The international standard for describing the method of selecting, implementing and monitoring the life cycle for software is ISO 12207.
A decades-long goal has been to find repeatable, predictable processes that improve productivity and quality. Some try to systematize or formalize the seemingly unruly task of writing software. Others apply project management techniques to writing software. Without project management, software projects can easily be delivered late or over budget. With large numbers of software projects not meeting their expectations in terms of functionality, cost, or delivery schedule, effective project management appears to be lacking.
Once the general requirements are gleaned from the client, an analysis of the scope of the development should be determined and clearly stated. This is often called a scope document. Certain functionality may be out of scope of the project as a function of cost or as a result of unclear requirements at the start of development. If the development is done externally, this document can be considered a legal document so that if there are ever disputes, any ambiguity of what was promised to the client can be clarified.
Domain Analysis is often the first step in attempting to design a new piece of software, whether it be an addition to an existing software, a new application, a new subsystem or a whole new system, is, what is generally referred to as "Domain Analysis". Assuming that the developers (including the analysts) are not sufficiently knowledgeable in the subject area of the new software, the first task is to investigate the so-called "domain" of the software. The more knowledgeable they are about the domain already, the less work required. Another objective of this work is to make the analysts, who will later try to elicit and gather the requirements from the area experts, speak with them in the domain's own terminology, facilitating a better understanding of what is being said by these experts. If the analyst does not use the proper terminology it is likely that they will not be taken seriously, thus this phase is an important prelude to extracting and gathering the requirements. If an analyst hasn't done the appropriate work confusion may ensue: "I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant."
Documenting the internal design of software for the purpose of future maintenance and enhancement is done throughout development. This may also include the authoring of an API, be it external or internal.
Software Training and Support is important because a large percentage of software projects fail because the developers fail to realize that it doesn't matter how much time and planning a development team puts into creating software if nobody in an organization ends up using it. People are often resistant to change and avoid venturing into an unfamiliar area, so as a part of the deployment phase, it is very important to have training classes for new clients of your software.
Maintenance and enhancing software to cope with newly discovered problems or new requirements can take far more time than the initial development of the software. It may be necessary to add code that does not fit the original design to correct an unforeseen problem or it may be that a customer is requesting more functionality and code can be added to accommodate their requests. It is during this phase that customer calls come in and you see whether your testing was extensive enough to uncover the problems before customers do.
Interestingly, surveys have shown the potential for significant efficiency gains over the waterfall method. For example, a survey, published in August 2006 by VersionOne and Agile Alliance and based on polling more than 700 companies claims the following benefits for an Agile approach. The survey was repeated in August 2007 with about 1,700 respondents.
After each step is finished, the process proceeds to the next step, just as builders don't revise the foundation of a house after the framing has been erected.
There is a misconception that the process has no provision for correcting errors in early steps (for example, in the requirements). In fact this is where the domain of requirements management comes in which includes change control.
This approach is used in high risk projects, particularly large defense contracts. The problems in waterfall do not arise from "immature engineering practices, particularly in requirements analysis and requirements management." Studies of the failure rate of the DOD-STD-2167 specification, which enforced waterfall, have shown that the more closely a project follows its process, specifically in up-front requirements gathering, the more likely the project is to release features that are not used in their current form .
Often the supposed stages are part of review between customer and supplier, the supplier can, in fact, develop at risk and evolve the design but must sell off the design at a key milestone called Critical Design Review (CDR). This shifts engineering burdens from engineers to customers who may have other skills
Formal methods are most likely to be applied in avionics software, particularly where the software is safety critical. Software safety assurance standards, such as DO178B demand formal methods at the highest level of categorization (Level A).
Formalization of software development is creeping in, in other places, with the application of OCL (and specializations such as JML) and especially with MDA allowing execution of designs, if not specifications.
Another emerging trend in software development is to write a specification in some form of logic (usually a variation of FOL), and then to directly execute the logic as though it were a program. The OWL language, based on Description Logic, is an example. There is also work on mapping some version of English (or another natural language) automatically to and from logic, and executing the logic directly. Examples are Attempto Controlled English, and Internet Business Logic, which does not seek to control the vocabulary or syntax. A feature of systems that support bidirectional English-logic mapping and direct execution of the logic is that they can be made to explain their results, in English, at the business or scientific level.
The Government Accountability Office, in a 2003 report on one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control modernization programs, recommends following the agency’s guidance for managing major acquisition systems by
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