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What is software development ?

People sometimes ask an important question – what is the meaning or exact definition of software development, and there are no easy answers to this one. But if one were to try, and try to go through the activities from start to end, to a point where a logical conclusion is reached, a possible definition of software development is by relating to the needs of the customer. So software development could be through of as the actual process used to take the customer needs and convert them into a final product that meets the needs of the customer, either completely or to some extent (with the assumption that the deviation from the customer needs is done through a period of discussion with the customer). And when you get into details of this process, then the process breaks down into a number of smaller steps or processes (which of course could be broken down into even smaller steps or processes to some extent); the broad level of steps such as generation of requirements through customer interaction, using these requirements to generate specifications / requirements, taking these requirements and generating design and architecture with the design being composed of 2 parts – high level and low level design, leading to the process of coding (development) where design gets converted to actual addition or modification of code, this code (in the form of a product) is tested in the process of verification (testing), further sub-stages of alpha testing, beta testing, leading to review at the customer end forming customer acceptance testing, for products that are not meant for a specific customer the steps of product marketing plans design and development leading to a shrink wrapped retail chain, and so on. In addition, there are numerous other steps involved such as configuration management, legal overview, pricing strategies, software development models, and so on.
I will be writing more about a number of such strategies and processes in posts in this blog. If there are specific items you need information on, please let me know.

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