Full System Development Life Cycle Meaning + SDLC Models Explained

Full System Development Life Cycle Meaning + SDLC Models Explained
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There’s no doubt that the system development process can be a bit of a hassle sometimes. That’s why over the years, there have been many techniques, models, and approaches to help managers and analysts design, develop, and test systems easily and faster.

One of the most popular tools is the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) which can allow you to get the most out of your resources. But, how does it work? Let’s see.

What is the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

SDLC is a systematic procedure for making the best software possible in the least amount of time and money. The purpose of SDLC is to create top-notch code that completely satisfies the needs of the client. Every step of the SDLC has its distinct process and set of outcomes. By sticking to the SDLC, you may boost your development time, reduce your project's risk, and save money.

7 Steps of SDLC Development

The software development life cycle (SDLC) is a framework for organizing the many steps involved in creating a program. There are several steps in the development process, during which developers add functionality and work out any issues.

Teams have their unique approaches to software development life cycle processes. But, there are some fundamental steps that are vital in every application. We've listed them here:


Everything that has to do with managing a project or a product falls under the planning phase. The allocation of resources, the estimate of costs, the scheduling of projects, and the procurement of necessary materials are all examples of this.

The project's stakeholders, including consumers, salespeople, in-house subject matter experts, and outside developers, all provide input throughout the planning phase. Based on this information, a comprehensive set of guidelines is established for developing the required system. Besides estimating how much it would cost to complete the project, the team also figures out what materials will be needed to do so.

At this point, the team also establishes not just what is NOT wanted in the program, but also what is. Plans, budgets, timelines, and the company's technology and tech stack are all considered in this phase.


The next step in the SDLC process is to conduct an analysis and record system requirements. Everything from initial concept sketches to final project plans is included here.

In the analysis phase, the team ensures that the system is fully functioning, meets the needs of all users, and cannot be copied. The team will go forward with software deployment if and only if it satisfies these criteria.


The system development life cycle design phase is crucial because it sets the stage for growth. It's commonly confused with the real software and hardware development process, but it’s a separate vital process that happens before development.

This phase of the system development life cycle may cut down on how long it takes to create the software by a large margin. This is the stage for analyzing databases, UI, usability, and network requirements.

These elements often help in finalizing the SRS document and developing the software's initial model so that stakeholders may have a feel for the final product.

Now that prototyping technologies have advanced to include AI and automation elements, this phase may be completed much more quickly. They can help you rapidly produce several low-fidelity, early-stage prototypes for testing. The use of AI monitoring techniques guarantees that industry standards are always met.

Development / Coding

In the development phase, programmers create code and build the software based on the plans and requirements.

The source code is developed according to the requirements outlined in the design document. In principle, with everything planned out and specified, the development process should go well.

Programmers will use a variety of tools like compilers and adhere to any coding standards established by the company.

Common coding languages are C++ and PHP, although there are many more to choose from. Based on the needs and parameters of the project, programmers will pick the most appropriate programming language.


The next step is for quality analysts to check the program for flaws and defects. Then, they need to compare the features to the demands of the product's target audience.

For SDLC, testers may choose from a wide variety of approaches, including testing the system, performance, and app security. During the testing phase, the QA team does the following:

  • Planning: All testing methods are established at the STLC's preliminary planning stage. They determine what should be tested, how testing should be performed, and who should do the testing.
  • Testing: The goal of testing is to identify and address technical faults in the codebase and to evaluate the general usability and efficiency of the system. Developers in charge of testing do this alongside development or during a separate testing phase.
  • Reporting: Testing records and test completion reports are compiled and sent to those who have an interest in the outcome. At the end of each development cycle, the team gets together for a meeting to discuss and record any problems that arise.

All software development processes follow these phases of SDLC testing, but the time dedicated to each may vary depending on factors including project scope and project needs.


The deployment step begins after all defects and problems have been fixed. Project implementation begins at this stage of programming because it helps in the distribution of the completed product. 

The tech support staff can deploy the whole project so you can show it off to potential consumers and get it out into the world. You may talk to customers and take advice from site visitors. Some parts of the system can be updated during deployment.

It is not uncommon for the deployment phase to be done in stages. In order to evaluate the product in a realistic commercial setting, the developer may first release a stripped-down version of the product. Then, you can use that information together with other client input to make changes to the app as needed.


If you're using an established approach like the waterfall model, the final stage is maintenance. While maintenance has traditionally been viewed as an end in itself, the software development sector is shifting towards a more agile methodology. 

Users may discover errors and defects in the system that were not discovered during testing. To improve UI, these issues must be resolved. These may even need to start the software development process again from scratch. 

