When creating a new mobile application, proper software life cycle planning is essential. If you are not familiar with this concept, this article is for you.
We explain what the life cycle of an application is, what it is for, and how you can avoid the most common errors in the implementation phase. Let’s go!
What is the life cycle of an application for
The software life cycle is important because it divides this complex process into different phases. This makes it easier to evaluate each part and simplifies the simultaneous work of the programmers in each of them.
Thus, the software development cycle is a process composed of different stages, iterative and structured in a methodical way. This is the only way to ensure that the final product is of high quality and meets the established requirements.
The software development life cycle is important to achieve that the final version of your app is of quality.
In addition, by following an established method that guides the entire development of an application, you can avoid errors that can occur if you have not allocated enough time to each phase of the project.
At first glance, it might seem that the most important thing is the development phase. However, the planning and analysis part is undoubtedly the most relevant.
Many companies spend only 10-15% of the total development time in this phase. This leads to cost overruns because they did not plan the product they needed properly. If they had, they would have reduced the overtime to solve errors and create the product that was really needed.
What is the software life cycle?
The software development life cycle refers to the process used to design, develop, and test a mobile software or application. The ultimate goal is to create a high-quality product that meets or exceeds customer expectations. But that’s not all.
The process must be completed within the estimated time and cost at the beginning. It is not just a matter of creating an application, but of successfully creating it. That’s the crux of the matter.
The life cycle of software development is composed of the phases of planning, technical requirements, prototyping, development, QA or testing, and publication and maintenance. Let’s take a closer look at what each one of them consists of and which professionals are involved.
In this phase different professional profiles work together to define well what is needed and how the project will be developed: project manager, marketing, business analyst, etc.
It is a question of evaluating what the business idea is, the purpose of the application, but it is also the moment to define which audience it will be addressed to. Understanding who your target is is crucial to focus the subsequent launch strategy, but also for other aspects such as UI design, to name a few examples.
It is also the time to perform a competitive study and a SWOT analysis. With all the information gathered it is time to make the decision on which platforms you will be available on, what the user acquisition and retention strategy will be, and the monetization strategy.
At this stage, the technical specifications to be met by the application are defined. The software documentation details all the requirements of the project, the commercial approach and serves as a guide for all the professionals involved in the different phases of the project.
This phase usually corresponds to a UX/UI designer, who is responsible for creating the sketches, wireframes, prototypes, and the final graphic image of the application.
The idea is to define step by step how the appearance but also the navigation through the app will be. From the first sketches on paper to the wireframe and, later on, a navigable prototype that simulates how the user will be. In this step-by-step way, it is possible to analyze all the possible use cases, detect if there is any kind of inconsistency or error in the original idea, and correct it.
We arrive at the best-known phase, in which the developers work their magic, according to the requirements that have been detailed in the previous phases. Mainly, this involves two parts:
- Front-end development: this is the development of the part that the client will see, the layer that the user will interact with.
- Back-end development: it is the development part in connection with a server or database, which connects the front-end of the mobile application with the data.
QA or testing
In work teams with agile methodologies, this phase usually occurs continuously from the beginning of the development, with the aim of detecting possible errors as soon as possible.
Quality Assurance (QA) managers perform compatibility tests in each sprint on different types of devices and screen sizes, review the navigation, menu, and buttons, as well as test the app in different conditions, (low battery, slow internet connection, etc.)
When the application is finished from the development point of view, it is usually released in a beta version that is tested with users to get their feedback before publication in the app stores.