SDLC Automation Demystified – Is it Beneficial?

phases in software development life cycle

SDLC Automation is a rapidly evolving field. Allow us to take you through this term. Software Development Life Cycle can be briefly explained as a predefined process to complete the development of software most effectively.

SDLC Automation

Why Is SDLC Automation So Crucial? 

Just imagine owning a business that is about to collapse due to a software failure. Or imagine being an engineer working on a sand clock timeline to revamp a failed software system. 

Scary? Let us take you through some software disasters that the world has seen,

  1. Just before the recent paralysis of the travel sector in Feb 2020, a technical issue affected Heathrow’s airport departure boards. The system shock left the passengers with little information about their flights and led to mass confusion on something as crucial as movement!
  2. Imagine not being able to increase your house’s thermostat temperature for hours and being left in the cold! That’s what happened to users who owned Google’s NEST thermostat recently. A failed software update in the product leads the device’s battery to drain leaving the users in the freezing cold!
  3. A bizarre software anomaly in a U.S prison led to an early release of 3,200 U.S prisoners in 2015.

Now imagine being part of a software team whose unintended errors lead to these havocs. Or worse, what if you are the owner of a business that created these software, what would you do? 

You would make sure you are strictly following the laid-out SDLC process! This would help you ensure that the project is feasible, there’s clarity in project design, needful tests are completed, and deployment is successful and bug-free! 

Generally, it is not so much as carelessness, but lack of proper SDLC Automation tools, that such bugs go unnoticed. Or evolve into a public outcry before they’re even addressed. TestGrid helps you fix that.

SDLC and Its Phases

SDLC has 6 or at times refereed 7 phases. Every stage in the SDLC process pushes the software to be deployed in the most efficient way possible. So what are these 6 or 7 phases? Let’s find out!

Phase 1: Planning

The first stage in the SDLC process is that of Planning. The purpose of this stage is to plan and carve out a clearer understanding of the scope of the project.

Insights and inputs are gathered from subject matter experts and the involved stakeholders.

This phase also helps in getting answers to key questions like,

  • What are the foreseeable threats/risks with the development of software?
  • Which resources would be required to complete the software development? 
  • How much time would it take to complete the software development?

Phase 2: Feasibility Study

Once the planning and requirement analysis is completed a Software Requirement Specification document is prepared. 

The document succinctly describes the intended product’s requirements, how it is to be designed and developed throughout the software development cycle.

Phase 3: Designing The Product Architecture

When what needs to be created is cleared through the Software Requirement Specification document, product architects are responsible for layout the software’s design.

The well-required software architecture is documented in a Design Document Specification or DDS. Usually, more than one design approach is mentioned in the DDS. 

The document is then carefully critiqued by the stakeholders on various parameters like product’s robustness, design modularity, risk assessment, time constraint, and the most favorable option is chosen.

This phase helps the development team in generating early feedback, which enables them to save both time and money in the development process.

Phase 4: Building Or Developing The Product

And then comes the fourth phase where actual software development starts! The design laid out in the third phase helps the programmers to code and develop hassle-free!

A programming language is chosen and the development of the software. The most common coding languages which are used are C, C++, Pascal, Java, and PHP.

Phase 5: Testing The Product

During this phase, software developers test out the recently developed software to resolve any bugs and glitches involved.

The testing is done to check the code’s quality, its efficacy, if it meets the stated and sanctioned requirements. While some testers manually test the software, some try to automate their testing following the Automation Testing Life Cycle process.

Nowadays, when resources are scarce, scalability, and effective delivery are the basic requirements of all software deployments processes like Automation Testing Life Cycle have become a necessity rather than a luxury!

Often automated testing is considered as just another phase of the SDLC process. But experts believe it’s not only a phase but a complete and well-needed process on its own, required to be pursued during the software development life cycle. 

Phase 6: Implementation And Integration

Once the testers are satisfied with the software developed and consider it fit to serve the intended purpose they deploy it!  Deployment or release of the software is a process implementation that enables the end-users to use the product. 

At this stage, often the marketing team works hand in hand with the developers to make the release successful! 

Phase 7: Maintenance

Irrespective of all the dedication, hard work, research put it’s a bitter pill to swallow that no product is perfect! So once the product is out there being used by the intended users three activities arise,

  • Bug Fixing- Bugs get reported by users in the software for scenarios that haven’t been tested at all or for the functions which somehow lost the tester’s sight while finishing testing.
  • Upgrade Versions- As the users start to use the software and submit their feedback regarding the bugs they faced or an enhancement that can be incorporated to make the product more apt. It’s the responsibility of developers to roll out bug fixes in newer software versions.

And at this stage, a software development life cycle/SDLC completes, not ends, but completes.

SDLC Agile Methodology And How It Is Different From Waterfall Methodology? 

The SDLC process highlighted above until now is an example of the Waterfall method. Along with the Waterfall method approach, another technique that has gained significant momentum is the Agile method.

It was in 2001 when a group of software developers signed a draft, namely, The manifesto for agile software development. The manifesto highlighted the shortcomings of the Waterfall method and the challenges it led to in software delivery.

For the Waterfall method to work effectively, it has to be assumed that the project requirements formed in Phase-1 never change!  In contrast to Waterfall, Agile emphasizes prototyping, feedback loops, and teamwork that can adapt to the changing development requirements.

The main focus of SDLC is to ensure that the intended software objectives continue to be met and that the software system continues to perform effectively, and then which method serves this purpose should be your guiding light while pursuing SDLC! 

SDLC Automation doesn’t have to be Expensive!

The first few years as a business are all about building a good product. The next few are about keeping the maturity phase of your product lifecycle as long as possible. 

That often requires CI/CD, and constant optimization. Specially for a product without a ceiling on it’s iterative growth.

Kitting out your employees with testing environments, and finding the right people to commit to the testing process used to be a time consuming, tedious and expensive process.

But these days, with suites like TestGrid, it’s possible to automate, for example, the testing part of your SDLC. All at a fraction of the cost that it used to be, earlier.

Making SDLC Automation Feasible 

Remember, I wrote something around automation? Yeah, I am talking about automating the testing life cycle or automation testing life cycle process.

How much money would it save? Probably three-fourths of what you are currently spending on testing or three-fourths of what you may end up spending if you don’t take this word of caution, seriously.

So what exactly is automation testing the life cycle process which can save you a pile of cash? What to automate and what not to? How can you integrate it with your SDLC strategy?  

If you are curious to learn more about it, just click here to find out how TestGrid can help you automate your end-to-end testing while saving you money!  

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