MIS System Development Life Cycle - Management Information systems

What is system development life cycle? Explain the types of phases?

System development life cycle is used in system engineering which helps in defining a process in testing, planning, creating, deploying an information system. Like any other product development used in business organizations, system development requires careful analysis and design before implementation. System development generally has the following phases:

Planning and Requirement Analysis

The project planning part involves the following steps:

  • Reviewing various project requests
  • Prioritizing the project requests
  • Allocating the resources
  • Identifying the project development team
The techniques used in information system planning are:
  • Critical Success Factor
  • Business System Planning
  • End/Mean Analysis

The requirement analysis part involves understanding the goals, objectives, processes and the constraints of the system for which the information system is being designed.

It is basically an iterative process which includes systematic investigation of the processes and requirements. Various diagramming techniques are used which are created by the analyst in a blue print format. Those are in the form of:

  • Data flow diagrams
  • Context diagrams
Requirement analysis has the following sub-processes:
  • Conducting preliminary investigation
  • Performing detailed analysis activities
  • Studying current system
  • Determining user requirements
  • Recommending a solution

Defining Requirements

The requirement analysis stage generally completes by creation of a 'Feasibility Report'. This report contains:
  • A preamble
  • A goal statement
  • A brief description of the present system
  • Proposed alternatives in details
The feasibility report and the proposed alternatives help in preparing the costs and benefits study.

Based on the costs and benefits, and also taken into consideration of all problems that may be face due to human, organizational or technological bottlenecks, the best alternative is to be chosen by the end-users of the system in order to solve the problem.

Designing System Architecture

System design specifies how the system will accomplish this objective. System design consists of both logical design and physical design activity, which produces 'system specification' satisfying system requirements developed in the system analysis stage.

In this stage, the following documents are prepared:

  • Detailed specification
  • Hardware/software plan

Building or Developing the System

The most creative and also challenging phase of the system life cycle is designing the system, which refers to the technical specifications that will be applicable in implementing the candidate system. It also involves the construction of programmers and program testing.

It has the following stages:
  • Acquiring hardware and software, if necessary
  • Database design
  • Developing system processes
  • Coding and testing each module

The final report includes procedural flowcharts, record layout, report layout and plan for implementing the candidate system. Information on personnel, money, hardware, facility and their estimated cost must also be provided. At this point projected cost must be close to actual cost of implementation.

Testing the System

System testing is a type of test plan that contains several key activities and steps for programs, strings, system, and user acceptance testing. The system performance criteria deals with turnaround time, backup, file protection and human factors.

Testing process focuses on both:

  • The internal logic of the system/software, ensuring that all statements have been tested;
  • The external functions, by conducting tests to find out the errors and to ensure that the required input will actually produce output results.

In some cases, a 'parallel run' of the system is performed, where both the current and the proposed system are used to run in parallel for a specified period of time and the current system is used to validate the proposed system.

Deployment of the System

When the system is put into production stage, it is used by the end-users. Sometimes, this system is put into Beta stage where feedback of the users is received and depending upon the feedback; the system is corrected or improved before a final release or official release of the system.

System Evaluation and Maintenance

Maintenance is very important to delete the errors in the working system throughout its working life and need to tune the system to any variation in its working environment. Frequently, small system deficiencies are found, whenever the system is brought into operation and to remove them certain changes has to be made. System planner must always plan for availability resources to carry on these maintenance functions.

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