software developement

Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Automation

Gone are the days when manual labor used to go through a rigorous time taking process in order to furnish quality products. Today, organizations have shifted their attention towards automated software. Each software goes through a development lifecycle to meet customer requirements of a high-quality product known as SDLC. In the growing software industry, developers compete to produce high-quality software while remaining within their range of cost and time limits.

SDLC Automation helps achieve the above goals with minimum manual labor, time, and cost while maintaining a high level of productivity as well as efficiency. This article expounds upon the need for automation in the SDLC process and further sheds light on some of the aspects that software companies must start automating.

What is SDLC?

SDLC is a systematic framework followed by organizations for software production. It contains phases of requirement gathering and analysis, software design, development, test and integration, deployment, and maintenance. Such that each stage has its own set of deliverables to be fed to the next phase.

SDLC identifies each phase task to the granular level to be distributed among the team members. Monitoring the work helps ensure that the project is on track to meet the quality requirements. The main goal of SDLC is to translate client requirements into a functional and operational structure. Some of the most common benefits are:

  • Allowing complete control over the project.
  • Helping in predicting the deliveries throughout the software development process.
  • Eliminating the risk of unexpected cost and time overhead.
  • Allowing visibility of project development lifecycle to all the stakeholders.
  • Defining clear goals and view of the resources with comprehensive steps.

Automation

SDLC automation helps set up environments more rapidly through the removal of manual processes with technology. It also helps enhance software productivity and produce a quality product in minimum time. Some of the main benefits of SDLC automation are as follows:

  • Rapid changes
  • Replacement of manual processes
  • Less time required
  • Automated testing
  • Increased efficiency

Steps to be Automated

Irrespective of the proper planning, baseline key performance indicators, and several SDLC phases, they are not enough to provide error-free within a short time frame. According to experts, we can automate some stages of the development life cycle to a certain degree. The most recommended stages include:

Requirement Analysis

Requirement analysis is the most fundamental phase of the SDLC process that takes input from all the stakeholders and industry experts. This stage generally involves the process of gathering member’s requirements by sharing documentation.

For instance, IBM Rational DOORS Next Generation optimizes team collaboration to maximize productivity by capturing, analyzing, tracing, managing, and maintaining all the changes over time in compliance with all the standards and regulations. Similarly, Confluence provides a dynamic space for team members to create, share, and organize institutional knowledge with hosting options at a massive scale.

Development

The key to automating the development phase of the process is to avoid manual coding through a low-code platform. Unlike other stages, we cannot optimize this phase at its best due to reliance on manual input. But it’s helpful in static code analysis and software scalability in case of a thousand lines of code.

Another best practice for development automation is version/source control which also influences test automation. It’s a practice that ensures track of each version update of the code, achievable via free and open-source distributed software known as Git.

Git allows storing a project in a central repository that tracks the different versions of code. Automation engineers are recommended to work with this tool, as it commits all the changes back into the main repository after approval from the owner.

Security

Security integration across the development lifecycle is a standard requirement for timely identification and removal of vulnerabilities. However, manual management of the SSH/API keys, passwords, and credentials slows down the overall process and is prone to error. Besides, it’s expensive, time-consuming, and lacks scalability. Automating security monitoring from early stages of the development for secure web applications and Restful APIs.

Hence, developers must be aware of any custom code vulnerability or insecure library, which can be made possible with the help of applications like Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) to analyze the code for security vulnerabilities in real-time.

Testing

The most recommended phase for automation is the testing environment. Testing allows teams to verify the application functionality by reporting, tracking, and fixing bugs until it matches the qualified standards. Hence, it’s tedious to manually analyze each aspect of the program and pinpoint the bug’s location.

One of its benefits is that the testing tools offer a reusability feature. It saves time by allowing immediate implementation at various areas of the application. Besides, the decrease in manual human input increases accuracy and efficiency. Hence, automating testing provides efficient feedback, creates new features, and enhances the developer’s productivity.

Conclusion

Words like DevOps, Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD), and Agile development are all about fast software development and quality, which can help software companies survive the ever-growing digital economy with efficient market reach and quality. However, this still leaves room for one fundamental question: What needs to be automated?

To answer that question, this article has endeavoured to provide an overview of SDLC automation and its growing demand to facilitate various aspects of the development process. Additionally, there is an analytic insight on how to automate some of the SDLC phases to the best of their capacity and to reduce manual labor along with the associated risks.

About the author

Usama Azad

A security enthusiast who loves Terminal and Open Source. My area of expertise is Python, Linux (Debian), Bash, Penetration testing, and Firewalls. I’m born and raised in Wazirabad, Pakistan and currently doing Undergraduation from National University of Science and Technology (NUST). On Twitter i go by @UsamaAzad14