October 19, 2020
0 min read

The 7 stages of the software development process

The 7 stages of the software development process.jpeg

What is the software development life cycle (SDLC)?

The software development life cycle breaks up the process of creating an application or any software system into discrete stages. This framework enables the development teams and stakeholders to complete and evaluate each stage in turn and only move forward when they are confident that the product is ready to advance.

What are the 7 phases of the SDLC?

Companies turn to custom software because they have a need that an off-the-shelf application or system cannot fulfil. Developing a product to fill that gap has to be carried out according to a structured approach or the project has the potential to burst budgets and fail expectations. Knowing what needs to be done and when the software can be considered delivered can be difficult, especially for companies who have previously relied on existing software.

The SDLC is a well-established method of creating software and Blocshop is here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, as long as you understand the phases and what to expect.

Not everyone agrees that there are seven phases in the process. Some combine planning and requirements into the first step, others combine testing and deployment. Blocshop likes to keep these stages separate, so we end up with seven.


1.     Planning

This stage of your project might begin with brainstorming if you aren’t yet sure of the scope or scale. You might decide to use a diagram such as a concept map or mind map to work out the limits of the project (try our own Gleek.io for creating quick, no-fuss diagrams – we couldn’t find the right design tool, so we built our own 😉). As you develop your understanding of what needs to be done, you’ll also start to identify individuals and departments that might need to be involved. Get their input. The planning phase needs to drill down into the business objectives of the project, its budget in terms of resources, how long it will take, and who will be responsible.

Read our Software development price guide to learn more on how software cost is estimated.

Covering everything you can in the planning stage will prevent a lot of pain in later stages, so don’t skimp on determining just what it is you need to build, why you need to build it, and how it will interact with the rest of the company systems and processes.

2.     Requirements

Once you know the scope of the project, it becomes easier to formally list the requirements. You can now carry out an analysis of the goals and deliverables, risks, and feasibility of the software.

At this point, you need to be working with all stakeholders to make sure that the project will meet their expectations and that they’re clear on what to expect. Detailed documentation is key here. If the project starts to go off the rails in any of the subsequent steps, you need to be able to refer back to the documentation and try to get it back on track.

3.     Design

Now that your team is confident about what should be built, they can move on to designing the architecture of the project, the technology stack to be used, the UI and UX – everything from the database design to the workflow. You might create some proof-of-concept mockups or prototypes, discuss alternatives, and generally make sure that the hardware and software to be used are suitable.

4.     Development

Now the coding starts. This phase can be slow, but if an agile approach is used, and the previous phases were properly explored and documented, a minimal viable product (MVP) should emerge and be ready for evaluation by all stakeholders. This is a risky stage, as there is a danger of feature creep if extra functionality starts to be added that wasn’t in the original requirements. If the temptation to go beyond the design docs is resisted and milestones are clearly tracked, the dev team should successfully make it through this phase and move on to testing the MVP.

5.     Testing

This is where the MVP is put through its paces. There might be bugs, slowdowns, security holes, or problems with how data is handled. This is where these problems should be discovered. All stakeholders should have the opportunity to engage with the product and it might even be advisable to bring in user groups to find issues that aren’t obvious to people closely involved with development. On top of this, the developers will be running automated unit tests, integration tests, and generally trying their best to find any flaws.

6.     Deployment

The product works as expected and the problems have been fixed. It’s time to send it into the real world to do what it was made for. Deployment can be relatively painless, depending on the complexity of the application and the deployment method being used. Whether it operates as a standalone application or is a single service operating in tandem with other systems, the product has been released and is open to the use and abuse of the end users.

7.     Maintenance

Now that the software is in the wild, and despite the rigorous testing in the testing phase, it can still behave in unexpected ways. Users have a knack of finding bugs that developers never imagined possible. The development team, or a support team, will continue to monitor and maintain the code. Fixes will inevitably be needed, features may be requested, or there may be changes in the underlying technology used that mean that updates and new versions will be released.

Related post: SDLC vs Agile: Which one is the best for creating a winning project?

Blocshop and the SDLC

Blocshop follows these seven stages for every project we take on, but we’re flexible and experienced enough to be able to adapt to your needs. One of our guiding principles is that we always aim to reach an MVP as fast as possible, so that we can iterate and improve. This means that we’ll loop over these phases many times in the course of a big project. Throughout this process, we cooperate with the client to make sure that we’re delivering what’s needed, on time, and according to requirements.

If you think you need a custom software solution, contact us today to set up a call.

