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Systems Development Life Cycle

For other uses, see SDLC (disambiguation).

Model of the Systems Development Life Cycle with the Maintenance bubble highlighted.

The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), or Software Development Life Cycle insystems engineering, information systems and software engineering, is the process of creating or altering systems, and the models and methodologies that people use to develop these systems. The concept generally refers to computer or information systems. In software engineering the SDLC concept underpins many kinds of software development methodologies. These methodologies form the framework for planning and controlling the creation of an information system[1]: the software development process.

1 Overview 2 History 3 Systems development phases

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3.1 System analysis 3.2 Design 3.3 Implementation 3.4 Testing 3.5 Operations and maintenance

4 Systems development life cycle topics

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4.1 Management and control 4.2 Work breakdown structured organization 4.3 Baselines in the SDLC 4.4 Complementary to SDLC

5 Strengths and weaknesses 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

Systems and Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process used by a systems analyst to develop an information system, includingrequirements, validation, training, and user (stakeholder) ownership. Any SDLC should result in a high quality system that meets or exceeds customer expectations, reaches completion within time and cost estimates, works effectively and efficiently in the current and plannedInformation Technology infrastructure, and is inexpensive to maintain and cost-effective to enhance.[2] Computer systems are complex and often (especially with the recent rise of Service-Oriented Architecture) link multiple traditional systems potentially supplied by different software vendors. To manage this level of complexity, a number of SDLC models have been created: "waterfall"; "fountain"; "spiral"; "build and fix"; "rapid prototyping"; "incremental"; and "synchronize and stabilize".[citation needed] SDLC models can be described along a spectrum of agile to iterative to sequential. Agile methodologies, such as XP and Scrum, focus on light-weight processes which allow for rapid changes along the development cycle. Iterative methodologies, such as Rational Unified Processand Dynamic Systems Development Method, focus on limited project scopes and expanding or improving products by multiple iterations. Sequential or bigdesign-upfront (BDUF) models, such as Waterfall, focus on complete and correct planning to guide large projects and risks to successful and predictable results[citation needed]. Other models, such as Anamorphic Development, tend to focus on a form of development that is guided by project scope and adaptive iterations of feature development. In project management a project can be defined both with a project life cycle (PLC) and an SDLC, during which slightly different activities occur. According to Taylor (2004) "the project life cycle encompasses all the activities of the project, while the systems development life cycle focuses on realizing the product requirements".[3]


The systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a type of methodology used to describe the process for building information systems, intended to develop information systems in a very deliberate, structured and methodical way, reiterating each stage of the life cycle. The systems development life cycle, according to Elliott & Strachan & Radford (2004), "originated in the 1960s to develop large scale functional business systems in an age of large scale business conglomerates. Information systems activities revolved around heavy data processing and number crunching routines".[4] Several systems development frameworks have been partly based on SDLC, such as the Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method(SSADM) produced for the UK government Office of Government Commerce in the 1980s. Ever since, according to Elliott (2004), "the traditional life cycle approaches to systems development have been increasingly replaced with alternative approaches and frameworks, which attempted to overcome some of the inherent deficiencies of the traditional SDLC".[4]

Systems development phases

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The System Development Life Cycle framework provides system designers and developers to follow a sequence of activities. It consists of a set of steps or phases in which each phase of the SDLC uses the results of the previous one. A Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) adheres to important phases that are essential for developers, such as planning, analysis,design, and implementation, and are explained in the section below. A number of system development life cycle (SDLC) models have been created: waterfall, fountain, spiral, build and fix, rapid prototyping, incremental, and synchronize and stabilize. The oldest of these, and the best known, is the waterfall model: a sequence of stages in which the output of each stage becomes the input for the next. These stages can be characterized and divided up in different ways, including the following [5]:

Project planning, feasibility study: Establishes a high-level view of the intended project and determines its goals.

Systems analysis, requirements definition: Refines project goals into defined functions and operation of the intended application. Analyzes end-user information needs.

Systems design: Describes desired features and operations in detail, including screen layouts, business rules, process diagrams, pseudocode and other documentation.

Implementation: The real code is written here.

Integration and testing: Brings all the pieces together into a special testing environment, then checks for errors, bugs and interoperability.

