Systems Development: System Development Life Cycle

Introduction System Development

Systems Development is the process of defining, designing, testing and implementing a software application. This includes the internal development of customized systems as well as the acquisition of software developed by third parties. System development is also referred to as software development, software engineering or application development. System development includes the management of the entire process of the development of computer software.

System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

Systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a term used in systems engineering, information systems and software engineering to describe a process for planning, creating, testing, and deploying an information system. The systems development lifecycle concept applies to a range of hardware and software configurations, as a system can be composed of hardware only, software only, or a combination of both.

Steps in System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

1. Planning: This is the first phase in the systems development process. It identifies whether or not there is the need for a new system to achieve a business”s strategic objectives. This is a preliminary plan (or a feasibility study) for a company”s business initiative to acquire the resources to build on an infrastructure to modify or improve a service. The company might be trying to meet or exceed expectations for their employees, customers and stakeholders too. The purpose of this step is to find out the scope of the problem and determine solutions. Resources, costs, time, benefits and other items should be considered at this stage.

2. Systems Analysis and Requirements: The second phase is where businesses will work on the source of their problem or the need for a change. In the event of a problem, possible solutions are submitted and analyzed to identify the best fit for the ultimate goals of the project. This is where teams consider the functional requirements of the project or solution. It is also where system analysis takes place—or analyzing the needs of the end users to ensure the new system can meet their expectations. Systems analysis is vital in determining what a business”s needs are, as well as how they can be met, who will be responsible for individual pieces of the project, and what sort of timeline should be expected.

3. Systems Design: The third phase describes, in detail, the necessary specifications, features and operations that will satisfy the functional requirements of the proposed system which will be in place. This is the step for end users to discuss and determine their specific business information needs for the proposed system.

4. Development: The fourth phase is when the real work begins—in particular, when a programmer, network engineer and/or database developer are brought on to do the major work on the project. This work includes using a flow chart to ensure that the process of the system is properly organized. The development phase marks the end of the initial section of the process. Additionally, this phase signifies the start of production. The development stage is also characterized by instillation and change. Focusing on training can be a huge benefit during this phase.

5. Integration and Testing: The fifth phase involves systems integration and system testing of programs and procedures. Testing may be repeated, specifically to check for errors and bugs. This testing will be performed until the end user finds it acceptable.

6. Implementation: The sixth phase is when the majority of the code for the program is written. Additionally, this phase involves the actual installation of the newly-developed system. This step puts the project into production by moving the data and components from the old system and placing them in the new system via a direct cutover.

7. Operations and Maintenance: Final phase involves maintenance and regular required updates. This step is when end users can fine-tune the system, if they wish, to boost performance, add new capabilities or meet additional user requirements.