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Table of Contents
This paper researches the System Development Life Cycle and the steps that apply to the development of an information system. In the first section of the paper, the author will introduce the concepts of a system and the definition of the System Development Life Cycle. It will include the small history of the SDLC and the benefits of the life cycle. The Second section will be the steps of the System Development Life Cycle and a small description of the step and what the developer team will do during the process. The last section will include the six common System Development Life Cycle methodologies that are used by professional through their project-based work.
For anyone who starting up in Information Technology or programming or anything to do with systems development, the first lesson is to understand the System-Development Life Cycle or SDLC for short. It enables users to transform a newly-developed project into an operational one. (The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Using a System Development Life Cycle, n.d.)The first thing before understanding the concept of the System-Development Life Cycle is to know what a system is. It is an information technology component including hardware, software or a combination of the two. Each system goes through a development life cycle from initial planning to disposition. The main goal is to move physical or software-based systems through phases.
System Development Life Cycle
The System Development Life Cycle or SDLC, not to be confused with the Software Development Life Cycle. System Development Life Cycle is a multistep process in a methodical way to create a hardware system. (The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle, n.d.) This is used to model or provide a framework for technical and non-technical activities to deliver a quality system to meet the business’s expectations or manage decision-making progression. Familiar to the project life cycle, SDLC is considered as a phased project model that defines organizational, personal, policy and budgeting constraints of a large-scale system project. Teams of SDLC includes project/program manager, software and system engineer, users and the development who handle the multiple layer process. (The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Using a System Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
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System Development Life Cycle was defined in 1971 as the term originated in the 1960s from when mainframe computer could fill the entire room and pressing need developed to define process and equipment based on the business system. Back in those days, teams were small and users were less demanding, this would drive the life cycle of system development. But computer began to evolve, and the system has been complex, and users are well-known to the technology. Today, system development has been adjusted to meet the changing complex needs of each organization and their users. (The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Using a System Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
Benefits of a Well-Defined System Development Life Cycle
There are benefits where deploying an SDLC includes the ability to pre-plan and analyze phases and goals as the processes are not limited to one-size-fits-all. One benefit is that developers have a clear view of the entire project, the people that are working, staffing requirement, a defined, and precise objects. Another is that it provides verification, goals, and deliverable that design and development standing for each step of the project. As well provide developers to having a measure of control through the phases which begins costs analysis and timeframe of when the project will be done. The importance of the System Development Life Cycle is that none of the phases should be overlooked as an oversight could prevent an entire system to function. (The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Using a System Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
Steps of SDLC
The steps of the System Development Life Cycle originally consisted of five steps but now it has been increased to seven phases. The updated seven phases of SDLC can help system analysis to define actions to achieve specific goals. SDLC consists of different stages of the development process. Users who use the cycle approach can see and understand what activities are needed in the appropriate stage. These steps can be repeated or reworked when the system needs to modify or improved. (The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle, n.d.)These steps are from the waterfall model of SDLC, which is the earliest DLC approach as each phase falls to another. (Kay, 2002)
The first stage is the planning process of the system, the purpose is to find out the scope of the problem and determine solutions. It identifies whether or not there is a need for a new system to achieve the business’s main objectives of the system. It involves the aspects of project and product management including human and material resources, capacity planning, project scheduling, costs estimation, and provisioning. Planning for quality assurance requirement and identification of the risks associated as it may define the outcome of the system. This can help development teams to learn about the strength and weaknesses of the current system with improvement as the goal. (The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
Requirement and Requirement Analysis Stage
