Understanding the Six Stages of Software Development Life Cycle

ByteCipher Pvt Ltd
5 min readOct 1, 2021

Software development is at its tipping point considering the high frequency of technological disruptions. Almost every industry is taking advantage of software to solve user problems. The software trend is growing at a pace that businesses need to aggressively catch up and get going with the software development life cycle (SDLC) to ensure fast and quality delivery.

The sequential order of stages across the life cycle ensures foolproof software delivery while the development stays on track. In case of a missing organized process, software delivery is likely to get delayed by months or years.

There is much more to SDLC that a business needs to understand before taking on software development projects.

In this write-up, we will go about understanding the software development life cycle in detail.

What is the Software Development Life Cycle?

Software development life cycle (SDLC) is a defined process towards software development, which, when followed, helps develop software in a fast and efficient way.

For software development life cycle phases — there is a defined step-by-step process for creating quality software. If you miss any of the steps or follow them haphazardly — the software development efforts will go to waste.

The software development life cycle comprises six stages: requirement gathering, design, development, test, deployment, and maintenance. Each of the software development stages is handled by a dedicated team of professionals with expertise in the niche.

The stages of SDLC mostly stay constant no matter what software development methodology is followed. However, the approach towards implementing these stages changes with changing development methodology.

Also Read: Benefits of Outsourcing Software Development Services

What are the Six Phases of Software Development Life Cycle?

Let’s walk through the SDLC steps to get an overview of the process:

  1. Planning

The client defines a problem that needs to be solved, which further forms the basis for finalizing the requirements. All the information from the client and users (if required) is gathered to create requirements documents so that the development team understands what they are building.

Then follows planning, which includes — distribution of work across teams, setting milestones, creating timelines for delivery, getting cost estimates, conducting a risk analysis, and devising a plan to mitigate the risks.

Creating a proof of concept is also part of this stage, where the technical feasibility is checked and validated before moving ahead with the development work.

2. Design

This phase of the software development life cycle focuses on creating software architecture, prototypes, and user experience design. Here’s an overview of what these activities entail:

Software Architecture: Refers to creating an organized flow of elements in a software code for quality assurance, clarity, and accessibility. You can refer to software architecture as the blueprint for the development team.

Prototype: The UI/UX team builds a prototype version of the software to validate its look and flow of design elements. It lets the development team and the stakeholders visualize the overall look and feel of the software.

3. Develop

This phase is executed by the coders who work on bringing the concept into reality. The developers create KLOCs (thousands of lines of code) using programming languages they feel comfortable with.

The goal of the development team is to achieve developer velocity while ensuring quality delivery.

The development team might release the software in one go or can choose to deliver software in fragments (segmented into features, i.e., Agile development).

Once the code is ready, the development team shares it with the testing team for review.

4. Testing and Quality Assurance

This phase of the application development life cycle focuses on testing the written code for bugs and other inconsistencies. Here, the testing and quality assurance team works together to test and report the bugs to the development team.

The testing team can either rely on manual testing or automated testing (as per their expertise and defined process).

We can say that the testers and the custom application development company work in tandem to ensure foolproof delivery of the software.

5. Deployment

The entire software or a part of it goes into the production environment phase after it is developed, tested, fixed, retested, and validated. If you follow the Agile SDLC process, deployment could be the launching of MVP and other features.

If the end-users experience any issue with the software, it moves back to the software development team for reconsideration and fixing.

6. Maintenance

New requirements are likely to drop in with the introduction of new technologies and changing user requirements. To accommodate these requirements, the software development team needs to iterate through the entire software development life cycle to work on the new change.

Thus, maintenance simply implies that software requires updates from time to time, which needs to be taken care of to uphold the software’s value proposition.

Why is Software Development Life Cycle Important?

Why should you be following the standard software development life cycle? Here’s how the SDLC process adds value to your software development ventures:

  • Faster time to market — The development and the turnaround time get relatively shortened.
  • High-Quality software — The process follows synchronous steps to development, leaving low scope for bugs and inconsistencies.
  • Facilitates management control — Whether it is a small or a large project, the SDLC model offers project management control to help them visualize and track development progress.
  • Brings the development team on the same page — When every team member understands the stages of the software development life cycle, they know what they can expect and how to go about planning for what’s next.
  • Breaks existing silos among the teams — The SDLC phases introduce full-swing communication among the development teams by tying them up together with a process that requires collaboration.
  • A clearer perspective of roles and responsibilities — Each of the SDLC phases has a clearly defined intent to it. Thus, the teams know their respective role in the software development life cycle.


Software development life cycle is imperative to create software that would end up being a product-market fit. Building software is a journey with various milestones over an A to B journey.

Winning organizations tackle the challenges of the software product development process and embrace change at a holistic level. The process starts with requirement analysis, design, coding, testing, deployment, and maintenance. However, how a team approaches the mentioned stages depends on the respective software development company.



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