System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
Every system, whether hardware, software, or a combination of the two, goes through a development life cycle. The purpose of the life cycle is to guide complex processes with an aim to expedite development while avoiding costly mistakes.
A system development life cycle is essentially a phased project model that defines the organizational constraints of a large-scale systems project. The methods used in a systems development life cycle strategy provide clearly defined phases of work to plan, design, test, deploy, and maintain information systems.
Here are the benefits of a well-defined SDLC:
- Provides a clear view of the entire project, like personnel involved, resource requirements, timeline, and objectives to deliver at each phase
- Sets cost and staffing decisions based on concrete information and prioritization
- Produces deliverables that meet design and development standards for each step of the project
- Gives developers a measure of control through the iterative, phased approach
- Improves the quality of the final system and milestones along the way
Agile Software Development
Many organizations have experienced success in meeting customer demands by adopting Agile for software development. This iterative approach for the design and development of software embraces constant change, and allows teams to break phases down into smaller segments to more frequently deliver working software.
The Agile software development project manager manages the work of the development team and helps the team stay on track to deliver regular software iterations. At the beginning of a sprint, the development team decides what they can accomplish in the timeframe to deliver working software that can be installed at the end of the sprint.
Here are some best practices for implementing Agile software development:
- Hold consistent daily stand-up meetings to maintain communication, hold team members accountable, and keep iterations moving forward.
- Deliver live demonstrations of the final product of each iteration to show progress to key stakeholders
- Share feedback from stakeholders and customers with the entire development team before the next iteration begins.
- Continually improve your process based on feedback received to ensure each iteration improves the next.
Continuous Integration for Software Development
Continuous software development involves testing, updating, releasing, and measuring applications in a continual cadence as they are under development. Users play a critical role in continuous integration by acting as beta-testers who contribute to the evolution of a product by giving feedback.
Software development organizations must continuously find ways to stay ahead of the competition, and some have found that continuous iteration of their product and its features and actionable feedback helps to win in the marketplace. In his book, author Robert Duval recommends the following seven core practices for running continuous integration projects:
- Commit code frequently
- Address broken builds immediately
- Automate testing (unit, functional, regression, integration, etc.)
- Ensure integration tests pass to continue into the next phase
- Run private code builds
- Avoid broken code