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Software Life Cycle

Definition - What does Software Life Cycle mean?

The software life cycle refers to all the phases of a software product throughout its planning, development, and use, all the way through to its eventual obsolescence or retirement. This process has many variable parts, but it can often be segmented into several main pieces. This helps developers and others to understand how a product is created, implemented and used.

Techopedia explains Software Life Cycle

Several of the most common parts of a software life cycle are planning phases. Professionals typically refer to requirements gathering or analysis, where an undeveloped product is defined through gathered criteria. Subsequent phases involve the analysis and design of the product, followed by development. The last parts of the life cycle involve a product that has been released to a customer or other end user, at which time the product maker often continues to be involved through maintenance, problem solving, upgrading and other processes.

Another way to look at the separation of software life cycle phases is through the use of the terms "production environment" and "end-use environment."Here there is a clear distinction between the product as an internal work in progress, and a product that has been released.

It's important to note that software does not always proceed through these parts of a software life cycle in a linear way. Rather, there may be various parts of a product that evolve differently. These are often called iterations within the professional IT community.
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