Before Angry Birds ended up on your phone it went through numerous, multiple rounds of testing; like everything released to the public—movies, recipes, novels—software is developed in projects with workflows, distinct orders or distinct lack of order.
There are various models for development, but they follow one particular, more abstract order: Planning, implementation, Testing, Deployment and Maintenance. The parts of the process are obvious and transferrable and happen in swirling, overlapping ways not always one after the other in sequence.
Planning, as it says on the tin, is exactly that. It often includes what’s called a Requirement Analysis, which, yes you got it, helps the developers determine to a high level of detail what is required of the software—does it need a calendar system, a booking system or location tracking. The requirements are compiled into a Statement of Objectives (SOO). It’s only after this detailing that developers can get to work on the actual coding.
This is the implementation and is the riskiest, meatiest part of the process. It’s where many different development models diverge, but in short entails the building and refining of the code and software in line with the requirements. If you’re building a booking app, let’s say, for a restaurant, you’ll construct the various interactions and elements required. They need their menu there, so you create the space and design the menu, ensuring the user can continue to book a table and the restaurant. This large task of implementation is always broken down into smaller steps depending on the specific models.
Anyway, as your team develops the app, you will definitely be testing and fixing bugs simultaneously. However, once the features are done and the product feels ready to go, you’ll need to do another round of more detailed testing. This could mean offering a limited release of the product to testers, called beta testing, or using software tools to track how users interact with it, called UX tools, to see where they go and how they use it.
Although testing is a long stage of the development process, it’s vital to make sure you’re not building and delivering buggy software to customers. Bugs can kill your reputation and lose you money, but, worst of all, they take up valuable development time that could’ve been put elsewhere, building new features or refining precious elements.
Now you’ve got a product that works, has been tested and is ready to be Deployed to the public for distribution and sale. Next we employ an ARA Model—Application Release Automation. This system creates workstations across teams and makes for responsive and critical post-deployment maintenance and development.
Once the public have their hands on the product or software, it is merely the start of another phase in its life cycle: Maintenance. Bugs happen, glitches happen, security needs updating and if you build a product these days, its life cycle will continue and continue as long as it’s available and in order to renew and refresh it, where needed, maintenance and updating are important. You can always see the benefits of have an active life cycle, as a business. It can give you new engagements with customers if you have a lively, moving product and rebranding can always contribute to more, newer customers.
The rough model presented here is closest to the Waterfall method—where the process is completed in a mostly linear and sequential fashion. However, there are many other approaches to software development.