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SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT LIFE CYCLE

SDLC is composed of a number of clearly defined and distinct work phases which are used by
systems engineers and systems developers to plan for, design, build, test, and deliver information
systems.

Aim: Produce High Quality Systems

Purpose: Meet Customer Expectations

The objectives and sequence of systems development life cycle (SDLC) activities are
logical and generally accepted by experts in the systems community, and are generally
treated as “best practices” for systems development.

The first seven phases of the SDLC describe the activities that all new systems
should undergo. New systems development involves conceptual steps that can apply to
any problem-solving process:

 identify the problem


 understand what needs to be done
 consider alternative solutions
 select the best solution
 implement the solution

An eighth step, systems maintenance, constitutes the organization’s program change


procedures. It begins once the seven phases are complete and the system is fully implemented.
Systems Planning- Phase I
- its objective is to link individual system projects or applications to the strategic objectives of
the firm
- the basis for the systems plan is the organization’s business plan
- there must be congruence between the individual projects and the business plan, or the firm
may fail to meet its objectives.

Who should Do Systems Planning?

Systems steering committee that may include:

- the chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, the chief information officer, senior
management from user areas, the internal auditor, and senior management from computer
services. External parties, such as management, consultants and the firm’s external auditors,
may also supplement the committee.

Their typical responsibilities include the following:

 Resolving conflicts that arise from new systems


 Reviewing projects and assigning priorities
 Budgeting funds for systems development
 Reviewing the status of individual projects under development
 Determining at various checkpoints throughout the SDLC whether to continue with
the project or terminate it

Systems Planning occurs at two levels:

a. Strategic Systems Planning- involves allocation of systems resources at the macro level.
It usually deals with a time frame of 3-5 years. This process is similar to budgeting
resources for other strategic activities, such as product development, plant expansions,
market research, and manufacturing technology. Technically, a strategic system planning
is not part of the SDLC because the SDLC pertains to specific applications.

Why Perform Strategic Systems Planning

There are four justifications for strategic systems planning:

1. A plan that changes constantly is better than no plan at all.


2. Strategic planning reduces the crisis component in systems development.
3. Strategic systems planning provides authorization control for SDLC.
4. Cost management.

b. Project Planning- its purpose is to allocate resources to individual applications within


the framework of the strategic plan. This involves identifying areas of user needs,
preparing proposals, evaluating each proposal’s feasibility and contribution to the
business plan, prioritizing individual projects, and scheduling the work to be done.

 Project Proposal
Purposes: First, it summarizes the findings of the study conducted to this point
into a general recommendation for a new or modified system. Second, it outlines
the linkage between objectives of the proposed system and the business objectives
of the firm.
 Project Schedule- represents management commitment to project and is a budget
of time and costs for all the phases of SDLC.
Systems Analysis-Phase II
It is the foundation for the rest of the SDLC and is actually a two-step process involving:

a. The Survey Step

The analyst often begins the analysis by determining what elements, if any, of the current system
should be preserved as part of the new system. This involves a rather detailed system survey.
Facts pertaining to preliminary questions about the system are gathered and analyzed. When all
relevant facts have been gathered and analyzed, the analyst arrives at an assessment of the
current system.

Disadvantages of Surveying the Current System

 Current physical tar pit


 Thinking inside the box

Advantages of Surveying the Current System

 Identifying what aspects of the old system should be kept.


 Forcing systems analysts to fully understand the system.
 Isolating the root of problem symptoms.

Gathering Facts

The survey of the current system is essentially a fact-gathering activity. System facts fall into
the following broad classes.

• Data sources. These include external entities, such as customers or vendors, as well
as internal sources from other departments.
• Users. These include both managers and operations users.
• Data stores. Data stores are the files, databases, accounts, and source documents
used in the system.
• Processes. Processing tasks are manual or computer operations that represent a decision
or an action triggered by information.
• Data flows. Data flows are represented by the movement of documents and reports
between data sources, data stores, processing tasks, and users. Data flows can also be
represented in UML diagrams.
• Controls. These include both accounting and operational controls and may be manual
procedures or computer controls.
• Transaction volumes. The analyst must obtain a measure of the transaction volumes
for a specified period of time. Many systems are replaced because they have reached their
capacity. Understanding the characteristics of a systems transaction volume and its rate of
growth are important elements in assessing capacity requirements for the new system.
• Error rates. Transaction errors are closely related to transaction volume. As a system
reaches capacity, error rates increase to an intolerable level.
• Resource costs. The resources used by the current system include the costs of labor,
computer time, materials (such as invoices), and direct overhead. Any resource costs
that disappear when the current system is eliminated are called escapable costs.
Later, when we perform a cost-benefit analysis, escapable costs will be treated as
benefits of the new system.
• Bottlenecks and redundant operations. The analyst should note points where data
flows come together to form a bottleneck. At peak-load periods, these can result in
delays and promote processing errors. Likewise, delays may be caused by redundant
operations, such as unnecessary approvals or sign-offs.
Fact-Gathering Techniques

Systems analysts employ several techniques to gather the previously cited facts. Commonly
used techniques includes:

 Observation- involves passively watching the physical procedures of the


system.
 Task Participation- allows the analyst to experience first-hand the problems involved in
the operation of the current system.
 Personal Interviews- interviewing is a method of extracting facts about the current
system and user perceptions about the requirements for the new system. The instruments
used to gather these facts may be:

open-ended questions- allow users to elaborate on the problem as they see it and offer
suggestions and recommendations.
formal questionnaires- used to ask more specific, detailed questions and to restrict the
user’s responses.

Reviewing Key Documents. Examples are:

• Organizational charts
• Job descriptions
• Accounting records
• Charts of accounts
• Policy statements
• Descriptions of procedures
• Financial statements
• Performance reports
• System flowcharts
• Source documents
• Transaction listings
• Budgets
• Forecasts
• Mission statements

b. The Analysis Step

Systems analysis is an intellectual process that is commingled with fact gathering.

Systems Analysis Report

The event that marks the conclusion of the systems analysis phase is the preparation of a
formal systems analysis report. This report presents to management or the steering committee
the survey findings, the problems identified with the current system, the user’s
needs, and the requirements of the new system.

The systems analysis report should establish in clear terms the data sources, users, data files,
general processes, data flows, controls and transaction volume capacity.