The influence computers, the web, and technology have had on modern life is undeniable but underlying the tremendous progress made with tech in recent years lies one key component – namely, the software our devices run.
From web browsers to Operating Systems, computer-based devices would be rendered almost useless for the majority of people without the software that allows our most popular machines to provide a useful benefit.
If you’ve ever considered the requirements involved in the process of producing software, read on for an entry-level guide.
The stages of software development
No matter what program you’re looking at, all software goes through similar stages in its production to make it functional and provide software development security. Some would claim there are seven phases in software production; however, for the sake of simplicity, let’s limit this list to six:
Planning: Many developers would argue that, on balance, the planning phase is the most crucial stage of software development. As with so many other areas of life, effective planning saves far bigger problems cropping up further down the line. The planning stage of development involves all invested parties (client, end-user, and the development team) sitting down to identify an issue or requirement and how best to address it. Key aspects are considered at this point – everything from what’s achievable within the allotted budget and timescales to the best programming languages and approach to take.
Analysis: Once all parties agree on a route map, the developers will typically perform a feasibility study to assess the viability of their proposed approach. This phase will usually serve as an outline for the latter design and development phases – including breaking the total project into Scope of Work (SOW) deliverables with appropriate deadlines.
Design: The system design stage sees all the previous planning and analysis formulated into a tangible, workable design for the software product. At this phase, the developers and designers will work together to agree how it will function, what it will look like and exactly how it will be built from both a front-end and back-end perspective.
Coding and development: The real nitty-gritty of most projects happens at this stage as the software is assembled. Designers and developers work closely to ensure both teams are 100% on the same page and their individual directions will work effectively together and complement each other. In essence, you could consider this phase when the ideas and planning come to life as an actual product.
Testing: The Quality Assurance (QA) stage of projects is vital to ensure the development company doesn’t release buggy or problematic software to the public. With most projects, it’s almost inevitable glitches or security issues will be identified that need to be addressed before deployment.
Deployment: While it might be tempting to think the deployment and launch of software is the end of its production journey, the opposite is true. Despite all the planning and dev work that has gone into the previous phases, it’s extremely rare for companies (both developers and their clients) to hit the nail on the head in terms of requirements and frequent reviews and updates required. Furthermore, security issues often arise that simply couldn’t have been predicted, forcing updates to maintain user safety.