Software Development Lifecycle Templates By Phase (MS Word/Excel)

Download MS Word templates for every phase of the Software Development Lifecycle. Ever wondered what technical documents you need to write for the Software Development LifeCycle? This free Excel spreadsheet identifies all the plans, guides and forms you to create such as those for requirements specification, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and post-deployment maintenance and enhancement.

Download SDLC lifecycle Templates in PDF and Excel

To help you understand what documents you need to write, we’ve prepared these two downloads which show the different stages of the Software Development LifeCycle and the documents required for each stage.

Templates for Software Development LifeCycle – MS Excel

Templates for Software Development LifeCycle – PDF


Note that this is designed mostly for the Waterfall methodology but can be adapted for Scrum, CMMI, RUP and other formats.

SDLC Documents by Phases

  1. Initiation Phase
  2. Concept Development Phase
  3. Planning Phase
  4. Requirements Analysis Phase
  5. Design Phase
  6. Test Phase
  7. Implementation Phase
  8. Disposition Phase

What technical documents are required for the different phases of the software development lifecycle?

Here are the documents broken out by the main waterfall phases. Essentially, this includes manuals, guides, and plans to do the following:

  • Define the project setup
  • Analyze the requirements
  • Design the databases, applications, user interface, and network
  • Code and test the actual software that you’ve developed
  • Verify, validate, and ensure that it can be deployed

The following documents are required for different phases of the software development lifecycle.

Initiation Phase

In the Initiation phase, you need to write the following documents:

Concept Proposal

Describes the need or opportunity to improve existing agency business functions using automation and technology. Identify unmet goals or performance improvements. [Learn more about the Concept Proposal template]

Business Case

Use this to build a Business Case for your project; identify the return on investment for your solution to seek approval by your sponsor. [Learn more about the Business Case template]

Concept Development Phase

The Concept Development Phase typically begins after the Concept Proposal and Project Charter are approved, the Initiation project status review completed, and approval to proceed to the Concept Development Phase is granted.

The purpose of the Concept Development Phase is to:

  • Evaluate the feasibility of alternatives
  • Define and approve project scope, including the system, deliverables, and required activities.

The Concept Development Phase includes the following tasks:

  • Business need analysis
  • Project scope definition
  • Technical alternatives evaluation
  • Project acquisition strategy
  • Risk analysis
  • Project costs approval
  • Roles and responsibilities definition
  • Work breakdown structure definition
  • Project viability creation
  • Approval to progress to the planning phase

In the Concept phase, you need to write the following documents:

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Documents how to calculate and compare benefits and costs of a project or decision. The CBA helps predict whether a project’s benefits or decision outweigh its costs relative to other alternatives.

[Learn more about the Cost Benefit Analysis template]

Use the Cost-Benefit Analysis to:

  • Determine if the project or decision is a sound investment or decision.
  • Compare the total expected cost of each option against the total expected benefits, determine if benefits outweigh the costs, and by how much.

Feasibility Study

Determine whether alternative solutions will satisfy customer requirements. Use the template to rank and score each alternative solution to determine its overall feasibility. [Learn more about the Feasibility Study template]

Risk Management Plan

Identifies potential risks, estimate impacts, and define responses to issues. It also contains a risk assessment matrix. The Risk Management Plan captures likely risks with high and low impact, as well as mitigation strategies should problems arise. Review risk management plans periodically to ensure relevance. [Learn more about the Risk Management Plan template]

System Boundary Document

Use this System Boundary Document template (SBD) to establish the boundaries of an information technology (IT) project. Capture the goals and objectives that the IT project is intended to satisfy. [Learn more about the System Boundary Document template]

Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)

Defines in detail the roles, authority, responsibility, skills, and capacity requirements for all project tasks needed to complete the project. The agency and contractor responsibilities are addressed in the RAM. [Learn more about the RAM template]

Planning Phase

In the Planning phase, you need to write the following documents:

Acquisition Plan

Identifies how and when the required resources will be obtained. [Learn more about the Acquisition Plan template]

Change Management

Details how project changes will be monitored and controlled from project inception through completion. [Learn more about the Change Management Plan template]

Communications Plan

Describes the processes required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and disposition of project information. [Learn more about the Communications Plan template]

Configuration Management Plan

Provide guidelines to manage source code, software builds, build environment and define how to add new components to builds. [Learn more about the Configuration Management Plan template]

Project Plan

Documents the actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate and coordinate planning activities. The Project Plan defines how the project is executed, monitored and controlled, and closed. Update throughout the course of the project. [Learn more about the Project Plan template]

Quality Management Plan

Identify the relevant quality standards and determine how those standards will be satisfied for the project. [Learn more about the Quality Management Plan template]

