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The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC), or Software Development Life Cycle in systems 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: the software development process.
Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process used by a systems analyst to develop an information system, including requirements, 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 planned Information Technology infrastructure, and is inexpensive to maintain and cost-effective to enhance. 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".  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 Process and Dynamic Systems Development Method, focus on limited project scopes and expanding or improving products by multiple iterations. Sequential or big-design-up-front (BDUF) models,
According to Taylor (2004) "the project life cycle encompasses all the activities of the project. In project management a project can be defined both with a project life cycle (PLC) and an SDLC. focus on complete and correct planning to guide large projects and risks to successful and predictable results. is the waterfall model: a sequence of stages in which the output of each stage becomes the input for the next. correction. requirements definition: Refines project goals into defined functions and operation of the intended application. Analyzes end-user information needs. y y y y y y . goes on seemingly forever. and are explained in the section below. bugs and interoperability. moves to a different computing platform and more. Integration and testing: Brings all the pieces together into a special testing environment. Implementation: The real code is written here. while the systems development life cycle focuses on realizing the product requirements" Systems development phases The System Development Life Cycle framework provides system designers and developers to follow a sequence of activities. Systems design: Describes desired features and operations in detail.such as Waterfall. A number of system development life cycle (SDLC) models have been created: waterfall. build and fix. tend to focus on a form of development that is guided by project scope and adaptive iterations of feature development. feasibility study: Establishes a high-level view of the intended project and determines its goals. It consists of a set of steps or phases in which each phase of the SDLC uses the results of the previous one. process diagrams. analysis. such as Anamorphic Development. business rules. including the following: y Project planning. fountain. Systems analysis. then checks for errors. and synchronize and stabilize. including screen layouts. additions. design. deployment: The final stage of initial development. incremental. This. pseudocode and other documentation. and implementation. rapid prototyping. Acceptance. spiral. The oldest of these. installation. Maintenance: What happens during the rest of the software's life: changes. These stages can be characterized and divided up in different ways. such as planning. where the software is put into production and runs actual business. and the best known. the least glamorous and perhaps most important step of all. Other models. during which slightly different activities occur. A Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) adheres to important phases that are essential for developers.
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.  System analysis The goal of system analysis is to determine where the problem is in an attempt to fix the system. the phases are interdependent. .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: Not every project will require that the phases be sequentially executed. 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. This step involves breaking down the system in different pieces to analyze the situation. phases may be combined or may overlap. often there has to be a lot of communication to and from to understand these requirements. Depending upon the size and complexity of the project. analyzing project goals. However.
process diagrams and other documentation. Design elements describe the desired software features in detail. This stage is intermingled with the next in that individual modules will need testing before integration to the main project. workshops. The output of this stage will describe the new system as a collection of modules or subsystems. 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. Design In systems design the design functions and operations are described in detail. Iteration is not generally part of the waterfall model. business rules. The design stage takes as its initial input the requirements identified in the approved requirements document. business process diagrams. including screen layouts. These design elements are intended to describe the software in sufficient detail that skilled programmers may develop the software with minimal additional input design. Unit testing and module testing are done in this stage by the developers. and a complete entity-relationship diagram with a full data dictionary. For each requirement. pseudocode. system and user acceptance testings are often performed. and/or prototype efforts.  Testing The code is tested at various levels in software testing. In the testing the whole system is test one by one Following are the types of testing: y y y y y y y y y y y y Defect testing Path 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 . tables of business rules. and generally include functional hierarchy diagrams. screen layout diagrams. but usually some occur at this stage. a set of one or more design elements will be produced as a result of interviews. Unit.  Implementation Modular and subsystem programming code will be accomplished during this stage.
software. a description of recommended tasks. and relate to the SDLC phases as shown in the figure. Control objectives can be grouped into major categories (Domains). data. and a summary of related control objectives for effective management. . 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. 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. and people to support the company¶s business objectives. Operations and maintenance The deployment of the system includes changes and enhancements before the decommissioning or sunset of the system.  Systems Analysis and Design The Systems Analysis and Design (SAD) is the process of developing Information Systems (IS) that effectively use of hardware. which will require system updates. As key personnel change positions in the organization. process.  Systems development life cycle topics  Management and control SDLC Phases Related to Management Controls. new changes will be implemented. Maintaining the system is an important aspect of SDLC. Each of the SDLC phase objectives are described in this section with key deliverables.
 The upper section of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) should identify the major phases and milestones of the project in a summary fashion. The WBS and all programmatic material should be kept in the ³Project Description´ section of the project notebook.x.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.g. Each task must have a measurable output (e. systems engineering) and may require close coordination with other tasks. or analysis). Each baseline is considered as a milestone in the SDLC. These baselines are established after four of the five phases of the SDLC and are critical to the iterative nature of the model . 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 WBS elements should consist of milestones and ³tasks´ as opposed to ³activities´ and have a definitive period (usually two weeks or more). y y Functional Baseline: established after the conceptual design phase. . 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. There are some key areas that must be defined in the WBS as part of the SDLC policy. software engineering. decision.  Baselines in the SDLC Baselines are an important part of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC). document. A WBS task may rely on one or more activities (e. either internal or external to the project. 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 following diagram describes three key areas that will be addressed in the WBS in a manner established by the project manager. In addition.  Work breakdown structured organization Work Breakdown Structure. 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 WBS format is mostly left to the project manager to establish in a way that best describes the project work. Allocated Baseline: established after the preliminary design phase.
Updated Product Baseline: established after the production construction phase. Open Source Development End-user development Object Oriented Programming Comparison of Methodology Approaches (Post. & Anderson 2006) SDLC RAD MIS Short Few Few Open Source Weak Medium Few Hundreds Both Weak Objects Standards Any Varies Split Both Windows JAD Joint Medium Few Few DSS Crucial Limited Prototyping End User User Short User Short Control Time Frame Users MIS staff Formal Long Many Many One or Two One One or Two None DSS Crucial Weak DSS Crucial None Transaction/DSS Transaction Both Interface Minimal Minimal Limited Documentation Vital and training Integrity and security Reusability Vital Limited Internal In Objects Vital Some Unknown Maybe In Objects Limited Limited Weak Weak Vital Weak None . extension of earlier work in Prototyping and RAD.  Complementary to SDLC Complementary Software development methods to Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) are: y y y y y y y Software Prototyping Joint Applications Design (JAD) Rapid Application Development (RAD) Extreme Programming (XP).y y Product Baseline: established after the detail design and development phase.
User input is sometimes limited. 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. which combines prototyping. but it is still a term widely in use in Technology circles. reduced development cost. and active user involvement in the development process. Documentation. Systems must be defined up front. Evaluate costs and completion targets. Ease of maintenance. web development or e-commerce) where stakeholders need to review on a regular basis the software being designed. Detailed steps. The SDLC practice has advantages in traditional models of software development. Hard to estimate costs. A comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of SDLC: Strength and Weaknesses of SDLC  Strengths Control. Joint Application Development and implementation of CASE tools. Development and design standards. 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. . The advantages of RAD are speed.e. Weaknesses Increased development time. Well defined user input. Rigidity. 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. project overruns. Some will argue that the SDLC no longer applies to models like Agile computing. Instead of viewing SDLC from a strength or weakness perspective. Monitor Large projects. Increased development cost. An alternative to the SDLC is Rapid Application Development. Tolerates changes in MIS staffing.