What is SDLC? Software Development Lifecycle Best Practices

Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC is a methodology for developing software with rapidly changing requirements. Best practices and CDLC phases that should know any software developer.

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

SDLC Definition

It is a Software Development Life Cycle process that helps to develop software with low cost and high quality in short terms. SDLC has a clear plan of how to develop, release, support and retire software applications. This process has several phases like planning, estimation, design, test, and release. There are a couple of SDLC models Agile, spiral, waterfall, etc.

How it works

It works by reducing the cost of development reducing time for development and constantly improving quality. Following proven plan help to avoid typical pitfalls to software development. First of all, we should evaluate the system. Next step – identify software requirements. And moving to the next stages design, development, testing and deployment to production.

Projects without good planning and SDLC processes usually have issues in design and architecture. To identify these issues could be used as an architecture assessment approach. To fix finding problems in design and architecture refactoring is mandatory. Make sense to avoid this situation and save money following best practices from the beginning.

SDLC Best Practices

You should follow best practices for all SDLC stages and ensure the process works productively and efficiently. There are 7 main stages.

Problem identification

First of all, you need to get input from stakeholders and understand what is good and what is bad. You should work with different experts like product owner, subject matter expert, product champion, technical leader, DevOps, etc. This approach allows you to see the whole picture from different angles.


This stage you should understand what clients want and define clear requirements for new software. Next item, understand how much resources do you need and what will be the cost of a product. Risk should be identified and described. Software Requirement Specification (SRS) documentation should be created.


Working with SRS should be done software and architecture design. Non-functional requirements affect your design even more than SRS. You should validate this stage with technical stakeholders. A mistake in this phase could cost you a lot.


Based on SRS and design documentation you should implement the real product. This stage is coding. The technical leader or architect still should pay attention and check is product coding according to documentation.


At this stage, the product should be tested and finding issues should be fixed. The product should meet the original requirements.


Prepare the production environment and deploy your product. The production environment should have environment monitoring tools, logging, and performance monitoring metrics on a place.


This stage product should be updated in production and supported. Prepare deployment strategy. Plan new releases and bug fixing strategies.

Real Project SDLC Guide

Based on real experience with number projects for small and big enterprise clients you can find below SDLC guide. You can find eight main phases for software development. Each phase has shot descriptions and action items for responsible actors.

This flow is based on agile methodology and could be used for projects with unclear or rapidly changed requirements. It could be scaled for multiple teams and transformed into an approach known as a scram of scram.

Feature Product Vision

Process, prioritize, backlog and visualize either stakeholder’s feature requests or build own feature vision/solution based on market/competitors research results or some feedback from focus groups, clients, etc. Next, the product owner will prepare product visions during the sprint run while the development team will work on sprint scope. Optional step, the product owner would challenge the feature/solution vision with other stakeholders if required. After that, the product owner will put features either in (‘release’) roadmap or postpone it to the next release. One more optional step, add KPIs for feature effectiveness measurements.

Release Estimation

Purpose: Understand whether the scope for implementation is feasible within the defined timelines or not

The product owner will prepare the backlog items for release planning (one time planning for each release). The engineering team will estimate the whole release on a high level. Update the release scope and roadmap based on estimation results.

Backlog Refinement

The product owner (PO) will hold a regular Backlog Refinement meeting. PO will update the agenda for every Backlog Refinement meeting and present the prioritized backlog items to the engineering team. The engineering team provides preliminary estimates for the refined user stories. The product owner and engineering team will agree on a preliminary sprint scope. The product owner will re-define the release-critical path and dependencies.

Solution design sessions for sprint scope

Discuss and specify the technical solution for the refined user stories. Address open questions to the product owner.

Sprint Planning

The product owner will launch the new one in Jira. The engineering team will re-estimate the previously refined stories based on tech solutions. The standard duration for sprint planning is 1 hour. The team will define the scope of the next sprint at this meeting. Stories will be taken in development in case they meet the definition of done requirements.

As SDLC is the continuous process, the product owner will re-estimate the release scope. The product owner will update the product roadmap based on planning results. The team will create sub-tasks for every story and estimate them in hours.The team will estimate all stories in story points using Planning Poker tool: Planning Poker

Sprint Monitoring and Control

The team will do the daily stand-ups to sync about possible blockers, dependencies or discuss the progress (speed up or delay). Hold on-demand tech meetings with PM, PO, and Architect or technical lead.

The product owner will backlog the possible changes. PM and PO will both monitor progress on the task’s development on Jira board. PM and/or designer may verify the implementation results during the sprint as well as every story or task will pass the developer’s code review.

Sprint Demo

Stories for the demo will meet the definition of done requirements. PM will send the agenda for Demo by email in advance (PO may support PM on this action item). The demo will be recorded by meeting host and demo links will be shared with stakeholders via email. The product owner will backlog feedback from stakeholders for later processing. The product owner will close the active sprint. The project Manager will generate a report on the sprint’s end and send it to stakeholders.

Sprint Retrospective

PM will hold a regular Sprint Retrospective meeting, updates retro summary notes and track that action items from the previous completed session.

Advantages of SDLC

This approach gives a high level of documentation and management control. Developers have a clear vision of what to do and why. All stakeholders have clear goals and agreements in advance. Everyone has a vision about resources, mail stones and costs at least for one release.

To be successful, you should understand the customers’ needs. All users and stakeholders should have a clear understanding of system requirements. You will get advantages of SDLC if have a clear plan and follow it fairly.

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