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Systems Development Life Cycle – SDLC | Define with example & Explain with Diagram

SDLC Definition

The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) describes a process for planning, analysis, designing, creating, testing, and deploying an information system. A number of SDLC models or methodologies have been implemented to address different system needs, including waterfall, spiral, Agile software development, rapid prototyping, and incremental.

The Systems Development Life Cycle is the big picture of creating an information system that handles a major task (referred to as an application). The applications usually consist of many programs.

SDLC Examples

An example would be the Department of Defense supply system, the customer system used at your local bank, the repair parts inventory system used by car dealerships. There are thousands of applications that use an information system created just to help solve a business problem.

SDLC Diagram

SDLC Steps – a quick discussion on different steps of the SDLC

During the Design phase, the System Analyst will document the inputs, processing, and outputs of each program within the application.

During the Implementation phase, programmers would be assigned to write the specific programs using a programming language decided by the System Analyst.

Once the system of programs is tested the new application is installed for people to use.

As time goes by, things change and a specific part or program might need repair. During the Maintenance phase, it goes through a mini planning, analysis, design, and implementation.

The programs that need modification are identified and programmers change or repair those programs.

After several years of use, the system usually becomes obsolete. At this point, a major revision of the application is done. Thus the cycle repeats itself.

Attribution: This post is based on the content of an eBook named Programming Fundamentals by Authors and Contributors (KENNETH LEROY BUSBEE AND DAVE BRAUNSCHWEIG) and it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License(, except where otherwise noted.

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