Risk Management

Details how teams will identify, manage, and mitigate project related risks. Describe how to identify and quantify typical project risks; rate the Likelihood, Impact and Priority of each risk, and the preventative and contingent actions needed to reduce the likelihood of each risk occurring. [Learn more about the Risk Management Plan template]

Scope of Work

Documents the scope of a project and its business case with the high-level requirements, benefits, business assumptions, alternatives analysis, and program costs and schedules. The Scope Statement is used as a baseline and input into the Change Control process for any changes to the project during the lifecycle. [Learn more about  the Scope of Work template]

Security Plan

Scope, approach, and resources required to assure system security. [Learn more about the Security Plan template]

Verification and Validation Plan

Determines if a systems or component satisfies operational and system requirements. Verification and Validation Plan requirements provide direction for software developers to gauge the progress of a program and determine if operational requirements meet to Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) and Capability Development Document (CDD). [Learn more about this Verification and Validation Plan template]

Requirements Analysis Phase

The purpose of the Requirements Analysis Phase is to transform requirements specified in earlier phases into unambiguous, traceable, complete, consistent, and stakeholder-approved requirements.

The Requirements Analysis Phase involves:

  • Defining the approved requirements
  • Creating the System Requirements Document and Requirements Traceability Matrix
  • Developing test activities
  • Approval to progress to the Design Phase

In the Requirements Analysis phase, you need to write the following documents:

Business Rules

Define business rules to perform a business task. Use business rules to allocate resources, calculate forecasts, determine variances, or find key performance indicators. Create business rules to run queries, seed data, or move balances from one period to another. Scheduled or run business rules directly. [Learn more about the Business Rule template]

Concept of Operations

Describes the characteristics of the proposed system from the users’ perspectives. Outline the system’s functional requirements, including, but not limited to: functional requirements, data requirements, system interface requirements, and non-functional requirements. [Learn more about the Concept of Operations template]

Business Requirements Document

Use this Business Requirements Specification template (MS Word 24 pages) to capture the current and future needs of your business. Business Analysts use this to captures WHAT is required so that Software Developers then take these requirements and determine HOW these needs are to be met. This template pack includes a 24-page Business Requirements Specification, Use Case, Requirements Traceability Matrix and Data Model templates in Microsoft Word, Excel and Visio. [Learn more about this template]

Functional Requirements Document

Defines the system inputs, processes, outputs and interfaces. Use different techniques to collect and represent the functional requirements depending on the type of project and customer. [Learn more about Functional Requirements template]

Interface Control Document

Describes the interface(s) to a system or subsystem, inputs and outputs of a single system, or interface between two systems or subsystems. Document the relationship between system components in terms of data items and messages passed, protocols observed and timing and sequencing of events. Interface Control Documents (ICD) are a key element of systems engineering as they define and control the interface(s) of a system, and thereby bound its requirements. [Learn more about this template]

Requirements Traceability Matrix

A table that links requirements to their origins and traces them throughout the project life cycle. Developing the RTM helps to ensure that each requirement adds business value and that approved requirements are delivered. [Learn more about this template]

Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)

Defines in detail the roles, authority, responsibility, skills, and capacity requirements for all project tasks needed to complete the project. SBE and contractor responsibilities are addressed in the RAM. [Learn more about this template]

Test Master Plan

Documents the scope, content, methodology, sequence, management of, and responsibilities for test activities. Based on the FRD’s Requirements Traceability Matrix and includes the planned test activities to address user requirements including the levels of tests that take place during development: integration, system, and UAT, and planning. It describes the milestones, schedules, and resources needed to support testing. Use this Test Plan template (29 page MS Word) to document the strategy that will be used to verify and ensure that a software product or system meets its design specifications and other requirements. It will help you define Release Criteria, identify Test Deliverables, prepare Budget Costs and describe the test environment to be used for the testing. [Learn more about the Test Plan template]

Work Breakdown Structure

Defines all project activities from planning to implementation. Primary input source for the development and execution of the Project Schedule and timelines. [Learn more about this template]


Defines the high-level scope and purpose of a program, product, or project. Outlines the problem, proposed solution, and high-level features to establish expectations and reduce risks.

