A Complete Guide on Software Development Process

Building a software solution without making a proper plan is like choosing failure for your own product. If you don’t define a well-planned process, then there are high chances that you:

  • Overspend on your software development project
  • Are unable to leverage your resources properly
  • Will face a delay in the delivery and launch of your software solution

Therefore, a defined software development process is the key to the success of software. Statista has also reported that the global revenue of software is expected to reach USD 424 billion by 2025. Below is a screenshot that shows worldwide revenue of software market from 2017 to 2025.

So, if you are thinking of building software, then this is the right time. Having developed 300+ software solutions and being a top software development service provider, we know what is actual process of developing software is.

Through this guide in 10 minutes, you will learn:

  • The step-by-step software development process
  • Benefits of defining a process for building software
  • Top software development methodologies

Software Development Process: Step-by-step Procedure

Let’s take a closer look and discuss all the software development process steps that help you develop software solutions within the estimated timeline and budget.

  1. Business Requirement Analysis & Planning

  2. This is the first stepping stone that the software development team takes in order to set the requirements for the project. The team will coordinate with you to know your business needs and help you validate your idea.

    In this stage, you will know whether there is a potential market for your idea or not. Also, the demands need to align with your business objectives. Here is how you can check for the feasibility of your idea and plan further phases ahead.

    • Identify your target audience based on their demographics, such as age, gender, occupation, and location
    • Now look for the challenges that are faced by the target audience and if their solutions are available on the market or not
    • Make a plan and design a road map of how you have planned to address the pain points of the potential customers
  3. Wireframing and Prototyping

  4. Once the team gather the project requirements, the business analyst starts to work on the project. Mainly, they are responsible for creating the wireframes and prototypes to give you a rough idea of how your project will look like.

    Apart from this, a business analyst is responsible for the following:

    • Creating a document that records all the requirements that are specified initially
    • Writing the software requirement specifications to show the software will function
    • Backlog refinement, where a BA will help the team to make project estimates
    • Defining the tasks which should be addressed first in the software development process
  5. Designing of Software

  6. Once you approve the wireframe designed by the BA team, the UX/UI design team takes over the software development process. The design process starts when the team considers your requirements for the design elements and creates the information infrastructure.

    The designers aim to forward a clear and transparent system so that the developers further can start writing codes for the product functionality. The UX/UI team provides a detailed look at the visual attributes of the design and helps the team focus on the usability of the software.

    At last, the team will send you the UI design for approval. Upon your approval, the software development team will take on the project.

  7. Development of Software

  8. In this phase, the software developers start to write code for all the designs, software architecture, and product functionality. Then, with the help of the latest tech stack, the developers work on the front-end and back-end of the project and accommodate the evolving market needs.

    However, if you are not sure what functionality to include in your software, then building an MVP version is the preferable choice. Moreover, you can learn about MVP in software development from this post.

    The team ensures that they are following coding guidelines and best practices to ensure that you get a safe, reliable, maintainable, high-quality software solution. The developers will be responsible for releasing regular builds so that you keep of the progress and make necessary changes if required.

    Moreover, the development team will also set up the infrastructure and document how the software solution will work. Once the software is developed, it will be forwarded to the QA team to find and remove bugs.

  9. Testing of Software

  10. The QA team will start to test your software product. Firstly, they will test the back end and front end separately. Once it is done, the team will test the software functionality as a whole.

    Quality Control

    • Testing documentation will be prepared
    • A testing plan for each user story is included
    • Checklists are prepared to test software tasks

    Software Testing

    • QA team performs manual and automated tests
    • Identify bugs, system glitches, or defects
    • The manual test helps in handling complex
    • The automated test helps in save time with greater test coverage

    A QA Team is Responsible to Perform

    • Regression Testing
    • Usability Testing
    • Accessibility Testing
    • Performance Testing
    • Functional Testing
    • Content Testing
    • Compatibility Testing
    • Responsive Testing
    • Link Checking
    • Load or stress Testing
    • Security Testing
    • W3C Validation

    After making the software 100% bug-free, the software is ready to be deployed.

  11. Deployment

  12. This is one of the most crucial stages of the software development process, where the team is responsible for deploying the software that meets all specific requirements.

    At this stage, the team also creates release notes which are technical documents that carry some critical information about the software. With this, you get information on technological advancements or fixing bug issues and use it for internal purposes.