Learn more from our insights

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2023.png
December 06, 2021

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2022

What exactly do we mean by micro SaaS? Micro Saas solutions use a web browser or mobile app interface. Micro SaaS solutions usually come about through the effort of an individual or very small team. It aims to solve precise problems. Micro SaaS projects have small budgets and overhead. Customers use Micro SaaS solutions on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Micro SaaS projects target a small niche of the consumer market.

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location).png
November 22, 2021

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location)

Region influences salary more than any other factor. Taxes rates, cost of living, and government benefit programs affect the rates software developers charge. Software developers in the USA  and Canada earn more than software developers in other countries.

The best programming languages for app development in 2022.png
November 15, 2021

The best programming languages for app development in 2022

Software developers usually have three main ways to create an app. They can choose to code a native app, a hybrid app or a progressive web app. Developers create native apps to function on one specific platform, usually either iOS or Android. They create these apps using Swift or Objective C for iOS. For Android they use C++, Kotlin or several other languages. 

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022.png
November 09, 2021

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022

The cross-platform development project aims to create apps compatible with several operating systems. Cross-platform apps work on iOS, Android, and Windows. Cross-platform apps look and feel like apps developed specifically for the operating system.

App development cost breakdown in 2022.png
November 08, 2021

App development cost breakdown in 2022

Your business needs an app, but you aren’t sure about the cost of creating an app. Without some figures, you can’t even begin to estimate the potential budget, so let’s get you sorted with the information you need to make your app a reality.

November 04, 2021

Web app development: a detailed guide

The best web apps give a responsive and engaging user experience through a browser instead of a single application. Think of web app development as a super-charged website. Web apps have many features of mobile apps coded for iOS or Android without the need to code for specific platforms. Developers create web apps using HTML, javascript, Python and CSS.

15 useful web app development tools for 2021.png
October 29, 2021

15 useful web app development tools for 2022

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business.png
October 19, 2021

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips.png
October 15, 2021

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022.png
October 11, 2021

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022

More and more firms choose to outsource their IT operations and functions. IT outsourcing grows each year. The Gartner report announced that firms spent $3.8 billion dollars on IT outsourcing in 2019. They expect that the trend will continue. Companies aiming for digital transformation need partners and tools. They need tools that they cannot build in-house with speed and accuracy. 

In-house development vs outsourcing software development.png
October 01, 2021

In-house development vs outsourcing software development

Every business starting software development must ask themselves what will serve them better, in-house or outsourcing? There is not a simple answer to the question. Making the choice to develop in-house or to outsource will have long-term consequences.

16 Software development project ideas.png
September 17, 2021

16 Software development project ideas

Every startup needs a great idea. Something unique and compelling. Startup businesses succeed when they find a customer need that they can fulfill. Startup businesses and independent software developers constantly search for just such needs.

Software development budget estimation.png
September 16, 2021

Software development budget estimation

An unlimited budget would make many teams very happy. But that approach has pitfalls. If the team works without much oversight or customer input, they may waste money. They might create features that the customers won’t use.

What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?.png
September 07, 2021

What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?

These days, most software development teams choose Agile methodology to organize their work. The Agile vs. Waterfall debate still rages, though. Many people question whether Agile works better than Waterfall in all circumstances. Does Agile deliver great ROI? Does Agile help teams work faster? Let’s take a close look at both Agile and Waterfall. We will examine the merits and drawbacks of each approach.

September 06, 2021

Converting Story Points to Hours: Why Doesn't It Work?

In traditional software development, teams would describe the amount of work they had in hours. But Agile software development teams have a better way. Agile teams use Story Points to estimate the work they have ahead of them. Let’s take a closer look at Story Points and hours, and examine the benefits of Story Points.

Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What's the difference?.png
September 02, 2021

Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What's the difference?

We've covered the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the Agile development framework. Now it's time to look at different methodologies and approaches to their implementation. There are several, but we'll focus in this article on just two of them, Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP). We'll look at the differences between them and how they can even be used together for even better results.

The Scrum Sprint cycle explained.png
September 01, 2021

The Scrum Sprint cycle explained

Agile Scrum teams break down large development projects into small bursts of activity, called Sprints. A Sprint in Agile is a short, time-boxed period where a software development team completes work. They choose which items and fixes they will tackle in Sprint Planning Meetings. The Sprint cycle sits at the very center of Agile methodology. 

Use Cases vs. User Stories: relationships and differences.png
August 12, 2021

Use Cases vs. User Stories: relationships and differences

Product Backlog prioritization techniques & tips.png
July 27, 2021

Product Backlog prioritization techniques & tips

Software development project management guide.jpeg
July 26, 2021

Software development project management guide