What Is a Software Development Life Cycle

What Is a Software Development Life Cycle

"Process Overview", describes a process, as shown in Figure (a), and explains the importance of following a process on a software development project.

A Generic Process Phase

A software process framework, or skeleton, explains what is to be done in each phase of a development project via the activities of that phase. By phase we mean a distinguishable stage in the development process. Life cycle phases represent different and consecutive periods with entry and exit criteria. For instance moving from the requirements phase to the design phase requires sign-offs from all stakeholders that the requirements are as complete as they can be at this point in time. This means that (at least some of) the exit criteria from the requirements phase is met and that (at least some of) the entrance criteria to the design phase are met.

"Process Overview" discussed inputs, outputs, transformations, checkpoints, and milestones normally associated with a phase. The framework, however, does not represent the order or sequence in which these phases and activities will be carried out. A software development life cycle model is but one type of process that represents order.

A software life cycle model (SLCM) graphically explains how development activities will be carried out by illustrating the "sequence" of the activities. The sequence may or may not be linearly sequential because the phases may follow one another, repeat themselves, or run simultaneously. Figure (b) is a simple, generic process framework showing that the overall process consists of major phases, which consist of activities that produce deliverables.

A Generic Process Framework

An SLCM is the framework, or scaffold, for defining the repeatable process that the software engineer applies to the development of software. It describes the simple practices that the software engineer can use to constantly produce high-quality software systems. The idea of the software life cycle applies to all software projects, whether large or small.


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