7 Stages of the Software Development Process

January 13, 2022 / by Frederid Palacios

Professional software developers have an impressive portfolio of skills, all of which allow them to succeed in developing and designing software for deployment. As modern companies continue to lean more tech-savvy, the demand for skilled software developers grows. Such skills allow developers and engineers to seamlessly maneuver the seven stages of the software development process, ensuring a high-quality end product. 

Still, many companies struggle to find the right talent to undergo such a task. For this reason, many businesses are choosing to outsource their software development needs, ensuring that all seven stages are flawlessly conducted, resulting in software that exceeds customer expectations. 

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1. Analysis


The first step of the development process is requirements gathering, where developers are to extract the requirements of the desired software product. During this stage, developers will communicate with their customers to determine what the software is intended to do and then use their skills and experience to recognize what requirements are needed. 

Such a process requires an excellent knowledge of the software at hand in addition to customer expectations, ensuring that the two match. This is where skills such as technology consulting and business modeling come into play, ensuring that customers' needs can be feasibly met with the technology at hand. 

Once a detailed analysis of the software is performed, and all requirements are identified, developers will then make any necessary adjustments, ensuring that the software is functioning as intended. Specific components that fall under the category of software analysis include, but are not limited to:

  • Technology consulting
  • Business modeling
  • Requirements gathering
  • Feasibility analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Business integration
  • Existing software analysis


2. Design


Once analysis is complete, it is time for the second stage of the software development process: software design. During this stage, software developers begin to build the architecture of the project at hand, during which they will identify and remove any possible flaws with the software. This is done by setting an explicit design standard and remaining consistent with it. 

The standard set should consist of a first outline of the overall application, including specifications such as user interfaces, system interfaces, network and network requirements, and databases. Once the design document is outlined, it will later be converted to a more logical structure in the programming language. 

Operation, training, and maintenance plans should also be created during this stage so that developers know what to do in every stage of the software development process moving forward. Overall, the design stage consists of these essential tasks:

  • Application architecture
  • User interface design
  • Process engineering
  • Database definition
  • Systems integration
  • Software development process definition


3. Development


Following software design is the development stage. This is the stage where developers begin to write code and build the application according to their design documents and specifications, including: 

  • Solution development
  • Systems integration
  • Application enhancement
  • Solutions migration

It is crucial that software development is aligned with design document specifications to ensure functionality and that it meets customer requirements. As such, if all documents and specifications are thorough and organized, the development stage should be straightforward. In terms of coding, developers should follow all coding guidelines specified by the organization. The programming language used should be based upon project specifications and requirements. 


4. Testing 


To individuals not experienced in IT, a fair assumption may be that software development is the final step of the software development process. In reality, we are only halfway through the process, and the next stage is testing. Once the software is developed, it is crucial that it be thoroughly tested. 

Software testing ensures that there are no bugs in the software and that the end-user experience will be positive, meeting expectations. During this stage, developers should comb through their software very carefully, noting any bugs or defects that need to be tracked, fixed, or retested prior to deployment. 

To ensure that the software will meet the quality standards defined in previous documents, the testing stage should include: 

  • Functional testing
  • Test engineering and quality assurance
  • Compatibility testing
  • Load testing
  • Defect troubleshooting
  • Continuous integration
  • Tests automation

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5. Deployment


Once testing is conducted, and the software is functioning as designed, it is time to begin deployment. This stage is vital for running the development software to be assessed by all stakeholders, ensuring customer satisfaction. Various modules or designs will be integrated into the primary source code, typically by conducting these practices to detect any errors or defects that may have arisen:

  • Environment management
  • Production and cross-environment deployment
  • Continuous integration
  • Commercial and open-source software customization
  • Versioning control

Once the software has passed the deployment stage, it is essentially ready to be deployed to any end-users. Still, the software development process is not entirely finished. 


6. Maintenance


Even after the software has been deployed to end-users, there is still work to be done to ensure the product's success. Once the software has passed all previous stages of the software development process, it is time for the maintenance stage. Developers must conduct maintenance on the software and begin practicing any activities required to handle issues that end-users have reported. 

Within the maintenance stage, developers are responsible for implementing any necessary changes that the software may need, including:

  • Application enhancement 
  • Application support
  • End-user support
  • Systems integration
  • Data management

Additional maintenance needs may include fixing residual bugs that were not patched before deployment or resolving new issues that have appeared due to user reports.  


7. End of Life


Finally, it is time for the last stage of the software development process: the end of life stage. The end of life stage is the point in time in which developers will cease to create updates and patches for the software at hand. Prior to the official end of life, developers may conduct software re-architecture, application redesign, and legacy software mitigation. Once complete and there are no more changes to be made to the software, it has reached the end of the software development process. 


The Path to Seamless Software Development


Following the seven steps of the software development process is key to ensuring a high-quality and functional final software product. These stages help developers complete software on time and in the correct order, ensuring that it meets customer demands quickly and bug-free. As a company, it is vital that the software you use and develop functions as seamlessly as possible, and obeying the order of this process can help you do so. 

For organizations looking to optimize their software development process, outsourcing could be the answer. Many third-party providers offer personalized development services throughout the software lifecycle. As a result, your organization receives the high-quality software you need in a timely and cost-efficient manner. With the right provider, and the seven stages of software development, building the software you need is easier than ever.


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Tags: Technical Support Services, Software Development

Frederid Palacios

Written by Frederid Palacios

Fred Palacios is a seasoned software architect with more than 20 years of experience participating in the entire software development cycle across a host of different industries--from automotive and services to petroleum, financial, and supply chain. In that time, his experience working closely with high-level stakeholders has provided him with a strategic vision for developing the right solutions to flexibly meet critical business needs. As CTO of Intertec, he's continuing to focus on the creation of business-critical applications for large enterprise projects, particularly those that handle high concurrency and large datasets. He is passionate about using technology as a tool to solve real-world problems and also mentoring technical teams to achieve their maximum potential and deliver quality software.

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