Use Cases

Defines a sequence of actions that yields an observable result of value. The use case provides a structure to express functional requirements within the context of business and system processes. You can diagram and/or document use case scenarios. 9 MS Visio templates. 29-page tutorial, and free Excel Data Dictionary. [Learn more about the Use Case templates]

Design Phase

In the Design phase, you need to write the following documents:

Bill of Materials

Use this BOM template pack (MS Word & Excel) to list the parts for building a product, including software application, infrastructure equipment and physical buildings. [Learn more about this template]

Business Rules

Define specific aspects of your business. Business rules clarify the appropriate action that needs to be taken and removes any ambiguity regarding the correct course of action that must be followed. Business rules describe how company policies or practices apply to a specific business activity. As you model your business processes, you can capture business rules as separate elements and weave them into your process flows. [Learn more about this template]

Conversion Plan

Use this Conversion Plan template (19 page MS Word template) to document your conversion types, security , strategy, data conversion , tasks, planning, and conversion requirements. Describes strategies to convert data from one system to another hardware or software environment. [Learn more about this template]

Disaster Recovery Plan

Requirements designed to restore operability of system, applications due to any extended interruption of the agency’s business services. 32 page DR plan with Impact Analysis, Damage Assessment & Reports. Document the process, policies and procedures to prepare for recovery or continuation of services following a disaster. [Learn more about DR Plan template]

Implementation Plan

Describes how to deploy and install the system into an operational environment. Provides an overview of the system, description of the major implementation tasks, resources required to support the implementation (such as hardware, software, facilities, materials, and personnel), and site-specific implementation requirements. Update during the Development Phase. [Learn more about this template]

Maintenance Manual

Documents the system procedures required to install, configure and support the system. Created during design phase, revised during construction and test phases, and finalized in the implementation phase. This template contains emergency response procedures; backup arrangements, procedures, and responsibilities; and post-disaster recovery procedures and responsibilities. [Learn more about this template]

Operations Manual

Provides System Admins and computer operators with a operational description of the system and its associated environments. Document procedures and information required run a system, product or application. Includes scheduled operations, tasks, troubleshooting, audits, tables, charts, and matrices for monitoring, backups, scheduling. [Learn more about this Operations Manual template]

System Design Document

Defines the construct details of each of the system components and interaction with other components and external systems including interfaces. Provides a system architecture of the components of a program or system, their interrelationships and the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time. [Learn more about this template]

Software Development Plan

Use this Software Development Plan template to gather all information required to manage the project. It captures a number of artifacts developed during the Inception phase and is maintained throughout the software development project. [Learn more about this template]

System Administration Manual

Provides System Admin personnel and computer operators with a detailed description of the system and its associated environments, such as operations and procedures. [Learn more about this template]

Training Plan

Identifies the users and how they will be trained to use the new product. Generally required for large projects. [Learn more about this template]

User Manual

Provides the information necessary to use the system. Typically described are system or component capabilities, limitations, options, inputs, expected outputs, error messages, and special instructions. [Learn more about this template]

Development Phase

In the Development phase, you need to write the following documents:

Contingency Plan

Identifies emergency response procedures; backup arrangements, procedures, and responsibilities; and post-disaster recovery procedures and responsibilities. Ensures that systems can recover from processing disruptions in the event of emergencies or large-scale disasters. Contingency Plans are synonymous with disaster and emergency plans. [Learn more about this template]

Conversion Plan

Describes the strategies and approaches for migrating data from the existing system(s). [Learn more about this template]

Implementation Plan

Define all planned activities to ensure successful implementation into production operations. [Learn more about this template]

Integration Document

Describes how the software components, hardware components, or both are combined and their interactions. [Learn more about this template]

Software Development Document

Documents the development of each unit or module, including test cases, software, test results, approvals, and any other items that explain the software functionality. [Learn more about this template]

Training Plan

Documents the technical and user training needed on the new systems. [Learn more about this template]

Test Phase

In the Test phase, you need to write the following documents:

Acceptance Test Plan

Describes the test process, procedures and tools to ensure that software packages meet their requirements. [Learn more about the Acceptance Test Plan template]

Implementation Phase

In the Implementation phase, you need to write the following documents:

Release Notes

Summarizes the current release; typically includes new features and changes and identifies known problems and workarounds. [Learn more about the Release Notes template]

Standard Operating Procedures

Documents the details of the business processes related to the operations and maintenance of the systems. [Learn more about this template]

Deployment Plan

Describes how to deploy and install the system. Contains an overview of the system, description of the major tasks involved in the implementation, resources needed to support the implementation effort (i.e. hardware, software, facilities, materials, and personnel), and site-specific implementation requirements. [Learn more about this template]

Disposition Phase

In the Disposition phase, you need to write the following documents:

Disposition Plan

Describes the requirements to dispose of the current system. Identifies how to terminate the system/data, when to terminate, dispose and preserve system components and equipment. [Learn more about this template]

Post-Termination Review Report

Documents the Disposition Phase Review findings and lessons learned from closing and archiving the terminated system; identifies the repository for all archived products and documentation.

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These are the templates you need for documenting a Software Development project, especially when using the Waterfall methodology.

Need week, we will look at what you need for other SDLC methodologies, such as Agile and RUP.