If there are things you'd want to see in the future, you may always restart the SDLC stages to accommodate them.

Popular SDLC Models

To make system implementation easier, businesses can look to SDLC models, which present the SDLC process conceptually in a logical order. When it comes to optimizing the SDLC, different models rearrange the stages in different orders. We’ve outlined some of the most popular ones here:


Of all SDLC approaches, the waterfall model has been around the longest. The development process is linear and uniform, with each stage being completed before going on to the next.

Each phase of the project has its own strategy but builds on previous ones so you can avoid similar problems in the future. However, it is prone to delays in the beginning, which might cause significant issues for the project in the next phases.

When applied to system development, the waterfall method creates structure and guarantees results in every stage. After this stage is completed, it's not easy to change things because doing so would hurt the project timeline, budget, and quality. As a result, this paradigm works well for simpler projects with manageable tasks and well-defined criteria.


There is no "incremental SDLC model" to speak of. Simply put, it's a cascade of recursive cycles. At the beginning of any project, the requirements are broken down into manageable chunks. Every team uses the SDLC method to create their applications. 

At every iteration of the SDLC life cycle, more features are added to the product until all requirements have been met. In this approach, each iteration serves as the update phase for the previous version of the software. With some tweaks to the iterative model, it's possible for development cycles to run concurrently. 

Because needs may shift between iterations, threats are simple to spot and control. However, too many iterations may disrupt your focus and trick you into underestimating the resources.


With the system development life cycle agile model, teamwork is valued above all else, and incremental changes are made based on consistent feedback. The Agile model can adapt to changing needs as they come in throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC). It’s also one of the main SDLC models that allows developers to incorporate embedded development in their overall process. Sometimes, programmers may use a model that combines elements of both the Agile and Waterfall approaches.

Teams using agile cycles are better able to spot and correct problems in complicated projects before they get out of hand. Throughout the project's lifespan, they may also collect feedback from users and other stakeholders. On the other hand, if you listen to your customers too closely, they may demand drastic changes or even cancel the project altogether.

Big Bang

Big Bang is the quickest and least time-consuming SDLC model since it has no predetermined procedures and can be implemented with no preparation. To create a product that meets the needs of its target audience, this model creates the time, energy, and materials needed to do so. However, there is always a chance that the final result will be unsatisfactory.

Big Bang models usually work best with smaller system development projects where you don't need that many experts on the job. Novice developers may hone their craft and earn valuable experience using this method. The Big Bang approach also saves money since it doesn't need a lot of labor or supplies.


There are a lot of similarities between iterative development and the system development life cycle spiral model. Spiral development, in contrast, starts with nothing and iteratively builds new systems, instead of incrementally improving the current system. It's basically a step-by-step approach to create and improve the system.

To achieve continuous improvement, you need to repeat several steps over and over again until the desired outcome is reached. For the most part, complex systems are developed using spiral models. They are also effective when handling difficult issues.


The V-model is a subset of the Waterfall model for SDLC that focuses on ensuring the quality of the final product through rigorous testing. In addition, the V-model features a testing phase for each iteration of the development process. In a V-model, you may go on to the next phase only if you've finished the one before it.

If you have access to a highly skilled technical team and substantial resources, the V-model is the way to go. By running tests in parallel, we can catch and fix any problems. 

Benefits of SDLC

The software development life cycle (SDLC) is essential for creating any system since it allows you to test the project at each stage. The SDLC process is like a jigsaw puzzle; it can't be finished until all of the pieces are in their right places.

Here are just some of the benefits that you can gain by using the right SDLC model in your project:

  • The development life cycle serves as a guide for the basic phases and outcomes of every project;
  • It provides a complete view of the development cycle (including planning, cost estimation, etc.);
  • It increases productivity while lowering development-related risks.
  • It promotes solid interactions with customers and creates more clarity between businesses.


Is it possible to simplify or eliminate some stages in the SDLC?

There are seven primary phases in a comprehensive SDLC, including planning, analysis, maintenance, and others. It is possible to skip, divide, or integrate several steps based on the specifics of the project, the team, the manager, and so on.

What is the most important phase of the SDLC?

The planning phase is the most important. Without knowing what the client wants, the project team cannot deliver an acceptable product.

How important is it to consult an expert when deciding on the phases?

You risk the whole project if you skip steps or move too quickly without an expert opinion. The stage of analysis is vital. It's also the one many developers choose to ignore. It's possible you could get away with it, but doing so would be quite risky and may end up costing you both time and money.

Which SDLC model is the most popular?

Each SDLC model has its own merits, but the software development industry is shifting more towards the Agile approach.