Acceptance, installation, deployment: The final stage of initial development, where the software is put into production and runs actual business.

Maintenance: What happens during the rest of the software's life: changes, correction, additions, moves to a different computing platform and more. This, the least glamorous and perhaps most important step of all, goes on seemingly forever.

In the following example (see picture) these stage of the Systems Development Life Cycle are divided in ten steps from definition to creation and modification of IT work products:

The tenth phase occurs when the system is disposed of and the task performed is either eliminated or transferred to other systems. The tasks and work products for each phase are described in subsequent chapters.

Not every project will require that the phases be sequentially executed. However, the phases are interdependent. Depending upon the size and complexity of the project, phases may be combined or may overlap.[6]

System analysis
The goal of system analysis is to determine where the problem is in an attempt to fix the system. This step involves breaking down the system in different pieces to analyze the situation, analyzing project goals, breaking down what needs to be created and attempting to engage users so that definite requirements can be defined. Requirements analysis sometimes requires individuals/teams from client as well as service provider sides to get detailed and accurate requirements....often there has to be a lot of communication to and from to understand these requirements. Requirement gathering is the most crucial aspect as many times communication gaps arise in this phase and this leads to validation errors and bugs in the software program.

In systems design the design functions and operations are described in detail, including screen layouts, business rules, process diagrams and other documentation. The output of this stage will describe the new system as a collection of modules or subsystems. The design stage takes as its initial input the requirements identified in the approved requirements document. For each requirement, a set of one or more design elements will be produced as a result of interviews, workshops, and/or prototype efforts. Design elements describe the desired software features in detail, and generally include functional hierarchy diagrams, screen layout diagrams, tables of business rules, business process diagrams, pseudocode, and a complete entity-relationship diagram with a full data dictionary. These design elements are intended to describe the software in sufficient detail that skilled programmers may develop the software with minimal additional input design.

Modular and subsystem programming code will be accomplished during this stage. Unit testing and module testing are done in this stage by the developers. This stage is intermingled with the next in that individual modules will need testing before integration to the main project.

The code is tested at various levels in software testing. Unit, system and user acceptance testings are often performed. This is a grey area as many different opinions exist as to what the stages of testing are and how much if any iteration occurs. Iteration is not generally part of the waterfall model, but usually some occur at this stage.

Following are the types of testing:

Data set testing. Unit testing System testing Integration testing Black box testing White box testing Regression testing Automation testing User acceptance testing Performance testing Production process that ensures that the program performs the intended task.

Operations and maintenance

The deployment of the system includes changes and enhancements before the decommissioning or sunset of the system. Maintaining the system is an important aspect of SDLC. As key personnel change positions in the organization, new changes will be implemented, which will require system updates.

Systems development life cycle topics

Management and control

SDLC Phases Related to Management Controls.[7]

The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) phases serve as a programmatic guide to project activity and provide a flexible but consistent way to conduct projects to a depth matching the scope of the project. Each of the SDLC phase objectives are described in this section with key deliverables, a description of recommended tasks, and a summary of related control objectives for effective management. It is critical for the project manager to establish and monitor control objectives during each SDLC phase while executing projects. Control objectives help to provide a clear statement of the desired result or purpose and should be used throughout the entire SDLC process. Control objectives can be grouped into major categories (Domains), and relate to the SDLC phases as shown in the figure.[7] To manage and control any SDLC initiative, each project will be required to establish some degree of a Work Breakdown Structure(WBS) to capture and schedule the work necessary to complete the project. The WBS and all programmatic material should be kept in the Project Description section of the project notebook. The WBS format is mostly left to the project manager to establish in a way that best describes the project work. There are some key areas that must be defined in the WBS as part of the SDLC policy. The following diagram describes three key areas that will be addressed in the WBS in a manner established by the project manager. [7]

Work breakdown structured organization

Work Breakdown Structure.[7]