  13. Maintenance of Your Software

  14. Your or the team’s responsibilities don’t end with the launch of the software solution. Just like any other software requiring constant maintenance, your software would require the same.

    You need to maintain the software to remove the bugs and stay competitive in the market by integrating essential features that are the ever-growing needs of the target audience.

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You get to know all the steps that define the software development process. Now, it is essential that you understand how having a streamlined process can help you in various ways.

Curious to know? Find out in the next section.

Why is Software Development Process Important?

Without a full-proof process, it is not possible to carry out a successful project. Therefore, defining the standard process in software development is also necessary. Here is how defining the process will add significant value to your project.

  • Planning and designing the process properly will help you develop and deploy the software solution faster in the market by shortening the turnaround time.
  • The process will lead you to follow synchronous steps that will streamline the development phase, from ideation to deployment, without inconsistencies.
  • You get high-quality software if you have planned to follow a streamlined process, as there will be no room for bugs and defects.
  • With proper planning, you get complete control over the project to utilize the resources efficiently and track development progress.

Having a clear and transparent process is never a bad idea. Instead, it enhances the quality of software with a streamlined process.

Now, we will discuss the top differences between the software development process and the software development lifecycle so that you don’t consider both the same.

Difference Between Software Development Life Cycle and Software Development Process

If you are also one of those who consider that the software development process and the software development lifecycle are the same, then you are highly mistaken.

To debunk this myth, we have penned this section with essential factors that contradict these 2 terminologies. Have a look at the below table.

FactSoftware Development ProcessSoftware Development Life Cycle
DefinitionIn the software development process, you define certain actions which are performed to bring your idea to life.SDLC helps you define all the phases which are essential in software development.
PhasesThe phases in the software development process will vary from project to project. That means you can include or exclude some phases according to requirements.Even though the process may be the same, the sequence of SDLC could vary according to the software development model.
Fundamental Processes

There are 4 fundamental processes in the software development process:

  • Software specification
  • Software development
  • Software validation
  • Software evaluation

Here are the phases that are part of the software development life cycle:

  • Requirement gathering and analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance
TimeframesA linear process is followed where all the phases take a predetermined time to complete a project.All the phases are completed in a certain time. However, time will vary for each phase in SDLC.
FocusThe software development process focuses on the business requirements and objectives of the project.The main focus of SDLC is the technical aspect of software development.

If you are worried about choosing the right development methodology for your project, then have a look at the next section and find the best fit for your project.

Top Software Development Methods to Follow

We know that every software development process differs because of the distinct project requirements. Hence, you must know different types of software development methods to choose one that perfectly fits your requirements.

  1. Agile Method

  2. Agile is one of the most used software development methodologies because it is highly dynamic and iterative, so you get an errorless software product in the end.

    Here is the pie chart report shared by GoodFirms, where you can see the agile software development method has topped the chart with 61.5%.


    Source: GoodFirms

    The best part of agile methodology is that even if you don’t have a complete list of requirements at the beginning of the project, you may find out as you go along.

    Look at the below to see how agile methodology works.

    agile process lifecycle

    Who Shall Use Agile Methodology?

    Even though agile is popular, you should only use this methodology when the software development process, budget, and timeline are flexible. Also, if your project has frequent updates, then this model is highly recommended for you.

    Pros and Cons of Agile Methodology

    • You have the flexibility to change and update your software development requirements.
    • You can develop software faster and deploy it in the market in the lesser time.
    • Poor resource planning at the beginning if you are not sure of the requirements.
    • There is no finite end, so it is difficult to predict how the end product will look.
  3. Waterfall Method

  4. In the waterfall model, it is a must that you complete one stage to jump into the next stage because the result of the previous phase is the input for the next development phase. This is the reason it is also known as the linear-sequential life cycle model, where there is no chance of overlapping in stages.

    Have a look at the below image to understand how the waterfall model works.

    waterfall software development

    Who Shall Use Waterfall Methodology?

    One who knows and has fixed requirements from the beginning and wants to build software within the estimated timeline should use the waterfall methodology.

