Software development life cycle. 8 Steps to creating a software product.

Maria Zotova

Marketing and Public Relations Specialist

Reading time: 7 min

With so many Off-The-Shelf solutions, companies can easily be made to believe that ready-made software can solve a lot of their technical and operational issues. That belief frequently stops them from venturing into the world of customised software. I.e software built specifically for their business and customer needs.

That said, more and more companies are beginning to realise and experience the vast benefits of customisation and are working with software engineering firms in order to create tailor-made solutions. So what can businesses looking to partner with these firms expect from the process? What steps are necessary and how can they know which firm to work with? 

In this article, we will look at the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and delve into the essential stages of the process as well as looking at what a strong development team should look like. 

By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the SDLC process and know what you need as a business in order to set up an effective collaboration with a software engineering firm or an individual contractor.

You will be able to ensure transparency, as well as monitor progress to verify that each step is being carried out according to plan.

Core stages of a software development process

1. Inquiry

Aiming to address key challenges, companies turn to a software engineering firm to discover how technology can benefit their business. At this first step, it’s a good idea to briefly describe either the problem you are facing or the product idea you are looking to create. This way, the software experts will be able to form a project vision. 

In the first request, it is reasonable to briefly describe a product idea, so that software experts can form a project vision. However, an organisation should ask a potential partner to sign a non-disclosure agreement before sharing any details to protect intellectual property.

Generally, a software development company gets back to a client within 1–2 days. During initial communication, a video, audio, or in-person meeting is scheduled to collect software requirements. 

It is not necessarily to write a technical specification, especially when a customer doesn’t in-depth experience in this field. An IT service vendor can prepare this document—including system behaviour, use cases, supported platforms, software architecture—after getting a clear understanding of business objectives.

2. Discovery 

Discovery is an integral part of a software development process, at which business analysts and engineers collect and process project requirements. 

The primary goal of this phase is to understand the needs that a digital solution has to address. 

For instance, an organisation may aim to build a CRM system for sales and marketing automation or migrate to the cloud for enabling scalability and high availability while reducing infrastructure maintenance costs.

When a client provides a technical specification, software experts audit it for exploring business challenges and making recommendations if necessary. A software development company can also create this document, which is essential for effective cooperation between customer and contractor, facilitation of team communication, as well as formulation of the work scope.

3. Planning

After analysing client requirements, a software engineering company defines the scope of work, assembles a dedicated team, and chooses a technology stack that is perfectly suited for addressing customer challenges. 

At this stage, developers outline a product implementation roadmap, make estimations of the timeframe and budget necessary for project launch. 

For example, to achieve scalability, fault tolerance, and high availability of a software platform, developers should build a serverless or microservices architecture. 

If the main goal is to release a web app under tight deadlines, it is reasonable to employ Python that provides various libraries, frameworks, and thousands of functionality packages to automate the process of creating a digital solution.

4. Design

To develop a software product that meets the expectations of end users, special emphasis should be placed on the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. A custom software engineering firm draws wireframes to visualise a structure of a software solution. Then, designers deliver a dynamic prototype to see the app or website in action.

With the view of attracting and retaining users, it is crucial to create an intuitive UI, provide smooth navigation, and offer a seamless UX. 

Designers take care of responsiveness meaning that a system looks as intended on all modern devices and platforms. 

To increase brand recognition, a client should ask an IT service vendor to implement a unique design theme.

5. Development

Aiming to help a customer to accomplish business objectives, a software development team creates a digital solution while ensuring compliance with the necessary standards, for instance, GDPR and HIPAA security regulations. 

To successfully enter a market, it is important to hire an experienced company that not only writes clean code but also provides system scalability, performance, and resilience. Applying best practices, an IT service vendor is able to release superior products more quickly. 

At Eureka, we enable a continuous delivery/integration (CI/CD) pipeline to streamline the processes of building, testing, and deploying software. Thanks to this, we save our clients costs, reduce time-to-market, and enhance software quality.

With test-driven development (TDD), our developers turn a technical specification into test cases, running them throughout a project to deliver a working solution at the end of each iteration. As a consequence, we faster build what is actually needed. Using TDD, we write clean stable code and prevent plenty of bottlenecks that otherwise have to be identified and eliminated during the testing phase.

In addition, our team employs behaviour-driven development (BDD) to ensure the proper operation of a software product. After defining how a system should behave in different cases, software requirements are transformed into user stories. Based on these scenarios, our software experts write automated scripts to make apps and websites that perform as intended.

By following the Agile methodology, we implement new functionality every 2–3 weeks, which is vital to testing feature feasibility on the market before demonstrating a platform to end-users or/and investors. 

A customer validates the outcome of each stage and provides feedback. Through productive cooperation, this approach helps engineers to deliver a product that aligns with business needs and user expectations.

6. Testing and quality assurance

Testing and quality assurance (QA) is an essential phase of a software development process, at which a product is audited for errors, security breaches, compliance with a technical specification. While the main aim of testers is to detect bugs, the primary goal of QA experts is to prevent any issues in the future.

There are various types of software testing that include integration, performance, security, load, and data flow testing. A trusted custom software engineering company employs a wide range of methods to deliver high-end solutions. 

For instance, by carrying out security testing, QA specialists identify vulnerabilities to safeguard sensitive data. With integration testing, they check how different functionality parts work with each other to ensure proper platform operation. 

Conducting load testing, a QA team observes how a platform behaves when thousands/millions of users simultaneously interact with it. With beta testing, feedback of early users is collected and analysed to further make improvements and meet the audience preferences.

At this stage, the task of software developers is to polish a website or application through debugging and prepare it for release.

7. Release

Before launching a product or its upgrade, it is reasonable to provide a dedicated team with product training, so that everyone knows how an app or website has to operate and what tasks it has to perform. Users, in their turn, should have a clear understanding of how a software solution adds value and how to interact with it.

After drawing confirmation from a client that a system is ready, a software development firm releases it on the market or integrates it into a business workflow. If a project goal is to build a mobile application for iOS and Android, software engineers have to ensure compliance with the strict requirements of Google Play and App Store.

8. Support and maintenance 

A full-cycle software development company provides platform support after launch to achieve its downtime-free operation in production. With continuous monitoring and system health checks, engineers can timely identify errors and fix them. By preventing issues, it is possible to significantly reduce costs while ensuring a seamless user experience.

In addition, a software engineering firm delivers maintenance services to assist clients in building new functionality, making upgrades, and implementing changes according to the feedback of end users. If an organisation doesn’t have in-house IT experts, it is reasonable to hire an IT service vendor that offers project maintenance on-demand.

Why should you choose Eureka?

Eureka is a software engineering company that undertakes project implementation from requirements analysis and planning to design, testing, and deployment. Having been delivering software development and consulting services for over 10 years, we have extensive experience in making solutions for FinTech, healthcare, e-commerce, education, logistics, and travel industries.

Our experts assist clients in auditing or preparing a technical specification, outlining a product roadmap, prioritising features, choosing a technology stack and architecture. Delving into customer goals and expectations, we create apps and websites that address business-specific challenges and add value to users. By building software with scalability in mind, our experts facilitate future system growth.

You can contact our team via email, phone call +44 203 290 4728 or +44 737 613 6971, or a request form. We will get back to you and help to address all issues. We are ready to sign an NDA before a detailed project discussion to protect your intellectual property.

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