System development life cycle

ITM 306 SLP 3

System development life cycle (SDLC)

Stage Activity
Phase1 Preliminary analysis Identify the problems in existing system.

Cost of undertaking a new system development.

Goals of developing a new system.

Phase2 System analysis What is being done by the organization

How is it being done

When is it being done

Operational needs.

Phase3 Design Developing of a prototype.
Phase4 System development Actual coding of the programs and compiling of the system
Phase5 testing Testing whether the system can execute the intended functions.

Testing redundancy of the programs and the whole system in general.

Phase6 implementation Shifting from the old system to the newly developed system.

Developers determine the best way to shift from the old system to the new system.

Phase7 maintenance This is a life-long process of ensuring that the system remains in the best condition until another is developed.


The system development life cycle is a process in which an organization develops new software or a database through a step by step planning, analysis, creation, testing and launching of the finished product. These steps are critical in ensuring that a developer or an organization produces a viable and a workable solution to its IT problems (Tomar, 2011). A good example of a database that requires a SDLC is the university databases where student’s academic progress is stored. The students can access their results, degree audits and GPA from such platforms without bothering with the cumbersome paperwork. The system development life cycle takes into consideration several important factors so that the entire project does not interfere with smooth running and at the same time it is affordable. Switching from an old system to the new developed system is as well important so that there is no downtime in the event the new system does not work.

Preliminary investigation

During the preliminary investigation, the organization tries to identify the problems with the existing system, the costs of developing the new system, the objectives it aims to achieve from the new system and development of the preliminary plan. This process involves a wide variety of consultations from the top management to the employees who are the people who will be using the new system once it is developed.

System analysis

During this step, the organization collects the factual data, about the system to be developed. This involves the end user needs, problems involved, identifying how information flows and the operational data. The biggest questions that a system analyst is trying to answer are; what is the organization trying to do? How is the organization going to do it? Who is going to do it? When should it be done? By the end of system analysis, the project team has come up with a logical design of the system to be developed (Tomar, 2011).


With the information gathered above, the next phase is to develop a prototype of the new system. The flow of data is taken into consideration and an “Architectural design” of the system is developed (Morris, 2014). The project developers come up with user interface screens and data flow and storage prototypes the design developed at this phase is used to write the code for the actual system in the next phase. It is good to understand that the logical design developed in the previous step is developed to a Physical design of the system.

System development

This is the step where the project developers code the actual system that has been conceived. Using the blueprints created in the design phase, they develop the new system following the design and using the programming computer language. This is one of the most important phases of the development protocol because it is where the new system is actually developed. Programmers convert what has been physically conceived into computer control model. The programs developed at this phase control the whole system and data movement to enable users interact with them.

System testing

In developing a new system, it is important that the developers test whether what has been developed in the coding phase can actually work in the real world to solve the problems intended. This phase tests the system’s limits, ability to handle huge volumes of data and its response in case of interruptions (Morris, 2014). There are two steps of testing; these are the program test and the system test. The program test is applied into the specific programs to confirm their redundancy using the test data. Note this is only applied to individual programs not the entire system. The other step is the system testing. In this step, the entire system is tested using the actual data to evaluate its ability to process and store the data.

System implementation

This is the stage in which the system is deployed and the users can begin using the new system. There are several ways in which a system is implemented. This is done in such a way as to ensure that there is no downtime during implementation. Some of the methods used to implement the new system are:

  • Direct changeover: this is where the old system is shut down and the new system is launched with immediate effect. There is one weakness of this approach; it leads to huge problems and exposes the organization to a huge risk in case there was a problem with testing or a weakness in one of its programs.
  • Phased implementation: in this step, the organization uses departments switching one by one in to the new system while the rest are using the old system. The process is done step by step until all the departments are entrenched into the new system.
  • Parallel implementation: this is where the new system is launched while at the same time the old system is still in place. This is done as insurance that if the new system fails, the old system will still remain to handle the original problems. The problem with this kind of implementation is that it is very expensive to run the two systems at the same time.

System Maintenance

This is the final step of System Development Life Cycle which ensures that the system is maintained in the best condition (Kay, 2002). This is a life-long process that is done until a new system is developed.




Kay, R. (2002, May 14). QuickStudy: System Development Life Cycle. Retrieved on March 16, 2014 from

Morris, K. (2014). Steps in the System Development Life Cycle. Retrieved on March 16, 2014 from

Tomar, N. (2011, April 28). System Development Life Cycle: Part I and II. Retrieved on March 16, 2014 from

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