A systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a tool for managing and controlling a project (Satzinger, Jackson & Burd, 2009). A manager uses an SDLC by following a series of steps, tools, techniques and several methodologies to decide on what approach will be used. It is important for any organization to understand and utilize a formal SDLC when working with an information system. The SDLC keeps everything organized and everyone involved on the same page, by knowing what the plan is and when and how they will reach the set goal. This paper will explain the concepts of a formal systems development life cycle. There are several steps that are taken when implementing a new information system, using an SDLC will aide management in this plan. One of the first phases or steps is system planning, using a strategic approach. Stakeholders and other evaluate the effectiveness of the new system, does it meet the entity’s mission and objectives they set out to obtain (Singleton, 2014). This is the beginning phase, a long term plan is devised, policies for selection of the IT project, long-term, and short-term IT budgets are decided. The project proposals and schedules are submitted to management for approval. These documents illustrate a formal approach to systems development, which shows an effective planning system for IT projects and systems (Singleton, 2014). Before the next step is taken IT auditors will want to verify the approved systems planning phase or IT governance activities to verify the effectiveness of the system, and will be repeated after every step in the planning of implementation (Singleton, 2014). After a proposal or plan is completed and approved the project falls into a system analysis phase, IT professionals gather the required information needed for the IT project for the end users.
The systems analyst or developer uses all the gather information and summarizes his analysis of the IT project, resulting in a systems analysis report. Once the systems analysis report is complete the next step is the conceptual design. The conceptual design view incorporates all the individual views, instead of several different views of the paper. Once this is completed a variety of reports can be completed including a data flow diagram (DFD), if the organization is following the steps of the SDLC (Singleton, 2014). The next step or phase is the systems evaluation and selection, managers and IT professionals will choose among all the alternatives which one will satisfy the requirements developed in the last two phases, ensuring it will meet the general guidelines and strategic policies of phase one (Singleton, 2014). The analysis of the alternatives is an exhausting study, it examines every detail to ensure the technical feasibility and whether the current IT infrastructure is realistic to implement a specific alternative. The legal feasibility study examines any legal ramifications of all alternatives, and an operational feasibility study determines the current business process, procedures, and skills of employees are adequate to successfully implement the alternative (Singleton, 2014). Each alternative that is tested will result in a feasibility report. Part of this phase is the cost-benefit analysis, which takes into account the tangible and intangible costs and benefits of each alternative, which is how they assess the value of IT.
Phase five IT professionals have chosen the solution, details are developed and documented, this includes Unified Modeling Language (UML) diagrams, and entity relationship diagrams (ERDs), relational models and normalized data diagrams (Singleton, 2014). At this point there is a walk-through of the system or software, checking for defects that may be detected during development, this walk-through should be documented. The next step is programming and testing the system, it’s important to the success of the development of any program or application. Although testing may be monotonous, IT auditors will want assurance that proper testing of applications and systems are completed, before they are put into operation. These test are done several times on the modules before putting online, and then tested system-wide, once completed the results and data should be kept for the end users review. The last steps of the SDLC is implementation and system support (Satzinger, Jackson & Burd, 2009). A major step in the SDLC is maintaining the system and keeping it operational, the analyst is in charge of the quality control, testing, training users, and implementing the new system (Satzinger, Jackson & Burd, 2009).
There are several employees that are involved in the SDLC process and making it successful, beginning with there will be one or more project managers. Project managers need to have a full understanding of the requirements of the project, and know all the risks involved including technological issues (“2-Short Courses”, n.d.). Another business position is the systems analyst, they deal with the continued trends in system development to continue to influence analysis and design (Satzinger, Jackson & Burd, 2009). Another important position is the systems developer, they need to have the understanding in methodology, models, tools, and techniques (Satzinger, Jackson & Burd, 2009). An SDLC operates effectively by examining documentation at various phases to keep improving and stay up to date. A system development life cycle is a framework or guide for management to follow when developing and implementing an information system. It is imperative to understand the concepts of an SDLC before exploring system development plans.
Satzinger, J. W., Jackson, R. B., & Burd, S. D. (2009). Systems analysis and design in a changing world (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Course Technology/Cengage Learning Short Courses. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://shortcourses.ca/presentation/sdlc_team.pdf Singleton, T. (2014). ISACA. Retrieved from http://www.isaca.org/journal/past-issues/2007/Volume-1/Pages/Systems-Development-Life-Cycle-and-IT-Audits.aspx
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