    Pros and Cons of Waterfall Methodology

    • Compared to other methodologies, it has the clearest and most defined set of steps, making the development process easy.
    • It is a linear-sequential life cycle model. Hence, the transformation of information is easy.
    • You can determine the end goal early.
    • It is challenging to make changes or revisions in the process.
    • Testing the software is not possible until it is completely developed.
  5. Iterative Method

  6. This model is all about developing different versions of software with the required features and functionalities from time to time. In short, with each release of the version, you try to enhance the features, user experience, and performance of the software by implementing customer feedback.

    Check the following image to see how you can develop different software versions from time to time.

    Who Shall Use Iterative Methodology?

    As it gives you the flexibility to change or update the requirements of the software, you can go for this iterative model. Also, if you have complex needs that require heavy planning and architecture-building beforehand, then it is ideal for you.

    Pros and Cons of Iterative Methodology

    • It is easy to identify the challenges early on so that you deal with them in the initial stages.
    • You spend less time documenting and more on designing the structure of the project.
    • You get an operational product with every iteration.
    • You might need to spend more expenditure on resources as you are unsure which change it requires.
    • It is challenging to predict the deadline as changes are constant.
  7. Incremental Method

  8. In the incremental model, the software development processes are divided into multiple standalone modules, which consist of requirements, design, implementation, and testing phases. So each release of the module works as a function for the previous release, and it will continue until you achieve a complete system.

    Check how the incremental development model works through the below image.

    Who Shall Use Incremental Methodology?

    If you have a lot of flexibility in your project and want to know the user’s perspective on the product’s core feature, then use the incremental model for your software project. However, if you have a rigid technology plan, then you should avoid using the incremental methodology.

    Pros and Cons of Incremental Methodology

    • The software is quickly generated during the software development lifecycle.
    • You get enough flexibility to change the requirements and scope of software projects.
    • This software development methodology framework is less costly compared to other methods.
    • The iteration phases are rigid and don’t overlap with each other.
    • You need good planning to design the software. Otherwise, it may increase complications.
  9. Spiral Method

  10. The spiral model combines iterative and waterfall methods in software engineering to develop large and high-risk projects. In this model, you iteratively enhance the features until the end of the project, and it works in a linear and sequential approach.

    Look at the below image to see how the spiral software development process works.

    Spiral Model in Software Development

    Who Shall Use Spiral Methodology?

    The spiral methodology works best for people with large and complex projects where there is no room for mistakes. However, as this is a time-consuming model, you need to be patient when it comes to the estimated timeline and also have a high budget to choose this model.

    Pros and Cons of Spiral Methodology

    • It is best for handling the project’s risk effectively. As it is a transparent process, it helps you to identify and avoid attacks.
    • It offers you the flexibility to update the build as per your project requirements.
    • It is a time-consuming model. Hence, you need to spend more time and software development costs.
    • This is not for simple and straightforward projects.

Want to know how much it costs to build a software solution or more answers based on the software development process? Check the next FAQ section, where we have addressed 3 questions based on this topic. Have a look at them one by one.

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FAQ About Software Development Process

  1. What are some of the best software development strategies?

    Here are the 5 strategies that you can implement in the development process to build a software solution within the estimated budget and timeline.

    1. Define your software project requirements clearly to the development team
    2. Follow the agile system development methodology for a quicker process
    3. Prioritize your requirements but always focus on the end goal of the project
    4. Outsource your needs to a reliable software development company like Space-O
    5. Embrace the DevOps culture that enhances the communication and collaboration between the teams and project managers
  2. What are the best practices for developing software?

    The following are the top 5 software development best practices that you can consider for your project.

    1. Use the right software development process models
    2. Keep your code simple so that it is easy to update or modify the software in future
    3. Keep documenting your progress on the software project
    4. Conduct regular meetings with the team and keep them on the same page
    5. Test your software before deploying it to the live environment
  3. How much does it cost to create software?

    Building a software solution would cost you $10,000 – $1,50,000.

    However, this cost range completely depends on several factors, which may increase or decrease the software development cost. The factors which influence the cost range are the features and functionalities of the software, the UX/UI design, the usage of the third-party APIs, the complexity of the software developed, and the location of the software developers.

Develop Your Software With the Right Process

Now that you know the right software development process, it will be easy for you to proceed with your project. However, you ensure that you are choosing a suitable software development methodology based on its characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

In case you need any guidance in selecting the ideal methodology and tech stacks or defining

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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