What Is a Software Development Life Cycle

Chapter 3. "Process Overview," defines a process, as shown inFigure 4-2, and describes the importance of following a process on a software development project.

Figure 4-2. A Generic Process Phase

Figure 4-2. A Generic Process Phase

A software process framework, or skeleton, describes what is to be performed in each phase of a development project via the activities of that phase. By phase we mean a distinguishable stage in the development process. Life cycle phases represent distinct and successive periods with entry and exit criteria. For example moving from the requirements phase to the design phase entails sign-offs from all stakeholders that the requirements are as complete as they can be at this point in time. This means that (at least some of) the exit criteria from the requirements phase is met and that (at least some of) the entrance criteria to the design phase are met!^, ^

Chapter 3 discussed inputs, outputs, transformations, checkpoints, and milestones typically associated with a phase. The framework, however, does not represent the order or sequence in which these phases and activities will be conducted. A software development life cycle model is but one type of process that represents order.

A software life cycle model (SLCM) graphically describes how development activities will be performed by depicting the "sequence" of the activities. The sequence may or may not be linearly sequential because the phases may follow one another, repeat themselves, or run concurrently. Figure 4-3 is a simple, generic process framework showing that the overall process consists of major phases, which consist of activities that produce deliverables.

Figure 4-3. A Generic Process Framework

An SLCM is the framework, or scaffold, for defining the repeatable process that the software engineer applies to the development of software. It defines the explicit practices that the software engineer can use to consistently produce high-quality software systems. The concept of the software life cycle applies to all software projects, whether large or small.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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