SDLC as a model for project management

What is SDLC and how can we use it when developing a strategy for project management? In this post, I hope to answer this question by examining the impact of SDLC on users’ and stakeholders’ involvement.

 SDLC?

 Systems Design Life Cycle is a model, or a series of models, that seek to explain the process by which a product, or service, comes into being.  As Mahizharuvi et al. state in their paper A Security Approach in System Development Life Cycle  “Many models are being adopted by … companies, but most of them have similar patterns. Typically each phase produces deliverables required by the next phase in the life cycle .”(Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.254)

 The Waterfall Model is “the base for all models” of system development .”(Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.254), and as such it is a good place to examine the theories behind system development.  The waterfall model consists of five linear parts:

  1. Requirements (which leads to)
  2. Design (which leads to)
  3. Implementation (which leads to)
  4. Verification (which leads to)
  5. Maintenance

 In the requirements phase, a need has already been established and the developers look at everything that is needed to get that system actualized. In that sense, the requirements phase is like an NFL Coach who has a vision for his team to win the Super Bowl and looks at his team and staff to figure out what he has and what it will take to achieve his goal. After the coach determines what is needed to achieve the vision, he begins to design a program for his team to follow that will push them to achieve the desired outcome. The design process includes the practice schedule, the workout routines, to some degree the eating habits, and the psychophysiological and spiritual well being of the team.  One important component to the design process is bringing the team together to work as one; to bring them into the vision.  Implementation takes the entire design of the coach and actualizes it through practice and training. Verification comes when the team is competing in regular season games while maintenance comes into reviewing the game and analyzing the play for what needs improvement and fine tuning the design and implementation strategies.

Cohen et al. (2010, p. 21) highlight two SDLC models in their paper A Software System Development Life Cycle Model for Improved Stakeholders’ Communication and Collaboration: a traditional model and an IS acquisition process model. The “traditional phase” of SDLC includes the following aspects:

  1. Requirements (which leads to)
  2. Analysis (which leads to)
  3. Design (which leads to)
  4. Construction (which leads to)
  5. Testing (which leads to)
  6. Installation (which leads to)
  7. Operation (which leads to)
  8. Maintenance

 The IS acquisition process model(Cohen, 2010, p. 21) is very similar in construct, but, as you can see below, there are slight differences in strategy.  The IS acquisition process model looks like this:

  1. Justification (which leads to)
  2. Evaluation (which leads to)
  3. Preparations for Acquisition (which leads to)
  4. Request for Proposals (which leads to)
  5. Vendor Evaluations and Choosing (which leads to)
  6. Contract Negotiations (which leads to)
  7. Implementation and Maintenance

Before going further, I want to provide some context for how I am looking at Project Management (PM). PM is the process by which an objective is established, and a plan of action is created in order to actualize the desired result with clear directives on who will be doing what when and, to some extent, how.

 All projects are designed to be used by someone. In the library, our users are, generally, the public; when we are designing systems we must always keep our users in mind. The result of our work should be an easy to use product that is simple and intuitive.  Bhute et al. display various diagrams in their article System Analysis and Design for Multimedia Retrieval Systems that illustrate various relationships between Administrator/Manager and Users and how they interact with systems and servers.

 One aspect of the SDLC that we have been missing so far is…

 

Security!

 According to the Internet Theft Resource Center there have been a total of “521 security breaches” so far this year (2014) compromising approximately “17,829,689 individuals” (perhaps some of those are repetitive). (ITRC, 2014)  As is True in life, one of the most valuable assets we possess is trust, and in the world of databases that trust takes on the form of security of personal information such as name, email address, personal address, telephone numbers, social security numbers, et c.  As designers and administrators of databases, there is a moral duty to the consumer that their information cannot be breached.

 How do we fix this in our concept of the System Design Life Cycle and Project Management?

 Mahizharuvi et al suggest that security requirements be an inclusive component of and “identified during the system development lifecycle.” (Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.253) They go on further to state that “to define requirements, systems engineers may, in conjunction with users, perform  a top-down and bottom-up analysis of possible security failures that could cause risk to the organization as well as define requirements to address vulnerabilities.” (Mahizharuvi, 2011, p.254)

 Spears and Parrish “suggest that the time is ripe for IS professionals to begin incorporating security into the analysis and design of an IS as a means to reduce security vulnerabilities and data breaches.” (Spears, 2013, p.18)

 The biggest component of incorporation of security into the SDLC and PM spheres is to have them as a functional part of the beginning, middle, and end of the process as opposed to an ad hoc inclusion at the end.

 

References

  • Avinash N Bhute, B B Meshram. (20113). System analysis and design for multimedia retrieval systems  . The International Journal of Multimedia & its Applications, 5(6), 25-44.
  • Identity Theft Resource Center. (2014). 2014 ITRC breach report. Retrieved from http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ITRC-Surveys-Studies/2014databreaches.html
  • P.Mahizharuvi, a. D. K. A. (2011). A security approach in system development life cycle. International Journal of Computer Technology and Applications, 2(2), 253-257.
  • Shalom Cohen, Uzi De Haan, Dov Dori. (2010). A software system development life cycle model for improved stakeholders’ communication and collaboration  . International Journal of Computers, Communications & Control, V(1), 20-41.
  • Spears, J. L., & Parrish, J. L.,Jr. (2013). IS security requirements identification from conceptual models in systems analysis and design: The fun & fitness, inc. case. Journal of Information Systems Education, 24(1), 17-29. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1438693793?accountid=9940
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