Building your custom software. Understanding the software development life cycle

QTeam Solutions
4 min readMar 21, 2024


Building your custom software. Understanding the software development life cycle

Developing a software product or custom software product is similar to successfully navigating a labyrinth — you need to be precise and take it in stages. At the heart of this process lies the software product development life cycle, a map that helps guide you through the phases of ideation, design, testing, and deployment.

Understanding this complex lifecycle is critical for businesses, big and small, aiming to address the complexities of custom software development while keeping projects on course, within budget, and aligned with market demands.

In this blogpost we will take a closer look at this framework and why it matters.

What is the Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC)

The Product Development Life Cycle, or PDLC for short, is a systematic roadmap steering the creation, development, and maintenance of software products from inception to retirement. It includes a series of phases streamlining the entire process, ensuring a methodical and controlled approach to building successful solutions.

The PDLC typically includes stages such as ideation, planning, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Each stage addresses specific aspects of the software development process, ensuring the end product meets user requirements and industry standards. Below we will go through each of the key steps in the framework and why they are important.

Brainstorming and market research

A custom software product starts with an idea, which usually involves brainstorming concepts that address a specific need or problem. This phase works together with the market research step because there is no sense in having an idea if you don’t validate its viability and potential for success.

Market research helps you as a founder or company assess the current landscape, identify competitors, and understand user needs and preferences. There are many ways to go about this and you can combine them any way you want — surveys, interviews, online research, or data analysis. This research not only gives you insights but also helps your software development team refine their ideas and ensure alignment with market demands.

As an extra tip, the fact that you find that competitors are offering similar solutions to your idea shouldn’t be a deal breaker. You can focus on learning from them and making your future product better. Look at customer reviews on websites such as G2 or Gartner Peer Review. See what customers liked and include something similar in your product. Also, look at what customers didn’t like or are missing and add them to your future software solution.

Product definition

Once you have identified and validated your idea, the next crucial step is product definition. This phase involves translating the conceptualized idea into a well-defined project plan, outlining scope, features, functionalities, and technical specifications.

Having a clear product definition encourages a shared understanding among stakeholders, facilitating accurate estimation of resources, time, and budget requirements. You also need to work on defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure a measurable benchmark for project progress.

A well-defined product scope sets the stage for a successful customs software development process, providing a clear direction for subsequent stages for all parties involved.

Software prototyping

With the product concept and definition established, the next step involves creating a prototype (or an MVP) to visualize and test the proposed solution. Prototyping offers stakeholders a tangible representation of the outcome, facilitating early feedback and ensuring alignment with user expectations. We’ve talked in detail about this step in a previous blog post.

Moreover, this also helps you assess technical, operational, and economic viability, identifying potential challenges and resource requirements. This iterative approach offers you more information based on which you can make better decisions and as a result, minimize the likelihood of costly revisions during later stages.

The sooner you make changes in your software development project the less they cost in terms of money and effort.

Initial design

The initial design phase transitions from conceptualization to laying the foundational blueprints of the software product. Software developers, designers, and software architects collaborate and generate a comprehensive design document outlining system architecture, user interface, and overall structure.

Critical decisions regarding technology stack, database structure, and security considerations are made during this phase. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design criteria also need to be established to ensure seamless functionality and intuitive user interaction.

A well-thought-out initial design provides clarity and direction, minimizing uncertainties throughout the development process.

Software testing and validation

Following the implementation of the initial design, the software product should undergo validation and testing to ensure functionality, performance, and reliability. Rigorous testing procedures identify and rectify defects, ensuring the end product meets specified requirements and quality standards.

Various testing methodologies, including unit testing and user acceptance testing, validate different aspects of the software. This iterative phase reduces post-release issues and enhances overall reliability.

Turn your ideas into software

The software product development life cycle is an iterative and complex journey, that can be subject to challenges and unexpected situations. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced software development partner beside you. QTeam Solutions has a proven track record of success. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses develop, update, and improve their software. We can do the same for you!

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Image by DC Studio on Freepik

Originally published at on March 21, 2024.



QTeam Solutions

Our team delivers complex digital solutions in industries like e-learning, e-commerce and social media marketing