THE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT LIFE CYCLE
A system has various stages of development called the system development life cycle. This cycle consists of four stages: Planning and investigation, analysis, design and implementation, follow up, and maintenance stages. Planning and investigation involves an investigation of an already created system, organizing a system study team and developing strategic plans for the rest of the study. The analysis portion of the life cycle consists of analyzing the company’s current system in order to determine the information needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the existing system.
The design stage of the life cycle consists of the changes that eliminate or minimize the current systems flaws and weaknesses while increasing or preserving the strengths. Implementation, follow up and maintenance includes obtaining resources for the new systems as well as training new or existing employees to use it. Companies then conduct follow up studies to determine whether or not the new system is successful and to identify any new problems with it. Of course, businesses must maintain the system like correcting minor flaws and updating the system. There is not really a distinct way to determine when the stage is reached or even completed, which is why it is called a cycle because it is continuous. For example, follow up studies of a system should be a continuous process.
Companies constantly reevaluate systems to make sure they work the way they should because if problems in the system re-surface or a new problem appears the life cycle starts over again starting with the system study. Also, since the system study is based off of already existing systems it is a never ending cycle so there is no real way to know when the cycle is completed or a certain stage reached. Often businesses will perform two or more stages of the life cycle simultaneously so multiple stages can be reached at once and the steps of the life cycle do not necessarily always happen in order. These stages of system development make up its life style, planning and investigation, analysis, design and implementation, follow up, and maintenance and are all necessary stages for a systems success.