Software Project Life Cycle


By

Mrs. Sampada S. Joshi
Faculty
P.E. Society's
Institute of Management and Career Development
Nigdi, Pune-44
 


Here are common steps in the process, which may vary according to the size of the project.


Requirements
Client supplies a project requirements document, which states:
  • the purpose
  • goals
  • major features
  • compatibility issues
  • human interface issues
  • maintenance and support
  • documentation and training
  • terms and conditions for the project

Depending on the completeness of this document, vendor(s) involved in the proposal process may need to make inquiries and revisions to it before it becomes an adequate basis for a bid.

Analysis Proposal

If required, the out-sourcing vendor supplies this. It should include:

  • the scope of the project
  • cost and time estimates
  • a basic project plan
  • a definition of deliverables
  • acceptance criteria
  • any terms and conditions required
  • any assumptions used to make the proposal

This document may not be required if the project is fairly small or if the client has already created a technical specification that is adequate to make a Development proposal on.

Executed contract
Frequently, the client requests revisions to the proposal. Once those are agreed upon and the proposal is accepted, the contract is drawn up and executed. This document should include:

  • delivery date
  • deliverables
  • terms and conditions concerning non-disclosure
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • a clear description of each party's responsibilities
  • functional specification provided by client
  • the price
  • payment terms

Pricing is usually on either a fixed-price or time-and-materials basis. The vendor meets milestones upon final acceptance by the client.
Payment terms for time-and-materials contracts are variable with weekly to monthly invoicing and terms of net 10 to net 30.

Preliminary Project Plan
The project plan is created by whoever is managing the project. It should include:

  • a work breakdown
  • the sequence of events (usually a PERT chart)
  • a project schedule

Both the client and the vendor should sign off this document.

Analysis
Functional Specification
Through interaction with the client, the vendor creates this document. It should contain:

  • an overview of the system/application
  • major objectives and any special system requirements
  • a description of all components and deliverables
  • a method for negotiating specification changes
  • acceptance criteria
  • client-vendor communications interfaces
  • responsibilities of both parties, and any terms, conditions and assumptions

Both parties should sign off the Functional Specification.

Preliminary Design
The Preliminary Design should include:

  • a high-level design of the system/application as a whole
  • a description of user-interaction, data-flow, and data storage

Project Plan revised
Update project plan to reflect the information in the functional specification and changes in available resources and technology.

Development Proposal
Final versions of analysis proposal
Executed contract
Design

Design Specification

Once a set of alternate top-level designs is devised by the vendors, the vendors should take the clients through a walk-through. Once this walk-through is complete, the vendor should complete the design process and create a Design specification.
This specification should include:

  • an overview
  • system requirements
  • design priorities
  • diagrams and naming conventions
  • parameter passing and database conventions
  • error handling
  • programming tools
  • descriptions of data records and storage

The specification should include all of the functionality stated in the Functional Specification.

Quality Assurance Test Plan
This test plan should include:

  • Alpha entry criteria
  • Beta entry criteria
  • Final Code Submission criteria
  • Acceptance criteria.

It can include more than one Alpha or Beta cycle and other intermediate cycles such as Gamma.
Project Plan revised
Update project plan to reflect the information in the design specification and acceptance plan.
Development
Alpha entry
Criteria for alpha entry should be agreed upon by client and vendor.
Quality Assurance for Alpha submission

  • QA is usually supplied by the vendor
  • Quality Assurance engineers follow the Acceptance test plan and report bugs to the development engineers

Bug fixes and minor feature enhancements
Development engineers fix bugs reported by QA and by the client. Minor feature enhancements, as agreed upon by client and vendor are incorporated.

Beta entry
Criteria for beta entry should be agreed upon by client and vendor.

Quality Assurance and Beta site testing

  • QA is usually supplied by the vendor
  • Quality Assurance engineers follow the Acceptance test plan and report bugs to the development engineers
  • QA engineers also do regression testing to insure previously reported bugs are fixed

Bug fixes and minor feature enhancements
Development engineers fix bugs reported by QA and by the client. Minor feature enhancements, as agreed upon by client and vendor are incorporated.

Final code submission
Criteria for final code submission should be agreed upon by client and vendor.

Acceptance

Acceptance testing
Acceptance testing as specified in the QA test plan is performed by the client, possibly with the vendor present.

Operation

Warranty-period technical support
Vendors should offer to fix problems caused by vendor free of charge for a certain period of time. The warranty period depends on the size of the project; however, 90 days is common.

Maintenance
This is usually a separate contract, detailing any maintenance requirements including:

  • adding features
  • fixing bugs
  • giving technical support to the client

Project Documentation
Client and vendor should get together to discuss the project. Topics usually include:

  • a statement of original objectives and proposed solutions
  • project method and organization
  • a comparison of estimates with actual results
  • successful aspects of the project
  • problems encountered and how to avoid them in the future
     


Mrs. Sampada S. Joshi
Faculty
P.E. Society's
Institute of Management and Career Development
Nigdi, Pune-44
 

Source: E-mail May 21, 2007

       

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