System Development Lifecycle

What Does System Development Lifecycle Mean?

System development lifecycle (SDLC) is a process of information system (IS) development. Various SDLC models have been created and can be implemented, including waterfall, rapid prototyping, incremental, spiral, fountain, build and fix, synchronize and stabilize and rapid application development (RAD).


Incrementally defined SDLC stages include requirement gathering, investigation, testing, design, installation, implementation, integration and maintenance.

This term is also known as the software development lifecycle.

Techopedia Explains System Development Lifecycle

System development lifecycle is a detailed process requiring careful planning, execution and management. When not managed properly, the downside is scope creep, blown budgets, and stressed out developers!

A common SDLC model is waterfall, which involves the following series of sequential steps: Project planning, dDefining IS requirements, system design, development, integration, testing, installation and acceptance.

The spiral model runs through the waterfall process, developing a prototype with a subset group of requirements to be evaluated and re-run with new, added abilities, producing a new prototype. This process continues, and the prototype evolves, becoming more substantial with each growing development.

Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a process of quickly and cheaply developing an IS, and application users are always involved. Beginning with a high-quality system, RAD uses prototyping and development tools, including graphical user interfaces (GUIs), code generators and others.
The incremental model is a combination of linear (i.e., waterfall) and iterative (i.e., prototyping) models. In the incremental model, the IS development approach involves tackling individual project pieces. This may involve small waterfalls or using a waterfall followed by prototype models.

When developing a system, and number of models could be a fit. The best model depends on the project size and user involvement.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.