The upper section of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) should identify the major phases and milestones of the project in a summary fashion. In addition, the upper section should provide an overview of the full scope and timeline of the project and will be part of the initial project description effort leading to project approval. The middle section of the WBS is based on the seven Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) phases as a guide for WBS task development. The WBS elements should consist of milestones and tasks as opposed to activities and have a definitive period (usually two weeks or more). Each task must have a measurable output (e.g. document, decision, or analysis). A WBS task may rely on one or more activities (e.g. software engineering, systems engineering) and may require close coordination with other tasks, either internal or external to the project. Any part of the project needing support from contractors should have a Statement of work (SOW) written to include the appropriate tasks from the SDLC phases. The development of a SOW does

not occur during a specific phase of SDLC but is developed to include the work from the SDLC process that may be conducted by external resources such as contractors and struct.[7]

Baselines in the SDLC

Baselines are an important part of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). These baselines are established after four of the five phases of the SDLC and are critical to the iterative nature of the model . [8] Each baseline is considered as a milestone in the SDLC.

Functional Baseline: established after the conceptual design phase. Allocated Baseline: established after the preliminary design phase. Product Baseline: established after the detail design and development phase. Updated Product Baseline: established after the production construction phase.

Complementary to SDLC
Complementary Software development methods to Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) are:

Software Prototyping Joint Applications Design (JAD) Rapid Application Development (RAD) Extreme Programming (XP); extension of earlier work in Prototyping and RAD. Open Source Development End-user development Object Oriented Programming

Comparison of Methodology Approaches (Post, & Anderson 2006) [9] SDLC Control Time Frame Users MIS staff Formal Long Many Many RAD MIS Short Few Few Open Source Weak Medium Few Hundreds Both Weak Internal Unknown Maybe Objects Standards Any Varies Split Both Windows In Objects In Objects Vital JAD Joint Medium Few Few DSS Crucial Limited Limited Limited Prototyping User Short End User User Short

One or Two One One or Two None DSS Crucial Weak Weak Weak DSS Crucial None Weak None

Transaction/DSS Transaction Both Interface Documentation and training Integrity and security Reusability Minimal Vital Vital Limited Minimal Limited Vital Some

Strengths and weaknesses

Few people in the modern computing world would use a strict waterfall model for their Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as many modern methodologies have superseded this thinking. Some will argue that the SDLC no longer applies to models like Agile computing, but it is still a term widely in use in Technology circles. The SDLC practice has advantages in traditional models of software development, that lends itself more to a structured environment. The disadvantages to using the SDLC methodology is when there is need for iterative development or (i.e. web development or e-commerce) where stakeholders need to review on a regular basis the software being designed. Instead of viewing SDLC from a strength or weakness perspective, it is far more important to take the best practices from the SDLC model and apply it to whatever may be most appropriate for the software being designed. A comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of SDLC:

Strength and Weaknesses of SDLC [9] Strengths Control. Monitor Large projects. Detailed steps. Weaknesses Increased development time. Increased development cost. Systems must be defined up front.

Evaluate costs and completion targets. Rigidity. Documentation. Well defined user input. Ease of maintenance. Development and design standards. Tolerates changes in MIS staffing.
An alternative to the SDLC is Rapid Application Development, which combines prototyping, Joint Application Development and implementation of CASE tools. The advantages of RAD are speed, reduced development cost, and active user involvement in the development process. It should not be assumed that just because the waterfall model is the oldest original SDLC model that it is the most efficient system. At one time the model was beneficial mostly to the world of automating activities that were assigned to clerks and accountants. However, the world of technological evolution is demanding [citation

Hard to estimate costs, project overruns. User input is sometimes limited.

that systems have a greater functionality that would assist help desk technicians/administrators or

information technology specialists/analysts.

Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method

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Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method (SSADM) is a systems approach to the analysis and design of information systems. SSADM was produced for the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (now Office of Government Commerce), a UK governmentoffice concerned with the use of technology in government, from 1980 onwards.

1 Overview 2 History 3 SSADM techniques 4 Stages

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4.1 Stage 0 - Feasibility study 4.2 Stage 1 - Investigation of the current environment 4.3 Stage 2 - Business system options 4.4 Stage 3 - Requirements specification 4.5 Stage 4 - Technical system options 4.6 Stage 5 - Logical design 4.7 Stage 6 - Physical design

