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What Does SDLC Mean?

Read our blog to find out what the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is, its benefits for organizations & different methodologies.

software development life cycle

The Software Development Life Cycle, or SDLC for short, is a lifecycle methodology that anyone involved in a project can use to develop software excellence. It encourages quality-driven development by focusing on risk management, cost control, and meeting stakeholder requirements.

In this guide, we’ll be covering:

  • What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and what are the different phases?
  • What are the benefits of the SDLC?
  • What are some common SDLC methodologies?
  • Which SDLC model is best?
  • How does the SDLC address cybersecurity?
  • Final thoughts

What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and what are the seven different phases?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a structured framework that outlines the processes and stages involved in developing high-quality software applications.

It provides a systematic approach to software development, ensuring that projects are well-planned, executed, and delivered according to requirements. The SDLC consists of several phases, each with specific objectives, deliverables, and activities.

While variations exist, the typical SDLC follows these seven stages:


  • In this initial stage, project goals, scope, requirements, budget, and timelines are defined.
  • The feasibility of the project is assessed, and a comprehensive plan is developed.

Requirements analysis 

  • Project stakeholders collaborate to define and document (SRS) the software requirements, including functional and non-functional aspects. 
  • Involves gathering user needs, analyzing business processes, and creating a detailed understanding of what the software should accomplish.


  • Focuses on creating the architecture and detailed design specifications for the software. 
  • Involves transforming the requirements into a technical blueprint, outlining the system’s structure, interfaces, and modules. 
  • Design may include components such as database schemas, user interface layouts, and software integration plans.

Implementation (coding)

  • Involves translating design specifications into actual code. 
  • Developers write the software code based on the design documents, following best practices, coding standards, and programming languages or frameworks. 
  • Testing and debugging activities also take place during this phase.


  • Ensures the software meets the specified requirements and functions as expected. 
  • Techniques include unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing. 
  • Used to detect defects, validate functionality, and assess software performance. 
  • Also includes verifying compliance with security requirements and identifying vulnerabilities.


  • Involves packaging the software, creating installation packages or deployment scripts, and transferring the software to the target environment. 
  • Deployment may also include activities such as configuring servers, installing databases, and ensuring compatibility with the intended operating systems or platforms.


  • Finally, the software undergoes periodic support, updates, and bug fixes. 
  • Maintenance can involve proactive measures like implementing enhancements, addressing user feedback, and ensuring security updates to mitigate vulnerabilities or emerging threats.

What are the benefits of the SDLC?

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) offers several benefits for organizations and development teams. Here are some key advantages:

  • Structured approach: the SDLC offers a systematic and organized software development process with clear phases, activities, and deliverables, enabling efficient resource management, deadline adherence, and project control.
  • Improved quality: by integrating quality assurance activities throughout the SDLC, organizations can focus on delivering high-quality software, reducing defects early on, and enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Clear requirements and expectations: the SDLC emphasizes gathering and documenting requirements which creates effective communication, minimizes misunderstandings, and provides a solid foundation for development.
  • Mitigated risks: the SDLC incorporates risk assessment and mitigation practices, identifying and addressing potential risks early to ensure a more secure and reliable software solution.
  • Cost and time efficiency: the SDLC enables effective project cost and time management through proper planning, estimation, and early issue resolution, minimizing rework and unexpected delays.
  • Enhanced collaboration: the SDLC promotes collaboration and coordination among stakeholders, establishing clear roles, responsibilities, and communication channels for a cohesive and productive work environment.
  • Scalability and flexibility: the SDLC framework can be customized to different project sizes, complexities, and methodologies, allowing organizations to adapt and align the process to specific needs and requirements.

What are some common SDLC methodologies?

SDLC methodologies define the overall approach, sequence of activities, and project management techniques used during the software development process. It’s worth noting that many organizations tailor and combine methodologies based on their specific project requirements, team structure, and industry standards.

Here are some of the most widely used SDLC methodologies:


The waterfall model follows a linear sequential flow, where each phase of the SDLC is completed before moving on to the next. It typically follows a distinct sequence of phases like requirements gathering, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

This methodology is well-suited for projects with stable and well-defined requirements, where changes are expected to be minimal.

V-Model (Validation and Verification Model)

This model extends the Waterfall approach by emphasizing testing at each stage. It aims to ensure that each development phase is validated and verified before progressing.


Agile methodologies, such as Scrum and Kanban, promote an iterative and incremental approach to development. They emphasize collaboration, adaptive planning, and rapid delivery.

Agile projects divide the development process into smaller iterations or sprints, allowing for flexibility, continuous feedback, and frequent software releases. Agile methodologies are well-suited for projects with evolving requirements and a need for quick iterations or customer involvement.


DevOps is an approach that integrates software development (Dev) and operations (Ops) to ensure seamless collaboration and continuous delivery.

It emphasizes automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and close collaboration between development, operations, and quality assurance teams. DevOps aims to shorten the development cycle, increase deployment frequency, and enhance overall software quality.


Lean methodology focuses on eliminating waste, streamlining processes, and maximizing value delivery. It emphasizes the efficient use of resources by reducing unnecessary steps and continuously improving workflows. Lean principles often complement other methodologies.


The spiral model combines elements of the waterfall model and iterative development. It follows a risk-driven approach, where the development progresses through iterations called spirals.

Each spiral involves a series of activities, including planning, risk analysis, development, and evaluation. The spiral model allows for early identification and mitigation of risks, making it suitable for complex and high-risk projects.

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

RAD methodology focuses on quickly developing and delivering software through rapid prototyping and iterative development. It involves close collaboration between developers and end-users. RAD is commonly used for time-sensitive projects and those requiring frequent user involvement.


The incremental model divides the development process into small increments or modules, with each increment adding new functionality to the software. Incremental development allows for progressive delivery and early user feedback.


This approach involves repeating development cycles, with each iteration building upon the previous one. It’s useful when the project scope is large or complex.

Which SDLC model is best?

The choice of the SDLC model depends on various factors, including project requirements, team capabilities, timeline, and the organization’s specific needs. Each SDLC model has its own strengths and weaknesses, and what works best for one project may not be ideal for another.

Before selecting an SDLC model, it’s important to assess the: 

  • The project’s unique characteristics.
  • Your team’s skills and experience. 
  • Your organization’s goals and priorities.

In practice, many organizations adopt a hybrid approach, combining elements from different models to create a tailored methodology. Regular evaluation and adaptation of the SDLC model based on project feedback can further improve the development process over time.

Final thoughts

Overall, the SDLC provides organizations with a powerful framework for delivering high-quality software solutions while effectively managing risks, controlling costs, and ensuring stakeholder satisfaction.

By adopting a proactive and systematic approach to security and incorporating these concerns early in the development process, organizations can avoid costly security issues and achieve stronger overall software security. 

As security concerns evolve, so do the needs of the software development process. 

SDLC is an inherently iterative methodology. It focuses on continuous improvement and adaptation rather than a linear process.

Organizations that wish to enhance their security posture and stay ahead in today’s ever-evolving threat landscape should embrace the SDLC approach wholeheartedly. 

To learn more about the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the benefits it can bring to your business, reach out to a member of our team.