Software Development Life Cycle and Testing

These five phases constitute the life cycle of a software project called the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The Five Phases of the SDLC:
1. CONCEPTION
2. INITIATION
3. ANALYSIS
4. DESIGN
5. CONSTRUCTION

Phase 1 – CONCEPTION: This phase starts as soon as someone, either a user or a member of the data processing department, recognizes a problem or opportunity that suggests a data processing solution.
The objective of this phase is to answer the following questions:

– What is the perceived problem (or opportunity)?
– What are the goals to be achieved by the solution?
– What benefits will result from achieving the solution?
– What will be the scope of the project?

These details may be recorded in an informal note or in a formal document. This document is called Project Request Form.

Phase2 – INITIATION: In this phase the analyst, working with the user, does a preliminary study of the user’s need. The information developed during this phase permits the organization to decide if it is worth spending money on the project.

The key information to be recorded consists of the following:

– Proposed system solution
– Alternative solutions considered
– Economic justification (Cost Benefit Analysis)
– Schedule of time and cost estimates for the completion of the project

This document is referred to as System Proposal.

Phase 3 – ANALYSIS: During this phase, the analyst and user come to a detailed agreement on the functions that the proposed system has to perform. A detailed document is prepared containing:

– Outputs to be produced
– Inputs that must be received
– Data to be retained
– Procedure to get the outputs from the given inputs
– Audit and control requirements: This specifies the features that are required to ensure that the user can monitor the system to check that it is working properly.

– System Acceptance Criteria: This lists the tests that the user would actually perform to check conformity with the previously agreed performance requirement and other specifications, before accepting the system.

This document is called Function Specifications. In addition to creating Function Specifications, the Cost Benefit Analysis prepared during the Initiation phase should be reviewed for accuracy. Similarly, the cost and time estimate should also be reviewed/revised.

Phase 4 – DESIGN: At this point, the emphasis changes from defining the user’s requirement to defining how the system will work. The documentation developed is technical. The design documentation should specify:

– Exactly how each input, output, operation, file and audit control requirement will be handled
– Acceptance test plan/schedule
– Facilities, equipment and personal required
– Manual procedure required to operate the system

This document is referred to as Design Specification. At this point again, the Cost Benefit Analysis and cost/time estimates are reviewed /revised.

Phase 5 – CONSTRUCTION: The last phase in the system development procedure includes three activities:

– Completing and testing computer programs and operating instructions for using the package (Run Manual, User Manual).
– Performing all tasks to carry out the conversion from the system currently in use to the new system.
– Conducting the final testing of the system to determine if it performs according to the acceptance criteria established during the Analysis phase.

Another essential activity for any system is the system evaluation. During system evaluation the performance of the system in a real life environment is assessed.

This is not considered a phase as:

– It may be several months before it is possible to take the first measurement of system effectiveness.
By this time the project development team might have been disbanded or moved to other projects.
– It is an ongoing activity. In fact, it should be regarded as a project in itself.
– The results of the system evaluation might indicate that the system has to be modified /re-developed.

Testing:
Software Testing is the course of completing a program or system with the intention of finding errors. Or, it involves any activity aimed at appraising an attribute or capability of a program or system and determining that it meets its required results.

The testing process:
1. Create test plans.
The test plan documentation consists of two documents:
• Detailed test plan (DTP) document
• Detailed test case (DTC) document
2. Review the design.
The design review also helps in identifying the scenarios that must be tested for one or more of the following:
• Possible security attacks
• Performance optimizations
• Profiling to ensure that there are no memory leaks
3. Perform black box testing.
Black box testing includes the following:
• Testing all of the external interfaces for all possible usage scenario
• Ensuring that the interfaces meet the functional specifications and address all of the requirements testing for various types of input.
• Testing for various types of input.
• Performance testing
• Load testing.
• Stress testing
• Security testing

Avail Banking Software Development Services for High Performance and Customizability

There is stiff competition in the banking and finance industry due to the overall change in the accounting regulatory requirements and economic conditions. The industry greatly banks on its information systems and modern technologies. Thus a lot of investments are being made on procuring, upgrading and maintenance of data, systems and infrastructure to aid financial institutions increase their operational efficiency.

Gone are the days when archaic paper based methods were in practice. In order to stay competitive, banking and other financial organizations require a system that can manage and organize data regarding huge number of customers, employees and other confidential documents. This has soared the need for sophisticated banking software that can support accelerated business processes while driving profitability.

