Complete explanation of the SDLC and its 5 stages

The software development life cycle (SDLC) makes the development process rapid. Many companies know about the famous SDLC models, such as Spiral, Agile, Waterfall, and V. However, they fail to understand the importance of following the SDLC stages. As a result, they face constant failure in their product development process, or the outcomes don’t meet the expectations.

So, in this article, you will learn about what is SDLC, its meaning and its importance in the world of software development. You will also explore the 5 essential stages of the software development life cycle. We will also let you carefully review SDLC’s pros and cons so you have a balanced understanding before its implementation.

What is the SDLC?

SDLC is a structured and systematic approach in software engineering to organize the development process of digital products and software solutions. The entire process consists of 5 essential stages to ensure next-level software development. During the SDLC life cycle, developers ensure at each stage that the software meets all the predefined requirements and add functionalities to create high-quality programs.

Software Development Life Cycle

In the software development process, SDLC plays a vital role from beginning to end. Moreover, this process also involves different methodologies, such as Agile, Waterfall, and more, depending on project objectives and requirements. 

5 Stages of SDLC

The software development life cycle includes 5 stages that help throughout the development process. These stages allow development teams to ensure the software is high quality and efficient, meeting the particular requirements of your clients.Software Development Life Cycle

So, let’s explore all the stages!

Identifying problems and planning

The first stage is based on two important factors – finding current problems and planning to overcome them. This means you need to gather information about issues from the stakeholders. This also includes talking to your sales team, customers, developers, and industry experts. The aim is to figure out what is good and bad about the current system so you can bring improvements.

Once you know the issues, it is time to decide what you really want to achieve through the software. You determine the time, money, and actions required to improve your identified problems. You also consider making plans to deal with unexpected issues. All this ensures your software project is doable and the outcomes will be successful with fewer problems. 

Making a design guide

Imagine you are building a software solution. To create it, you require a clear plan of how it should function and look. This is called ‘Design Specification’ in the world of software development. It serves as an instruction manual for everybody on the team. This stage is about taking all the information you gathered in the previous stage and turning it into a step-by-step software development guide.
People involved, such as customers and developers, overview the guide and recommend necessary changes. It is like a group of engineers analyzing a SaaS product and saying, “Maybe we should simplify the chat function.” It is a super essential stage of the software development life cycle. Any failure will result in either cost overruns or total project shutdown. 

Development with best coding practices

This is where the system development life cycle begins, using clean code as much as possible. Every software engineer must stick to the plan and blueprint decided in the earlier stages. Also, follow the guidelines properly and use the best coding practices. For example, each file name must be written in a specific style so everything looks organized and neat. Following these rules makes it easier to comprehend what the entire team is working on.

Also Read: How to Write Clean Code? 6 Brief Guide on Rules and Principles


Testing plays a crucial role in the software development life cycle. It is like you followed the correct recipe (plan and guide stages) to bake (development stage) a pie (software). Now, you want to make sure that the pie is delicious before serving it to your guests (customers), so you take a bite. That bite is testing to ensure you have baked a yummy pie.

In the testing stage, you look for deficiencies and flaws in your software. You fix those problems until the solution meets the original requirements. The development team uses automation and manual testing to analyze bugs in the software. Also, the testing phase should run side-by-side with the development stage. 

Deployment and maintenance

At this stage, you aim to deploy the software into the production environment so users can interact with it. But it also depends on your organization’s decision. Many companies opt to move the software through various deployment environments, such as staging or testing. This permits stakeholders to overcome costly mistakes before releasing the software in the market.

However, it is also true that the product may miss some important functionalities, so you keep room for corrections through maintenance. This helps advance the solution to match the latest trends. 

Benefits of SDLC

The software life cycle, provides a myriad of advantages and benefits to the overall development and refinement of the final product.

Software Development Life Cycle

Here are the 5 important benefits of SDLC:

Well-organized development process

When you follow a structured software development life cycle, it offers an organized framework for development. It segments the entire development process into different stages, allowing you to track progress hassle-free.

Enhanced quality assurance

Since the stages are predefined, you can easily test and validate the process at every phase. It helps in determining and correcting issues quickly in the development cycle. All the quality assurance practices help you achieve high-quality software solutions with fewer defects and bugs.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why You Need a Software Quality Assurance Tester in a Development Team

Improved collaboration

The software development life cycle enables effective collaboration and communication among the stakeholders, development teams, and other departments involved in the process. Each stage has well-defined responsibilities, ensuring everyone stays on the same page. Moreover, SDLC also involves regular meetings and transparent documentation for better coordination, increasing the chances of successful outcomes. 

Better resource management

The software development lifecycle helps planning and efficient use of resources like time, budget, and human capital. You can estimate the required resources at each stage and prepare your steps accordingly to avoid underutilization or overutilization of resources, allowing you to experience cost-effectiveness.

Adaptation and flexibility

Software development life cycle frameworks like Agile allow you to amend the solution to ensure the product is always updated. SDLC permits iterative and incremental development based on users’ and stakeholders’ feedback. This allows your software to respond to changes rapidly and ensures your product meets contemporary user expectations and needs.

Also Read: The Difference between Iterative and Incremental Development: How to Apply These Models

Pros and cons of SDLC

Like any other methodological approach, SDLC has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. By understanding its potential advantage and drawbacks, surely it will benefit for software developers, project teams, and organizations as a whole.

 Software Development Life Cycle

Below are the important pros and cons of the software development life cycle that you must know.

Pros of SDLC

  • Cost-efficiency
  • Better planning
  • Organized documentation
  • Early risk assessment and mitigation
  • More satisfied customers

Cons of SDLC

  • It can be time-consuming for large projects
  • Inadequate planning may lead to high upfront costs
  • A traditional SDLC model may be rigid and opposed to change


The software development life cycle allows you to build successful software products systematically. The process revolves around five main stages to ensure the offered product solves users’ problems and is of top-notch quality. SDLC helps you savor improved planning, reduced development risks, cost-efficiency, and more satisfied users.

At Slash, we are committed to building high-quality software solutions using the software development life cycle standards. Our brilliant software developers are adept at every SDLC stage, ensuring your idea transforms into efficient and scalable software. Contact us to initiate product development using industry best practices.

FAQs – software development life cycle

What is the software development life cycle? The software development life cycle is a systematic approach to building software solutions.

What is a secure software development life cycle? A secure SDLC ensures adding all the activities related to security testing at each development stage – from planning to deployment. 

How many phases are there in the secure software development life cycle? There are five secure SDLC phases: problem analysis and planning, designing, development, testing, and deployment.

Can you explain the software development life cycle and how testing fits in? In SDLC, testing is incorporated into five phases to ensure the software’s functionality and quality at each development stage.

Byron Matthiopoulos
Byron Matthiopoulos
Managing Director
Byron Matthiopoulos joined as a Product Owner in 2018, shortly after moving to Cambodia, to help lead one of the biggest projects of the start-up at the time. His background as medical researcher, journalist & advertising photographer and diverse skills have provided a solid foundation for the complexities of the field of product building. His ability to assimilate multiple sources of data into a coherent vision allowed him to successfully run a number of exciting projects over the years. The diversity and complexity of his tasks since he joined Slash had perfectly positioned him to take over the role of Head of Product. He is now leading the ideation, design and creation of new and exciting products through user-centric digital innovation.
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