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The System Development Life Cycle Overview

The System Development Life Cycle Overview

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Published by: Syed Atif Ali Naushahi on Dec 08, 2012
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10/25/2013

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The System Development Life Cycle Overview
Information systems and products do not just 'happen' - they are usually the result of a process thatidentifies problems and creates solutions to them. The most successful information technology systemsare those that are able to properly solve problems within an organization. The development of informationproducts and systems will usually follow a process that involves a number of distinct phases.There are a number of names that this process is given, including: system life cycle, system developmentlife cycle and system development methodology. We will use the term system development life cycle(SDLC) however, any of the other terms could be used interchangeably. Each of the phases has a seriesof events or steps that are completed in order to arrive at the final product.
 
The Planning Phase
When radio station 3RRR made a major transition from an outdated network to the installationand configuration of a new networked information system, Kath Letch, RRR Station Manager,oversaw the implementation. View a video that explores what the planning stage of this projectinvolved.There are many factors which may prompt change within organizations. Some examplesinclude:
 
A change in government policy
 
The introduction of new, or amendment to existing, legislation
 
Market trends
 
Community attitudes and values
 
Availability and cost of equipment
 
Desire for increased competitiveness
 
Employment agreements
 
Health and safety.Regardless of the reason, the development of any computer based information system shouldreceive careful planning. Proper planning is important as it allows:
 
the scope of the project to be defined
 
potential problem areas to be identified
 
the sequence of the tasks to be identified
 
For the provision of a basis for control.The planning phase will normally follow a sequence of steps including:
 
recognizing the problem
 
defining the problem
 
setting project objectives
 
identifying constraints
 
conducting feasibility studies
 
creating project proposals
 
Establishing control mechanisms.
 
A
Gantt chart
may be used to assist in the planning of a new system.Note - the planning that takes places in this process is not the planning of the program orsystem, rather, it is the initial steps that take place to define the project and set the objectivesthat will be used to evaluate the overall success of the final solution.
The Analysis Phase
 
The analysis phase of the SDLC is where existing system(s) are studied with the aims of designing a new or improved system. In this phase, a number of important decisions are made -including who will work on the system, and the setting of specific performance goals for thesystem to achieve.Data must be gathered on the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system by usingmethods such as:
 
observation
 
research
 
interviewing
 
sampling to trace procedural paths and information flowsThe analysis phase has the following steps:
 
announcing the project
 
creating the project team
 
defining information needs
 
defining system performance criteria
 
creating a design proposalAt the conclusion of the analysis phase a decision on whether or not to proceed with theproject must be made. This decision will be made based upon the information that is containedwithin the design proposal - hence it is important that the design proposal clearly identifieswhat resources will be required to complete the project and sets the major goals and the timeframe for the completion of the project.

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