5 Advantages and disadvantages 6 References 7 External links

SSADM is a waterfall method by which an Information System design can be arrived at. SSADM can be thought to represent a pinnacle of the rigorous document-led approach to system design, and contrasts with more contemporary Rapid Application Development methods such as DSDM. SSADM is one particular implementation and builds on the work of different schools of structured analysis and development methods, such as Peter Checkland's Soft Systems Methodology, Larry Constantine's Structured Design, Edward Yourdon's Yourdon Structured Method, Michael A. Jackson's Jackson Structured Programming, and Tom DeMarco's Structured Analysis. The names "Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method" and "SSADM" are now Registered Trade Marks of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which is an Office of the United Kingdom's Treasury.[citation needed]


1980: Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) evaluate analysis and design methods. 1981: Learmonth & Burchett Management Systems (LBMS) method chosen from shortlist of five. 1983: SSADM made mandatory for all new information system developments 1984: Version 2 of SSADM released 1986: Version 3 of SSADM released, adopted by NCC 1988: SSADM Certificate of Proficiency launched, SSADM promoted as open standard 1989: Moves towards Euromethod, launch of CASE products certification scheme 1990: Version 4 launched 1993: SSADM V4 Standard and Tools Conformance Scheme Launched 1995: SSADM V4+ announced, V4.2 launched

SSADM techniques
The three most important techniques that are used in SSADM are: Logical Data Modeling This is the process of identifying, modeling and documenting the data requirements of the system being designed. The data are separated into entities (things about which a business needs to record information) and relationships (the associations between the entities). Data Flow Modeling This is the process of identifying, modeling and documenting how data moves around an information system. Data Flow Modeling examines processes (activities that transform data from one form to another), data stores (the holding areas for data), external entities (what sends data into a system or receives data from a system), and data flows (routes by which data can flow). Entity Behavior Modeling This is the process of identifying, modeling and documenting the events that affect each entity and the sequence in which these events occur.

The SSADM method involves the application of a sequence of analysis, documentation and design tasks concerned with the following.

Stage 0 - Feasibility study

In order to determine whether or not a given project is feasible, there must be some form of investigation into the goals and implications of the project. For very small scale projects this

may not be necessary at all as the scope of the project is easily apprehended. In larger projects, the feasibility may be done but in an informal sense, either because there is not time for a formal study or because the project is a must-have and will have to be done one way or the other. When a feasibility study is carried out, there are four main areas of consideration:

Technical - is the project technically possible? Financial - can the business afford to carry out the project? Organizational - will the new system be compatible with existing practices? Ethical - is the impact of the new system socially acceptable?

To answer these questions, the feasibility study is effectively a condensed version of a fullyblown systems analysis and design. The requirements and users are analyzed to some extent, some business options are drawn up and even some details of the technical implementation. The product of this stage is a formal feasibility study document. SSADM specifies the sections that the study should contain including any preliminary models that have been constructed and also details of rejected options and the reasons for their rejection.

Stage 1 - Investigation of the current environment

This is one of the most important stages of SSADM. The developers of SSADM understood that though the tasks and objectives of a new system may be radically different from the old system, the underlying data will probably change very little. By coming to a full understanding of the data requirements at an early stage, the remaining analysis and design stages can be built up on a firm foundation. In almost all cases there is some form of current system even if it is entirely composed of people and paper. Through a combination of interviewing employees, circulating questionnaires, observations and existing documentation, the analyst comes to full understanding of the system as it is at the start of the project. This serves many purposes:

the analyst learns the terminology of the business, what users do and how they do it the old system provides the core requirements for the new system faults, errors and areas of inefficiency are highlighted and their reparation added to the requirements

the data model can be constructed the users become involved and learn the techniques and models of the analyst

the boundaries of the system can be defined

The products of this stage are:

Users Catalogue describing all the users of the system and how they interact with it Requirements Catalogues detailing all the requirements of the new system Current Services Description further composed of Current environment logical data structure (ERD) Context diagram (DFD) Levelled set of DFDs for current logical system Full data dictionary including relationship between data stores and entities

To produce the models, the analyst works through the construction of the models as we have described. However, the first set of data-flow diagrams (DFDs) are the current physical model, that is, with full details of how the old system is implemented. The final version is the current logical model which is essentially the same as the current physical but with all reference to implementation removed together with any redundancies such as repetition of process or data. In the process of preparing the models, the analyst will discover the information that makes up the users and requirements catalogues.

