Software development life cycle (SDLC) is a framework for the development and management of software from the idea to the final product. Understanding SDLC methodologies, knowing the steps involved in the development of software and how to gather and monitor performance is crucial for the development and distribution of high-quality applications. If you are applying for a position as a developer, it is essential to be prepared for questions that evaluate your understanding of SDLC. In this article, Pritish Kumar Halder examines 10 SDLC interview questions and provides example answers to help you prepare for your interview.

10 SDLC interview questions and example answers

Here are 10 SDLC interview questions and their example answers:

1. Describe your professional experience.

Although this is evident in your resume, interviewers often begin with a question like this to gauge your ability to summarise your experience. Highlight your skills and experience to show that you can meet the employer’s expectations.

Example answer: ‘I have been working in software development for five years now. In my most recent role as an agile program manager, I was responsible for the overall coordination of development projects. My key duties were to ensure the completion of projects that met stakeholders’ expectations and adhered to stringent quality standards.’

2. What models have you used to complete software development projects?

This question aims to assess your ability to use the most common SDLC methodologies that software development teams use. You can further enhance your answer by briefly explaining which SDLC model you prefer and why.

Example answer: ‘I used the Spiral model earlier on in my career, but since then I have been using Agile methodology. I am also familiar with the earlier Waterfall, Iterative and Spiral SDLC models. I prefer to follow a Rapid Application Development (RAD) approach because of its emphasis on user feedback.’

3. What is your experience in managing development teams?

The interviewer may ask this question to gain a better understanding of your leadership experience, skills and style. Leadership skills can be a crucial aspect of different roles within the software development life cycle. A suitable way to answer this question is to give an overview of your experience and provide an example of your management capabilities or style.

Example answer: ‘I have four years of experience as a software project manager and prior to that, I was a team lead. One of the most important things when managing a software development team is creating an environment where everyone is comfortable raising concerns and asking for help. As a software project manager, my top priority was fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and transparency.’

4. What can you do to help a team transition to using the RAD method?

A hiring manager may ask this to better understand your ability to implement and manage change within a development team and check your knowledge of the rapid application development (RAD) method. You can answer this question by discussing the steps you can take to transition a team from their current SDLC model to RAD. You can also talk about how you ensured the successful adoption of the RAD method.

Example answer: ‘It is important to ensure that the client and project stakeholders are willing to collaborate, as this is a key component of the RAD model. In addition, I can make sure that the team has a thorough understanding of the RAD method and the reasons for adopting it. Before beginning the first step of the RAD method, I can establish that the team is aware of the objectives and goals of the project and remain accessible throughout the process so that team members can come to me with questions or concerns.’

5. How do you create an SDLC project timeline?

The interviewer may ask this question to gain a better understanding of your ability to manage time-sensitive development projects. You can answer this question by describing the steps you take to create an SDLC project timeline. Focus on how you estimate time requirements and keep projects on schedule.

Example answer: ‘My first step is to consult with the development team to estimate the time requirements for completing each phase of the project. I then use this information along with the historical data to create a project timeline that takes into account all important milestones. I share this timeline with the development team and the project’s stakeholders to resolve any potential issues with the proposed timeline. Then, I work with the team to create a final project timeline that outlines the expected completion time for each task.’

6. What factors would you consider when performing a feasibility assessment?

The interviewer may ask this question to understand your assessment of the feasibility of a project to determine whether it is worth pursuing. Answer this question by discussing the factors you can consider when assessing feasibility. Share any examples of how you have evaluated the feasibility of software development projects in the past.

Example answer: ‘When performing a feasibility assessment, I first ensure that I fully understand the proposal and requirements. Then I assess the technical feasibility by determining if the team has the skills and experience to complete the project. Next, I assess the financial feasibility by performing a cost-benefit analysis to determine if the project is worth pursuing. Finally, I consider the timeline before determining the viability of a project.’

7. How do you establish key performance metrics for software development projects?

The interviewer may ask this to better understand your ability to manage and assess a project’s progress. You can answer this question by discussing what you take into consideration when you establish and implement key performance indicators (KPIs). Mention one or two KPIs that you frequently use and why.

Example answer: ‘There are a few factors I consider when establishing KPIs. I first review the project’s goals and requirements. This helps me choose metrics that correspond to the project’s objectives and provides an accurate reflection of how well the project is progressing. I pay attention to the project’s timescale and budget and elicit feedback from project stakeholders to ensure that the KPIs I establish are relevant to each specific project. When the KPIs receive approval, I work with the development team to establish a schedule to track the KPIs.’

8. What do you find the most challenging phase of SDLC?

The interviewer may ask this question to gain a better understanding of your awareness and experience of the different SDLC phases. You can answer this question by talking about the most challenging phase of SDLC for you and how you overcome challenges during that phase. If you can, link your answer to specific challenges you have faced during an SDLC phase.

Example answer: ‘For me, the most challenging phase of SDLC is design. When designing the structure of the components of a program or system, it can be difficult to balance competing demands and make sure that the design is scalable and efficient. The solution to this challenge has been to spend time discussing the design with the development team, being open to feedback and adapting where necessary.’

9. What do you think is the most important phase of SDLC?

Answering this question gives the interviewer a better understanding of your development experience. In your answer, introduce and explain what you believe is the most important phase of SDLC. If you can, relate your answer to specific examples of challenges you have encountered during your development experience. You can finish your answer by showing how you value that particular phase of SDLC.

Example answer: ‘I believe that the most important phase of SDLC is requirement gathering. This is because it sets the foundation for the rest of the project. As someone responsible for requirement gathering in the past, I have found it useful to consult many stakeholders to develop a clear and detailed understanding of their requirements. I also document the requirements in a clear and concise way to avoid confusion later on in the project.’

10. How do you handle project changes?

The interviewer may ask this question to gain a better understanding of how you handle unexpected changes during the SDLC development process. You can answer this question by describing the approach you take to tackling project changes. You can then provide an example of how you handled project changes in the past.

Example answer: “Changes are an inevitable part of software development. I feel it is essential to maintain open communication with stakeholders when changes occur so they are aware of any effects on development and can make informed decisions. When a change occurs, I work with the development team to assess its impact on the project and its timeline and budget and make any required adjustments.”