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Getting a bespoke software development project off the ground may become an immensely difficult undertaking for numerous C-level executives. Numerous technical intricacies and uncertainties can act as a roadblock to reaching desired outcomes. Fortunately, this specific obstacle is surmountable. The only thing you need to understand is how a system development life cycle (SDLC) should operate properly and what to anticipate from each of its phases.

This article will define the term “system development life cycle,” discuss the SDLC method in general, and demonstrate how everything works in reality. Additionally, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using the SDLC technique.

What is System Development Life Cycle?

The system development life cycle (SDLC) is a methodology for developing software products. SDLC is a multi-step process that is sometimes referred to as the “application development life-cycle.” Typically, it starts with the choice of the company to build an information system and ends with ongoing support. That is until the system is no longer being abused.

Nowadays, the SDLC method is increasingly closely associated with creative solutions built on cutting-edge technology. The phrase “system development life cycle,” on the other hand, was created more than a half-century ago. In the 1960s, IT teams began utilizing it to organize the process of developing information systems. Naturally, methodologies for system development life cycle management have evolved since that time. However, the essential concept and theoretical underpinnings remain the same.

A system development life cycle method, in particular, seeks to create high-quality software solutions that satisfy all customer needs and are delivered on time and under budget. Adhering to a set of specified sequential stages ensures that work is efficient and predictable.

By the way, the term “system development life cycle” may sometimes refer to both the hardware and software components of information technology infrastructure. However, for the purposes of this article, we will use the word “software development life cycle” as a synonym for the term “software development life cycle.”

Processes involved in System Development Life Cycle

As previously stated, the SDLC process is comprised of many SDLC stages. The precise number of stages varies between five and seven, depending on the nature of the project and the approach used by the team. We’ll present the seven-stage version of the system development life cycle since it provides a clearer view of the process.




The first of seven stages in the life cycle of a system is ideation. Its objective is to establish the product concept and to identify the user issue that the future solution should address. Often, development teams are excluded from this stage of the SDLC since the customer begins recruiting programmers after the product vision has been established. At this stage, the assessment of necessary resources and a timeline may be considered, but only at a very high level.


This is the point at which a client and development team go into the specifics. The objective is to collect, debate, and document user needs for the future information system, as well as to guarantee that programmers have sufficient data to construct the proper product. Following the conclusion of the system analysis, all stakeholders participating in the product design process should have a clear vision of how the solution should appear and function. Apart from the project’s scope, a client and development team conduct a feasibility study to determine the project’s financial, organizational, and technical viability and to establish a timeline for bringing the concept to life.

Developing a system

The design stage of the life cycle of a system is entirely focused on visualization. A system architect specifies how all product components will interact, establishes security levels, and details the data transmission method. Simultaneously, UI and UX designers develop schemes, layouts, and wireframes for a product concept. By and large, the system design phase is the first critical milestone in the software development process, since it symbolizes the move from theory to actual deliverables.


Software developers construct a physical product throughout the development process. It is often more time-consuming than the preceding three phases of the system development life cycle. The coding team is often composed of front-end and back-end developers who are each responsible for a distinct area of development. This step should culminate in a fully functional solution accompanied by source code documentation.

Assured high quality

Testers must ensure that a software solution is bug-free and conforms to all criteria throughout the quality assurance process. Numerous forms of testing exist, including usability testing, performance testing, and security testing. Typically, before a product is released, it is subjected to a variety of tests. If a problem is discovered, the product is returned to the developers for correction.


A completed product is deployed in a production environment at the deployment step of a software development life cycle. It is either distributed for end-user download or installed and set to operate on the client’s premises.


Custom software development is not comparable to buying an office desk. To get long-term value from a digital product, it is necessary to maintain its relevance. It is just not feasible to design an information system once and then utilize it without support or upgrades for many years. The maintenance stage encompasses all activities that occur after the initialization of the system. It may include, but is not limited to, system repairs, feature additions, and upgrades.

Additionally, not all phases of the system development life cycle occur in a linear fashion. The process of developing software systems is rather difficult. As a result, some phases of the system development life cycle may be repeated in certain circumstances.

SDLC Examples in action

The SDLC is a fundamental idea that may be applied in a variety of different ways in reality. Teams choose which system development life cycle approach to use depending on the characteristics of the project, the expertise of the programmers, the preferences of the customer, and other considerations. However, regardless of whatever choice they choose, the process will include all SDLC stages. The distinction lies in the organization of these stages and which one receives the lion’s share of attention.

Lifecycle of a system: waterfall model

The waterfall method is often regarded as the most conventional and strict method of system development life cycle management. It establishes a clear structure for the development process, from which a team may seldom stray. The SDLC steps in the waterfall are consecutive. That is, a development team may go on to the next step only when the previous one has been completed.

Additionally, a waterfall strategy is often defined by a predetermined price and stringent timelines. Due to the lack of iteration in this SDLC paradigm, it is difficult to integrate modifications after the project’s start. As a result, the waterfall technique is well-suited for short-term projects with well-defined customer needs.