The second phase of the SDLC is where business will work on the source of the problem or the need for change. When there is a problem in the system, any possible solution is submitted and analyzed to indemnify the best for the main goal of the project. This is where team deliberate with others whether certain requirements of the project are needed. This can help to determine what the business needs, who will be responsible for pieces of the project and the timeframe of when the project will be finished. Requirement analysis is the most important and fundamental stage as it is performed by senior members of the team with inputs from the client and experts in the industry. (The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
Once the requirement is met, developers can be to design by turning the software specification into a design plan called the Design Specification. Developers can use proven design pattern to solve problems in a consistent way, they also including some rapid prototyping also known as a spike. Outputs of the design phase include designing a document that lists the patterns and components selected for the project and coding produced by spikes, used a starting point for development. The Design stage is the step for end users to discuss and determine their specific business information needs for the system during the phases, they will consider the components structure, processing, and procedure for the system to succeed the project’s goals. (Alwan, 2015)
This is where the code is being written from the work of a programmer, network engineer and/or date base developers. This includes using a flow chart to ensure that the process of the organization of the system is proper. This phase marks the end of the initial section of the life cycle and starts the products. (The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
Integration and Testing
This phase involves system integration and system testing which is normally tested by a Quality assurance professional. Their job is to see whether the prosed design meets with the initial set of business goals. Tests are repeated to make sure that the system is cleared for any errors and bugs. It will continue testing until the end user finds the entire system acceptable. (The Seven Phases of the System-Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
This phase is when the majority of the code is written as it involves the actual installation of the new-developed system. This step places the project into production by moving the data and components from the old system and place them in the new system. This move can be risky so the move should happen during off-peak hours so that the risk can be minimized. (The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Using a System Development Life Cycle, n.d.)
The last step is to maintain the new system over time as a process of change and upgrading are constant. This is an ongoing phase as end users can fine-tune the system to boost performance, add new capabilities or to meet user requirements. (Alwan, 2015)
Models of System Development Life Cycle
As mention before, the Waterfall Model is the oldest and well-known of the SDLC models. Its methodologies are that one phase is finished, move to the other as you cannot go back. Each stage relies on the information from the previous stage and has its own project plan. However, early mistakes could throw off the entire project timeline as there is little room for error on the stage is complete. Think of it like a waterfall, where you can only go down not up again. (Kay, 2002)
Known as the Verification and Validation model, the model grew from the Waterfall model and characterized by a testing phase for each development stage. Similar to Water, once you go to one stage you can’t go back. However, it is useful as there are unknown requirements. (Morris, 2018)
The iterative model is repetition incarnate where you implement a set of software requirement then test, evaluate and pinpoint further requirements. You repeat producing a new version of the softer with each phase until the complete system is ready. (Morris, 2018)
The spiral model is one of the most flexible SDLC models as it takes a cue from the Iterative model and its repetition. The project goes into the four phases over and over in a spiral movement until it is complete thus allowing multiple rounds of refinement. The only risk is that you could create a never-ending spiral for a project that goes on and on. (Morris, 2018) This can more accurately reflect the disorderly and chaotic evolution of technology (Kay, 2002)
Big Bang Model
The Big Bang model follows no specific process and spent little time on planning. The resources are thrown toward development and the client may not have a grasp of the requirement of the system. This model is not recommended for the large or complex project as it is a high-risk model, if you misunderstood the requirements, you may have to start all over again. (Morris, 2018)
The Agile model quick deliver a working product and is considered as a realistic development approach. The model produces ongoing releases, each with small changes from the previous release. This model showcases interaction as the client, developer and tester work together throughout the project, however, this model depends on client’s interaction so if the client is not clear the direction, the project could head the wrong way. (Morris, 2018)
System Development Life Cycle is the process of how the system is developed. For developers, it takes seven phases into developing a system where they have to plan, analysis requirements, design, develops, test, implements and maintains the system. Throughout these phases, there may some change in the business, where they may have to repeat the life cycle over and over. The System Development Life Cycle has six common models, however, each of them has their disadvantages which includes that once one phase is completed, you cannot go back. The SDLC of any project can be a time-consuming process even though some steps are difficult than the other, every phase must not be overlooked as they may prevent the entire system from working thus making the timeframe of completion longer.
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