst should ask them if they need it for payroll or just to check if the employee is on vacation. Or for both.

Requirements Analysis: Now that the information has been gathered, the next step is to analyze the data collected. The various stakeholders or people to whom the task has been delegated then come together to analyze the functional and technical aspects of the project. 

An example of a requirements analysis: The customer can also ask for a feature that will allow them to measure the efficiency of each employee and the number of hours they spend in the office.

Documentation: After a complete functional analysis of the project, the finalized plan is formalized into a contract known as a software requirements specification (SRS). This document contains risk mitigation solutions and quality assurance plans. 

Design: Once the requirements are prepared, software architects refer to this manual to prepare two types of design documents: 

  • System Design Specification (SDS), containing the logical design. 
  • Design Document Specification (DDS) that contains a physical structure.

Some of the design examples these documents contain include - data flow diagrams, meta-data, and pseudocode. The SDS and DDS are then reviewed by stakeholders to - assess risks, design flexibility, product robustness, and time and budget constraints. A design that meets all conditions is refined and moved to the programming phase.

Coding/Implementation: The coding stage forms the foundation of all software development and is usually the most extended process. Software developers meticulously prepare the source code to meet the design requirements specified in the SDS and DDS. Programmers also need to meet stakeholder requirements. Once the design and functionality of the solution are determined, the product (software) enters the testing phase.

Testing: Once the source code is ready, the next phase of testing these codes begins. Testing is usually a cycle. When the code is ready, developers try it for functionality. This code then passes through testers who use various frameworks and white/black box methodologies to test the code on several levels. Program testing, internal testing, unit testing, and user-side testing are some types of testing done by experts to ensure that the software is bug-free and has a smooth flow. The software returns to development mode if there are bugs in the source code. In this way, testing and development work in a loop. 

Deployment:The created software is installed in the cloud for the client to use. The software components are integrated into this phase to produce a functional solution. Deployment is often done in stages if the software is quite complex. Once the software is deployed, it is made available to end users and analysts. 

Operation and Maintenance: Operation and maintenance is the final stage of the software development life cycle, where the final solution is left to the user. Feedback received from end users is used to upgrade the software with enhanced features or improved performance. This stage is also used to obtain new requirements from the customer.

Software Development Models 

 These models not only help developers implement the development process strategically but also make it easy.

The value of software development methodologies:

  • Provides a roadmap for properly managing workload changes
  • Eliminates common development problems
  • Engages customers by keeping them informed 
  • Gives clarity and enough time to make changes.

Below is an overview of some of the most popular and reliable models that define the entire development procedure.

Waterfall Model

This is one of the first models introduced by Winston Royce in 1970. This model is divided into successive stages that work like a cascade. This model works with step-by-step documentation and delivery with no overlap between sets. In addition, this method provides quality assurance at each location. The project does not move forward until the previous stage has been fully developed and thoroughly tested.

However, there is a downside to this model. The end results cannot be evaluated, which jeopardizes the effectiveness of the entire project.


The V-Model is an augmented waterfall model in which each coding phase is synchronized with the testing phase. Each stage is tested and validated with test cases, and test plans are made at each location. This keeps errors in the code, architecture, and documented requirements to a minimum, making the V model more robust.  

The only drawback to this model is that development changes and their implementation are complex. 

Iterative Model

The iterative model, as the name implies, works in iterations. Development is done in parts, and changes can be made during development. However, the model limits significant changes to avoid complexity and wasted time. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the specified requirements carefully.  

Spiral Model

This model works on a cycle and assesses risks in depth. Consequently, it is necessary to have good risk assessment analysts for such a project. The process in this model begins by defining the goals and constraints of the software. Then a prototype is built, risks are assessed, and development continues in a spiral. Hence the name. 

The Agile Model

The Agile model combines Scrum and Kanban methodologies that revolve around iterative development. In this model, more emphasis is placed on developing and testing software to create functionality quickly, ensuring quality. In addition, in Agile development, teams work collaboratively and often interact with customers. On the other hand, it becomes difficult to estimate a budget for the entire project because of the numerous iterations and human involvement. In addition, it takes a long time to create the finished software.


At Sodeira Solutions, we believe a solid foundation should be coupled with a coherent plan. All stages of the SDLC are equally essential and cannot be neglected to ensure a high-quality product. In addition, a good software development company will surely know which model best suits their customers. So make your choice carefully.

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