Automating the Software Development Life Cycle with Generative AI

By Alok Mehta, CIO Business Systems, Kemper Insurance


In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, the agility and efficiency of software development are paramount across industries. The integration of Generative AI into the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) presents a transformative opportunity to enhance operational efficiency, reduce errors, and accelerate the deployment of new software solutions. This article delves into the journey of automating the SDLC, from initial stakeholder interviews to the creation of a comprehensive traceability matrix, using Generative AI as a pivotal tool.

The Role of Generative AI in SDLC

Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence, is revolutionizing the way software is developed. By automating tasks that traditionally required human intelligence, such as code generation, testing, and even requirement analysis, Generative AI is reshaping the SDLC landscape. The benefits of integrating Generative AI into the SDLC are manifold. Improved accuracy in requirement gathering and feature specification, reduced development time through automated code generation and testing, and enhanced alignment with user requirements are just a few of the advantages. This paradigm shift not only streamlines the development process but also opens new avenues for innovation in software design and functionality.

From Interview Questions to User Stories

The automation journey begins with stakeholder interviews, a critical step in understanding the unique challenges and requirements of different industries. These interviews are the bedrock for developing user stories, which are concise, narrative descriptions of software features from the end-user’s perspective.

For instance, consider a retail company looking to improve its inventory management system: The interview process might reveal that the current system struggles to synchronize inventory between online and physical stores, leading to stock discrepancies, employee frustration and customer dissatisfaction.

Using Generative AI, these insights are transformed into structured user stories in Gherkin format. For example:

  1. Feature: Inventory Management Across Channels

– Scenario: Synchronizing inventory between online and physical stores.

– Given the store has both online and physical sales channels.

– When an item’s inventory is updated in one channel.

– Then the system should automatically update the inventory across all channels.

Similarly, for a healthcare provider aiming to enhance patient experience, interviews might highlight the need for better access to patient histories across various departments.

  1. Feature: Enhanced Patient Care

– Scenario: Healthcare provider accesses patient’s cross-departmental history.

– Given a healthcare provider has access to the patient management system.

– When a patient visits a new department.

– Then the provider should be able to view the patient’s history across all departments.

Developing Test Cases with AI

Once the user stories are defined, the next crucial step is developing test cases. Generative AI significantly streamlines this process. It can analyze user stories and generate detailed test scenarios, ensuring comprehensive coverage of all functionalities. For instance:

  1. User Story: Synchronizing Inventory

– Test Case: Update Inventory in Online Store

– Steps: Log into the online store management system, update the inventory count of a specific item, and verify that the update is reflected in the physical store’s system.

– Test Case: Update Inventory in Physical Store

– Steps: Log into the physical store’s inventory system, adjust the inventory count, and confirm that the change is mirrored in the online store’s system.

  1. User Story: Enhanced Patient Care

– Test Case: Accessing Patient History in a New Department

– Steps: Log into the patient management system as a healthcare provider, access a patient’s profile during their visit to a new department, and check the availability of the patient’s comprehensive history.

Constructing the Traceability Matrix

The traceability matrix is a pivotal tool in SDLC, linking interview questions, user stories, and test cases. It provides a clear roadmap of how each requirement is addressed and validated. Here’s how it might look for our examples:

Interview Question User Story Test Case
How to synchronize inventory between online and physical stores? Synchronizing inventory Update Inventory in Online and Physical Stores
How to enhance patient care across departments? Enhanced Patient Care Accessing Patient History in a New Department

This matrix not only aids in ensuring that all stakeholder requirements are met but also serves as a crucial document for obtaining user sign-off.

Beyond Test Cases: AI in Code Generation and Unit Testing

Alok Mehta
Alok Mehta

The potential of AI in SDLC automation extends beyond creating user stories and test cases. Generative AI can also be employed in generating test scripts, unit test cases, and even source code. This capability significantly reduces manual coding efforts and accelerates the development process. For example, AI can generate a script to test the inventory update functionality in our retail scenario, ensuring that the code behaves as expected under various scenarios.


Automating the SDLC with Generative AI is a strategic move that transcends industry boundaries. It brings many benefits, including improved requirement gathering accuracy, faster development cycles through automated code and test case generation, and better alignment between business needs and technical solutions. This approach not only ensures thorough testing and validation of software features, but also opens new horizons for innovation in software development. As we continue to explore and expand the capabilities of AI in SDLC, the possibilities for enhanced operational efficiencies and competitive advantages seem limitless.