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6 Phases of Application Development Life Cycle – Definitive Guide 2021


Do you plan to develop a successful app that helps you run your business in the ever-growing digital landscape? Since you have landed on this article, it would be helpful to make you understand how an application goes through various development phases.

However, before we go into specifics, two terminologies are commonly used in software and app development life cycle.

  • SDLC: Software Development Life Cycle refers to the phases involved in software development.
  • ADLC: Application Development Life Cycle describes the procedures that are taken place during application development.

Both of these terminologies explain how a professional IT firm develops software and apps, starting from discovery, design, development, launch or deployment, and extending to post-maintenance. Prior to develop an app, consultation with a professional app and web development company can come very handy. Typically, digital applications and ecommerce web design companies provide a layout that perfectly aligns with your application requirements, and how it will function throughout the course of its usage . Mostly, applications of ecommerce nature with excessive queries and online transactions from the customers end require seamless maintenance, reliability and clarity of every glitch.

Following are the phases that every application and software goes through during time span of development.

1. Application Discovery Phase

Now that you have an idea, and want to convert it to an application-based venture. Then the discovery phase kicks in, in which you must consult with an IT firm and have a thorough discussion about your application requirements. For instance, how many users the app must accommodate, and rights for logging in the users to your app.

While in discovery phase, the identification of the appropriate platform is also predefined. Primarily, you can choose either one or go with the both of the following platforms, depending on the application and business nature.

  • Android Platform 
  • IOS Platform

Furthermore, it boils down to identify which smartphone screens do you intend your app to fit into. Therefore app compatibility is crucial to make sure you get the best of every available smartphone.

The discovery phase is, in fact very crucial from the developer’s perspective to translate human language into code script. A well-thought-out discovery phase must include the following aspects.

  • Get into Competitors and Market Research
  • Application features and Mapping
  • Technical Requirements and specifications
  • Setting up deadlines and project cost structure

Typically, IT firms and developers help people in the discovery phase to identify the following factors associated with different stages of app development.

  • Defining the Business Goals
  • Success Measurement
  • Carrying User/Market Research
  • Mapping the Customer Journey
  • Review the Market Competition

This is pretty much the wrapping up of the discovery phase that will give you a proper road map as you go into the next step of app development.

2. Application Designing Phase

The second phase of application development begins with the process of application design which allows the designer to make your app stand out with its unique design, user experience, functionality, and ease of management.  The designing phase starts with;

i) Sketch Drawing: It all begins with sketching. At this phase, the application designer team conceptualizes the app with a paper and pen as well as using online sketching tools. While designing the app, many things are taking into accounts such as user experience, aesthetics, and ease of usability.

ii) Wireframe: Then it comes the time to transfer the sketch onto a tablet and create a black and white model of each section/page of the application. At this point, the design looks more or less like the finished design, without the actual color scheme and content that still needs to be added.

iii) Prototype: This is the final stage in the application designing phase. The prototype is a mockup, none coded and clickable model of the app that looks just like the real application. However, the backend at this stage lies in the future, and the app doesn’t function at this stage.

The designing stage does not necessarily require any coding and programming knowledge. However, a little blend of creativity and art can get you the perfect design for the application.

3. Development Phase

Once the design is ready, there is still a lot of work left to turn the prototype into a fully functional product. From this point, the project is then handed over to programmers who code all the necessary features. Typically the development cycle is divided into two sub-stages.

i) Frontend Development Phase

The front end of an application or software implies to the user side. The face of the application with which the end-user comes to interact with and experience while using the app. The frontend developers primarily focus on the user experience and guarantee a flawless user-friendly experience.

ii) Backend Development Phase

This is the kernel part that drives the app to function flawlessly. Backend usually refers to the server-side of the application which is responsible for all the operations the app is intended to perform.

4. Quality Assurance Phase

Before releasing the application, the IT and Apps development agencies come to the test-and-trail phase. Application is going through various auto and manual tests that ensure the application’s flawless functionality and reliability. At this stage, developers vigilantly look into the application and watch out for any possible glitches and bugs that may hinder the application loading time, app crashing, database management, and compatibility-related issues.

It is easy to proactively fix bugs before releasing the application for commercial use on the app store. Sometimes a little problem can get you a negative review on the store and alienates new subscribers from signing up for your application.

5. Application Release

Once passed from the testing phase, you can publish the application to store for commercial use.

The application then goes through further security of the app stores to make it meet the store guidelines and protocols. Upon clearance, the application is then added to the store where users can download it and add reviews about the function and quality of the application.

6. Post Maintenance

Now that the app is available on the store market, it does not mean that the developer’s work is over. Applications are constantly monitored and polished to enhance functionality and user experience. Furthermore, adding up new features, debugging, and releasing new updates from time to time are the ongoing tasks in the application development life cycle to enhance the end user interaction with the application.

Wrapping Up

Unlike every other product development, application development is also going through various stages until it turns out as a finished product, ready for commercial launch and usage.

In IT and developers jargons, the process is called application development life cycle which involves the phases listed below.

– Discovery: Market Research, Technical Documentations of specification, mapping, and features.

– Design: Design begins with sketching, wireframe, and creating mockup prototypes.

– Development: Frontend and Backing Development

– Quality Assurance: Auto and manual testing

– Release: Deployment to the store.

– Maintenance: Technical Support and further development.

About Author

Muhammad Irshad is digital marketing professional and content marketer, working with FME Extensions – a leading web, software and magento development company in Dubai. Mr. Irshad indulges himself by reading and writing about Tech, eCommerce, Branding, Business Strategy, Business Development, Startups, Entrepreneurship and Innovations. He is sociable and welcomes connects on:



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