System development life cycle: an agile approach

Agile project management is a contemporary approach to project management. It enables teams to progressively construct software solutions via the use of short development cycles dubbed “sprints.” Each sprint includes at least five of the seven phases of the software development life cycle: requirements, system design, development, quality assurance, and deployment. After completing a sprint, a client receives a portion of the product’s functionality (“increment”) that might possibly be deployed and utilized by end customers.

Because the product is developed feature by feature, programmers may readily modify the system as needed. A high degree of adaptability enables a development process to respond to changing market circumstances, ensuring that the customer receives a relevant product in the end. Additionally, active consumer interaction reduces the risk of investing in software that does not meet user demands.

System development life cycle: other models

The most widely used software development life cycle models are waterfall and agile. However, there are other more SDLC frameworks from which you may pick for your project, including the following:

Spiral model. 

It integrates a conventional technique with an iterative process, placing a premium on risk analysis. Additionally, a spiral approach is more adaptable than a waterfall model or other SDLC models. It enables projects to iteratively go through the major phases of development, owing to a metaphorical spiral motion. This methodology is particularly effective for big products, since development teams may create highly personalised solutions and include user input throughout the early stages of the product’s development life cycle.


Additionally, this methodology is referred regarded as a validation and verification strategy. The SDLC approach in question is a variation on the Waterfall paradigm. However, its steps do not flow linearly downward since they are angled upward to produce a V shape. The links between each development stage are linked in this project management model by a testing phase that is included for the purpose of identifying bugs and flaws. Thus, the V-model necessitates the application of adequate discipline and adherence to a strict deadline.

Big Band model. 

The Big Band model is the least organised of the project life cycle models used for software development. Additionally, it lacks rigid standards and procedures and requires less forethought. The development process under the Big Band paradigm is contingent upon the resources available at the time. This life cycle technique may be used by a project manager for smaller projects and development life cycle testing studies.

RAD Model

The term “rapid application development” is abbreviated. It focuses on quick prototype, rapid delivery, and user feedback collection. Since a result, this life cycle method is very flexible, as it places an emphasis on the adaptive process rather than on planning. Often, prototypes are substituted for important design criteria in the RAD model. As a result, RAD driven by UI functional requirements is one of the most often used models in the systems development life cycle. This concept was created as a counterbalance to the plan-driven and structured Waterfall methodology.

Iterative model. 

Iterative models are based on repetition and testing. This implies that at the conclusion of each cycle, new versions of a software product are developed. This enables developers to identify possible mistakes and continually improve the final product before it is released to the market. Additionally, this conceptual model enables developers to rapidly design a functioning version of the product. This results in a more affordable deployment of modifications.

A development team may also use a hybrid approach and integrate different models in one project to better satisfy the client’s expectations.

How to select the SDLC Model

In an ideal world, a development team and a customer would jointly choose a software development life cycle model. The following are the primary factors to consider:

  • Stakeholders’ requirements and concerns (e.g., business owners, employees, end-users)
  • Particulars of the project (e.g., scope, requirements, budget, timeframe, technologies)
  • The size and skill set of a team (i.e., if they have worked with a particular model or not)

For instance, if a customer places a premium on thorough documentation, it is preferable to use a waterfall or V-shape model. If speed to market is a priority, a RAD or agile approach will be a better fit.

Benefits of a well defined System Development Life Cycle

Why is a system development life cycle critical to the success of a project? As previously said, it enables teams to develop superior digital goods that satisfy all customer requirements. However, this is not all. Additional advantages of a well-defined SDLC include the following:

  • enhanced managerial oversight of the whole project
  • All procedures must be transparent and visible.
  • criteria are quite clear
  • a unified vision of a product shared by all stakeholders
  • Results that are predictable in terms of time, money, and deliverables
  • decreased danger of deviating from the path

Additionally, if a team follows a system development life cycle, it becomes more result-oriented cognitively. This results in less wasted work, which translates into a higher return on investment for the customer.

Disadvantages System Development Life Cycle

Simultaneously, there may be certain important disadvantages to the systems development life cycle:

  • As a result of the assumptions established at the outset of the project, if unanticipated events complicate the development process, this might result in future issues. For example, if freshly applied hardware does not function well, it might raise development costs and time.
  • Numerous techniques are rigid.
  • At the outset of a project, it may be difficult to predict the total expenditures.
  • Testing near the conclusion of the development process might cause development teams to slow down.

Importance of SLDC

A system development life cycle enables the complexity associated with designing a system from scratch to be reduced. Thus, it is vital to execute SDLC since it enables the transformation of project concepts into fully functioning and operational structures. Apart from addressing different technical areas of system development, SDLC is effective at developing processes, managing change, and improving user experience. Another significant advantage of the SDLC is that it encourages proactive planning and enables the definition of costs and staffing decisions, as well as the identification of goals, performance measurement, and validation points at all stages of the development life cycle to improve the end product’s quality.


In the majority of situations, custom software development is a difficult procedure. If you do not adhere to the predetermined life cycle stages, it will be very tough to contain the chaos and prevent the most perilous errors. Nowadays, there are several SDLC models available. However, regardless of the methods used, the team will assist you in obtaining a high-quality software solution, saving money, and reducing time to market.