System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a systematic frameworks that helps to deliver products on time with high quality. This presentation gives some real time case studies and establishes case for having a standard framework. It also covers major phases involved in product development.
Get the basics right
SDLC and related areas are very critical for engineers
Technical success v/s business success
• Building technically great product is nice
• Making them commercially successful is the key
Standard frameworks like SDLC helps to do that
Evolved over three decades
Let us get our basics right!
What customer wants?
A small game
Need 6 volunteers
I want an Embedded device with 40$ price with device
performance as the key priority.
I would like to have a NOR flash with 20 MB space with
1 MB RAM.
User experience should be really excellent.
I can compromise on price for performance and user
experience. Quality is a non-negotiable item
What actually happens?
Challenge 1: How to understand customer’s exact needs?
How do I deliver?
Assuming customer challenges are understood, how to
deliver the product?
How do I ensure:
• Quality of end product is very good
• Customer perceives quality
• Control quality in my product development
• Make it repeatable and scalable
Often perceived as trust, brand, goodwill etc…
Challenge 2: How do I deliver a quality product?
Ajay is an owner of small business, which has partnered with Arun’s
organization for re-branding
This includes our logo, caption, digital identity, website, branding
artifacts, social media etc
During vendor evaluation, Ajay was very happy with Arun’s
capability and awarded the project
As time progressed Ajay observed the following:
• Consistently not keeping up with time commitments
• Delays in responding to emails, phone-calls, no-response
• Quality issues (Broken defect fixes, implementation flaws etc…)
• Behavioral problems (“you didn’t tell this before!”, “It’s your
problem”, “Why should I fix this?”, “you check this first!”)
• What are the possibilities of problems with Arun?
• What experience Ajay is getting out of this activity?
• Would Ajay recommend Arun to his other business associates?
Key observations: Planning, Estimation, Team capability and skills
One of the newly formed company came up with idea of selling niche
They came up with an online portal which has excellent UI, e-commerce
and product listings
During product development and testing everything worked fine
Product was successfully launched on-time, initial customer reviews were
Traffic to the website suddenly stared picking up for which the site
couldn’t handle. This resulted in multiple transaction failures, delays and
This created a crisis in the organization
• What did the company do right?
• Where did they go wrong?
• What element did they miss during product requirement gathering?
Key observations: Non-functional requirement handling (scalability, security,
regulation compliance, high-availability etc..)
Subbu was project manager, heading a complex system integration
project by combining many modules
He understood the importance of making all modules working
together and created a system integration plan
During initial days none of the modules worked well with each
other created a lot of issues
In senior management meetings he raised it as a ‘RISK’ item and
consistently raised alarm, which initially created some confusion
To address these issues an expert team was formed who figured
out all issues and solved the integration problem
Product was released on time, customer was happy
• What did Subbu do right?
• Confusion caused by Subbu initially was correct or wrong?
• What would be the side effects if Subbu didn’t raise issues on time?
Key observations: Risk raising and mitigation, Early handling, Being paranoid
Ram was team leader of device driver team. For a new project he
was asked to estimate the time required to complete it.
In the recent department change, Ram ended up getting
experienced engineers who were completely new to the device
Ram went with his initial estimation and started the project
Team members started feeling the heat when they actually started
implementing the project. With lesser or no previous knowledge
about device drivers, team was struggling
Customer reported quality issues in the deliverable. Both Ram and
team were frustrated for letting each other down
• What did Ram do incorrectly?
• How the team would have felt in the situation?
• If you were asked to take charge of project, what would you do?
Key observations: Team competency in estimation, Importance of estimation,
Team training and development, Customer expectations
Process for Process
Chaithra was a highly quality conscious project manager who strongly
believes in establishing strong processes. Starting from the scratch she
built quality system of her team, which delivered quality products
consistently to customers. Chaithra and her team was highly regarded as
However over a period of time, team started introducing too many new
processes and created a “checklist-and-approval” culture. For anything
and everything it became a world of excel sheets, check-lists, and
introducing new templates.
Senior technical and management members started enjoying this
“approval” based culture as they started enjoying the “pseudo power”
that came along with
Over a period of time customers started observing that Chaithra’s team is
slow in delivering products
• What was the problem with Chaithra?
• Process based approach followed by the team is correct or incorrect?
