What is the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)?

1. Introduction to Software Development Life Cycle Documentation

IT Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is used in project management to develop (or modify existing) information systems or applications.

Regardless of whether you are looking for information on the SDLC process itself, SDLC documentation, SDLC documents / SDLC forms / SDLC templates, if you can spare 30-60 minutes (depending on how in-depth you wish to pursue the subject), this SDLC tutorial will provide you an invaluable overview of the following topics that hopefully will satisfy your needs:

SDLC Phases
SDLC Framework
SDLC Documentation Methodology
SDLC Documentation Process
SDLC Documentation Templates / SDLC Documentation Forms
SDLC Models
The SDLC process provides Information Technology (IT) project managers with the tools to help ensure successful implementation of systems or applications that satisfy strategic and business objectives. SDLC documentation provides a mechanism to ensure that executive leadership, functional managers, and users sign-off on the requirements and implementation of the system. The process provides management with the capability to design, develop, and implement your intended system and ensure that its completed on time delivery and within budget.

The software development life cycle process includes multiple phases from the project viability determined in the Concept / Initiation Phase through the Project Closure / Maintenance Phase of the completed system or application.

SDLC Frameworks

Many corporations and government agencies have implemented systems development life cycle (SDLC) frameworks that include methods, processes, workflow, documentation, and tools. These SDLC Frameworks help the organization reduce risks and ensure program and project investments are realized within their budget, scope, time and quality constraints.

Project managers have been taught that there are always two lifecycles at play on any project; these are Project and Product-oriented lifecycles. While project lifecycles facilitates management of the project, product lifecycles guide the design, development, testing, deployment and sustainment of the "deliverables" of the project.

Most Information Technology (IT) project managers are familiar with the term Software Development Life Cycle, which shares the SDLC acronym. A software development life cycle is a product-oriented life cycle that is appropriate when the primary deliverable is software.

However, the term systems development life cycle can be applied more universally, not only across projects where software is the primary deliverable, but other types of IT solutions that involve hardware, network, and storage components, or even business or mechanical systems - where software may only be a small part of the overall solution.

An effective Corporate SDLC will also include defined lifecycles and methods, tools and templates for project management. To be effective, project managers still need to understand how to integrate project, product, and systems development lifecycles to ensure a successful project.

SDLC Concepts and Approaches

From one organization to another, or even project to project, there will be different needs and influencers promoting one development approach over another. Methods and tools among developers can be an emotional subject. That is not a problem, as there is room for multiple adaptions within the SDLC Framework provided in this course. Nevertheless, the concepts and approaches provided in this course are sufficient that they can also be applied without further enhancements.

That is not to imply that tailoring a project is not required. All projects are unique by definition, and two of the most important roles a project manager has during project planning are project integration and tailoring - to ensure the right set of work is planned and executed to achieve the authorized scope of work within the specified constraints of the project (e.g. scope, budget, resources, schedule, quality).

With this in mind, the best SDLC approach for any given project has to be based on the project's constraints, the specific method preferences of the development team, the risk tolerance of executive management, and - perhaps most importantly - access to customers and end-users.

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