The Systems Development Life Cycle icon

The Systems Development Life Cycle

НазваThe Systems Development Life Cycle
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The Systems Development Life Cycle

O.Zagovora, studentIT-61

S.V.Podolkova – EL Superviser

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 Systems Development Life Cycle models have been created: "waterfall"; "fountain"; "spiral"; "build and fix"; "rapid prototyping"; "incremental"; and "synchronize and stabilize".

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.

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 models, such as Waterfall, focus on complete and correct planning to guide large projects and risks to successful and predictable results. 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".

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. 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:

  • 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, movement to a different computing platform and more.

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 implementation 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 study of literature dealing with phases and stages of life cycle stages of IT project has shown that there is no unified methodology for developing IT project. The conclusion is about the need to allocate IT project life cycle phases that that take into account peculiarities of IT projects.


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