Stage 2 - Business system options

Having investigated the current system, the analyst must decide on the overall design of the new system. To do this, he or she, using the outputs of the previous stage, develops a set of business system options. These are different ways in which the new system could be produced varying from doing nothing to throwing out the old system entirely and building an entirely new one. The analyst may hold a brainstorming session so that as many and various ideas as possible are generated. The ideas are then collected to form a set of two or three different options which are presented to the user. The options consider the following:

the degree of automation the boundary between the system and the users the distribution of the system, for example, is it centralized to one office or spread out across several?


impact of the new system

Where necessary, the option will be documented with a logical data structure and a level 1 data-flow diagram. The users and analyst together choose a single business option. This may be one of the ones already defined or may be a synthesis of different aspects of the existing options. The output of this stage is the single selected business option together with all the outputs of stage 1.

Stage 3 - Requirements specification

This is probably the most complex stage in SSADM. Using the requirements developed in stage 1 and working within the framework of the selected business option, the analyst must develop a full logical specification of what the new system must do. The specification must be free from error, ambiguity and inconsistency. By logical, we mean that the specification does not say how the system will be implemented but rather describes what the system will do. To produce the logical specification, the analyst builds the required logical models for both the data-flow diagrams (DFDs) and the entity relationship diagrams (ERDs). These are used to produce function definitions of every function which the users will require of the system, entity life-histories (ELHs) and effect correspondence diagrams, these are models of how each event interacts with the system, a complement to entity life-histories. These are continually matched against the requirements and where necessary, the requirements are added to and completed. The product of this stage is a complete Requirements Specification document which is made up of:

the updated Data Catalogue the updated Requirements Catalogue the Processing Specification which in turn is made up of user role/function matrix function definitions required logical data model entity life-histories effect correspondence diagrams

Though some of these items may be unfamiliar to you, it is beyond the scope of this unit to go into them in great detail.

Stage 4 - Technical system options

This stage is the first towards a physical implementation of the new system. Like the Business System Options, in this stage a large number of options for the implementation of the new system are generated. This is honed down to two or three to present to the user from which the final option is chosen or synthesised. However, the considerations are quite different being:

the hardware architectures the software to use the cost of the implementation the staffing required the physical limitations such as a space occupied by the system the distribution including any networks which that may require the overall format of the human computer interface

All of these aspects must also conform to any constraints imposed by the business such as available money and standardisation of hardware and software. The output of this stage is a chosen technical system option.

Stage 5 - Logical design

Though the previous level specifies details of the implementation, the outputs of this stage are implementation-independent and concentrate on the requirements for the human computer interface. The three main areas of activity are the definition of the user dialogues. These are the main interfaces with which the users will interact with the system. The logical design specifies the main methods of interaction in terms of menu structures and command structures. The other two activities are concerned with analyzing the effects of events in updating the system and the need to make enquiries about the data on the system. Both of these use the events, function descriptions and effect correspondence diagrams produced in stage 3 to determine precisely how to update and read data in a consistent and secure way. The product of this stage is the logical design which is made up of:

Data catalogue Required logical data structure

Logical process model which includes dialogues and model for the update and enquiry processes

Stage 6 - Physical design

This is the final stage where all the logical specifications of the system are converted to descriptions of the system in terms of real hardware and software. This is a very technical stage and an simple overview is presented here. The logical data structure is converted into a physical architecture in terms of database structures. The exact structure of the functions and how they are implemented is specified. The physical data structure is optimized where necessary to meet size and performance requirements. The product is a complete Physical Design which could tell software engineers how to build the system in specific details of hardware and software and to the appropriate standards.

Advantages and disadvantages

Using this methodology involves a significant undertaking which may not be suitable to all projects. The main advantages of SSADM are:

Three different views of the system Mature Separation of logical and physical aspects of the system Well-defined techniques and documentation User involvement

The size of SSADM is a big hindrance to using it in all circumstances. There is a large investment in cost and time in training people to use the techniques. The learning curve is considerable as not only are there several modeling techniques to come to terms with, but there are also a lot of standards for the preparation and presentation of documents.

External links

What is SSADM? at SSADM Version 4.3 Structural Standards Introduction to Methodologies and SSADM Case study using pragmatic SSADM Structured Analysis Wiki