• Why the customer is feeling delay in product releases?
Key observations: Process should help team and customer, Keeping it simple,
Impact of process in team culture
Parameter Aravind Benchmark
Number of operation 400 / month 25 / month
Post infection cases 4 / 10000 patients 6 / 10000 patients
Time taken for operation 10 minutes 30 minutes
Key point: Make it as a standard, Make it repeatable and scalable
What is SDLC?
System Development Life Cycle
A conceptual model used in project management
Describes the stages involved, from an initial
feasibility study through maintenance
To have a successful system
To execute large projects
To understand customer requirements
To deliver on-time with high quality
• No planning of development work (e.g. no milestones
• No control or review
• Poor understanding of cost and effort by both developer
Does not solve user’s problem
• Deliverables to user not identified
• Poor understanding of user requirements
Poor quality of software
• Technical incompetence of developers
Taking an “engineering” approach - To design,
develop (build, fabricate) an artefact that meets
specifications efficiently, cost-effectively and
That comes from:
• Attempt to estimate cost/effort
• Plan and schedule work
• Involve user in defining requirements
• Identify stages in development
• Define clear milestones so that progress can be measured
• Schedule reviews both for control and quality
• Define deliverables
• Plan extensive testing
Process consists of activities/steps to be carried out in
a particular order
Software process deals with both technical and
Process - Manage the project
• Defines project planning and control
• Effort estimations made and schedule prepared
• Resources are provided
• Feedback taken for quality assurance
• Monitoring done.
Process – Change & Configuration management
• Resolving requests for changes
• Defining versions, their compositions
• Release control
Process - For managing processes
• Improving the processes based on new techniques, tools, etc.
• Standardizations and certifications (ISO, CMM)
Steps in process
Each step has a well-defined objective
Requires people with specific skills
Takes specific inputs and produces well-defined outputs
Step defines when it may begin (entry criteria) and
when it ends (exit criteria)
Uses specific techniques, tools, guidelines,
Supports testing and maintainability
Facilitates early detection of and removal of defects
Facilitate monitoring and improvement
Is this project worth doing?
Defining the project scope
Key deliverable is a
Feasibility Study (will it
Identify system interfaces.
Identify basic functional and
data requirements to satisfy
the business need.
Cost/Benefit Analysis (is the
cost really worth it?)
System Boundary (how far
should the project go?)
Risk Management (what will
happen if we don't do it?)
During this phase, a plan is
developed that documents
the approach to be used
It includes a discussion of
methods, tools, tasks,
schedules, and user input.
costs, project schedule,
and target dates are
A Project Management
Plan is created
• Cost / Benefit Analysis
• Hardware, Software,
• Identify and estimate
to see if user needs
can be satisfied using
• More tan one way
would be possible
Define the client’s
Further define and refine the
functional and data
requirements and document
them in the Requirements
Develop detailed data and
process models including
system inputs and outputs.
Develop the test and
evaluation requirements that
will be used to determine
Define how the system will be
Generate a number of design
options based on technical,
operational, economic, scheduling
and tendering constraints
The client selects the best option
for their needs (assess feasibility
Acquire the necessary hardware
Design interfaces, databases,
networks as required
Specify integration requirements
and software requirements
Build and deliver the system
Build/modify databases and
networks as required
Build and test programs
• Acceptance testing, user
Prepare users for new system
Finalize system and technical
Install the system
Integration & Testing
system, security, and user
acceptance testing is
The user, with those
responsible for quality
assurance, validates that
requirements, as defined
in the functional
are satisfied by the
developed or modified
This phase is initiated after the
system has been tested and
accepted by the user.
The system is installed to
support the intended business
System performance is
compared to performance
objectives established during
the planning phase.
Implementation includes user
notification, user training,
installation of hardware,
installation of software onto
production computers, and
integration of the system into
daily work processes.
Evaluation measures how
well the original ambitions
of the new system (i.e. the
logical design laid down
during the analysis phase)
have been achieved.
Evaluation doesn't really
serve to improve the
system that is being
evaluated; it serves to
improve the next system
you will work on
Typical evaluation criteria include:
• Quality of output
• Cost of operation
• Ease of use
• Compatibility with other systems
• Functionality (does it have the features it needs?)
• Flexibility (can it be upgraded, modified, adapted, tweaked,
• Size, portability
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