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The systems development life cycle, also known as the waterfall model, consists of seven phases. Those phases are planning, systems analysis, system design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance. When this model is being used by a company they will usually complete one phase before beginning on the next. During the planning phase a systems analyst, who may or may not work for the company, will outline a proposed system, develop a budget, and create a detailed development schedule. This is when the company’s senior management needs to decide whether it would be best to modify their current systems or just build a new system.

To help them make the decision the company performs four types of feasibility analysis: technical, economic, operational, and schedule. These help the company see which one will have the least amout of technical problems, which one will have the best use economically, which one will run fastest and easiest, and which on works best in their schedule. Once they have decided the company will move on to the systems analysis phase. In this phase the company looks at what their current problems are and how they can fix them with their new or existing program.

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Next the company will move to the systems design phase. In this phase the company will take what they have learned about what the new system will require in order to solve the problems within the business and will describe in detail how the team will build the new system. They will discuss the specific functions it should have and what parts it should contain. Now that the company knows how they want the system build it is time to build it. That is what the development phase is for. In the develpoment phase the company works with a programmer to get the system built to their specifications.

In the testing phase the system is finally built, but the compant cannot begin using the system until it is tested. The implementation phase is where the company brings the developed and tested system into the working enviornment and transfers any needed data from the old system to the new one. The maintenance phase is the longest simply because it will go on for as long as the company has the system. Maintenance includes, but is not limited to, correcting errors, backing up and recovering data, supporting end users, and enhancing the system.

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