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Systems Development Methods

Systems Development Methods - Systems Development Methods...

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Systems Development Methods by Dave Dischiave What is a Systems Development Methodology? A systems development methodology is a systematic approach to solving problems. As an analyst we need a repeatable and rigorous way to solve problems, create new processes and implement new systems. The most common approach used by modern organizations is what has been coined as the “systems development lifecycle.” The challenge with this method is that is the systems development lifecycle has taken on many pseudonyms. That is it has been given many other names and has spawned many variants off of a common theme. It isn’t unusual of a group of analysts from different organizations or even from the same organization believing that their systems development lifecycle is different from that of their peers only to discover that there is essentially one model that has morphed by name only. We’ll discuss this more later. Why use a Systems Development Methodology? So why use a structured method anyway? What’s wrong with arbitrarily building a system without any methods, structures or repeatable processes? I suppose the question could be asked of any “construction” project whether it were a building, like a house or office complex, or an information system. In a systems development project aren’t we really planning for a new entity, determining requirements, creating new processes, changing existing ones, eliminating obsolete ones, building or buying software, testing to be sure it works as advertised and making it ready for use by your constituents. Is this really very different than planning, building and making a physical structure available for use? Let’s suppose you wanted to build your dream house. You and your significant other are driving along a scenic country road and you happen along a beautiful parcel of land. You are pleased to discover that this beautiful spot is for sale. You proceed to purchase the land and you are so excited and maybe a bit in a hurry as well, after all time is money. The very next day you borrow a friend’s pickup truck, drive to Home Depot, buy some lumber and tools, drive your friend’s pickup laden with building materials to your new plot of land and start constructing your new home. What’s wrong with this picture? So why do some attempt to build information systems the same way? While I am sure there are some success stories; there are a disproportionate number of failures. That is, systems were delivered late, over-budget, high in defects or without the agreed upon functionality. The Standish Group, a research firm that analyzes systems implementations, found that of 280,000 systems projects only 28% were completed successfully. (Johnson, 2001) The results of this study summarized below should be reason enough to revisit our systems development methods.
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  • Fall '10
  • Staff
  • Systems Development Life Cycle, Software development methodology, systems development methodology, systems development lifecycle

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