The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

The Software Design Life Cycle (SDLC) is an important process for a tester to know. It’s similar to a subcontractor needing to know the status of the project so they know when and where they will be needed.

How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top. - Yvon Chouinard

The SDLC describes how software is built from start to finish. It’s a systemic process for building software. It describes the activities performed at each stage of the development process. Just like software testing, software development needs to follow a set of rules and methods.

    The several phases of the Software Development Life Cycle

  1. Requirement Phase
  2. Planning Phase
  3. Design Phase
  4. Build Stage (building the software)
  5. Testing Phase
  6. Deployment and Maintenance

Requirements Phase

The technology team gathers all the requirements and information from the client or stakeholders to build the software. This can also be referred to as the requirement gathering phase.

Planning Phase

In this phase, the technology team meets to go over the requirements and specifications gathered from the previous phase. A discussion takes place to estimate the time, cost, and analyze their current resources.

Design Phase

This is where the technology team actually decides how they are going to build the software. Decisions on things like the programming language to use, how it will function, and the overall architecture of the project. In this phase, the team also receives the initial mockups or visualizations of how the project will look.

Build Stage

In all likelihood, this is the lengthiest phase of the life cycle. Here is where the developers begin building the software according to the requirements.

Testing Phase

I should not there’s a debate on where QA should first be involved in the SDLC and their role. However, setting that aside, for now, this phase is undebatably where they are required. This is where testing begins and ensure the software is meeting requirements.

Deployment and Maintenance

Job well done! Or at least that’s the plan. After the software has been built and tested it’s deployed to production. Meaning it is now ready and available for its intended audience. There is that second word in this phase “Maintenance”. The technology team dedicates time after release to ensure the software is running smoothly.


Now we know what the SDLC is, and a glimpse of why it’s important. Let’s look at the prime reasons why it is used.

  • It sets the stage for development to successfully create a plan
  • It sets aside time for project planning, scheduling, and estimation
  • It solves the issue of defining a set of activities and deliverables
  • It allows easier project tracking
  • It increases transparency to stakeholders into the development process
  • It's set plan can enhance development speed