Banking software development is critical to ensure customer satisfaction and smooth administration of business operations. Apart from this, other innumerable benefits of utilizing banking software development services include augmented speed, flexibility along with the worth of products and services offered to the customers.

These days, many IT firms offer advanced banking software solutions that have allowed banks and other financial institutions to offer efficient technology oriented avenues to customers. For instance internet banking, ATM’s, secure online payments etc. that has excluded the concept of traditional branch banking.

Today, there are many banking ‘software development companies’ around. Locating the best banking software development company can be a challenge. A professional software development firm can develop software’s that can ideally meet the needs of organizations while augmenting customer satisfaction.

Additionally, a reputed firm can help redefine your banking business by providing effectual, best-practice workflows supported by some of the leading-edge business management systems, such as accounting systems, customer relationship management software, risk management system, data analysis software etc. In other words, software products offered by such firms are of highest possible quality and can be availed at the lowest possible cost and risks.

With such high-end banking software solutions in place, your business management processes become more transparent, and manageable. Additionally, software development services offered by professional software firms can minimize possible risks and increase the probability of success. This is due to the use of state of the art application development technologies and tools.

Services offered by a professional development firm can assist banks and other financial institutions to offer a safer, secure and quicker banking experience to its customers. So, hire the services of a firm that can sufficiently meet the needs and requirements of your institution.

Return on Investment in Software Development

Hi I thought I would write a series of articles on a topic that I believe is becoming absolutely critical in the software development industry, that being the magical and mysterious ROI (return on investment) in software development.

As the owner of a programming company here in South Africa, I decided at the outset of the company that a rule of thumb for accepting any software development project would be that I would need to figure out how to measure the ROI in that particular project. Now you may or may not be surprised to know that in most instances my clients don’t actually think of this measure before taking on the project, they know that they have a business problem or business need that needs to be solved with technology and are willing to pay an amount of money for that. Experience over the years however has shown me that the best way to retain that client in the long term and or to make more business from that client is to prove a ROI in some way on that software development project.

I find this measure to be critical because for my companies purposes it shows exactly how successful a project is to my client in monetary terms. The bigger my impact through the software I develop, the more successful I have been at satisfying that clients need, the easier it is for me to go back to that client and offer further services. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe that a project coming in on time or under cost is a great measure of the success of that project at all, this is typically what IT companies do. If I really want to do a great job for my client then I always intentionally build a monitoring tool into the software I develop for them and that tool must track the ROI for the client in some way and present a report to the client whenever they want to see what this piece of software really is worth to them, be it through savings, additional income, time savings, it doesn’t matter so long as you track the value.
So how do you go about figuring out the ROI on software development project?

This is the difficult portion because it requires listening to the clients need carefully and scoping there need correctly, once you have done this, it should become fairly obvious what the client is trying to solve by having the software developed, this should then be a clear indication of the measure to be used on ROI. For example,a client of mine wished to have a system developed that automated the process of allowing shareholders in various properties to swap there owned weeks with each other. Before the client came to me they did this process manually, ie called there shareholders to find out if they were willing to exchange a week with a fellow shareholder that already gave an indication that they wanted to swap there week etc. This took a lot of time and for the administration fee that the client asked to do this, I suspect the profit was very little. Once we had developed the system and allowed the shareholders to interact with each other through the website instead of the web system, the ROI was very clear, why?

-We tracked each exchange in the system, each exchange has a monetary value associated to it.

-The clients telephone bill dropped significantly

-More swaps occur because of the ease at which shareholders can swap weeks, instead of having to go through a process of calling the company then waiting etc, this increase in sales is measurable

-Because the client offered the service electronically he could increase his administration fee.

All this information the client could get through there system thereby ensuring that he could very clearly see what his ROI was.
Conclusion

I believe without a doubt that if you truly want to complete a software development project successfully for a client, then you need to build a ROI tool into the software. Convince the client to do this, if you cant do that then build it free of charge, but make sure that you get your client to look at these figures. In the long term this will have a positive effect on your business and keeps your software development projects honest in terms of creativity and keeping the clients needs in mind constantly.

Please offer your comments and views on this topic, I am very sure that peoples opinions and views on this vary quite considerably, I am very willing to listen to other opinions in this regard.

In my next article on ROI and software, I will be describing more specifically how you can measure ROI on certain types of projects, in this case it will be how to measure ROI precisely in SMS campaigns.