Full Life Cycle Development
Systems & Software Engineering

Over time business needs and practices change, government regulations and policies change, technology changes, and user demands change. Information systems must evolve to accommodate these changing needs. The Intelligent Systems Department of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) helps industry and government clients manage evolutionary changes to information systems throughout all phases of the systems development life cycle (SDLC).

Systems Development Life Cycle . . . What Is It?

Within the SDLC, there are four basic functions that must be managed:

  • Requirements – what the system is supposed to do
  • Design – blueprint of the architecture, interfaces and functions of the system
  • Implementation – the physical system itself
  • Testing – making sure the system really does what it’s supposed to do
image: Example of Enterprise Systems Development Life Cycle

Example of Enterprise Systems Development Life Cycle

Example of Enterprise Systems Development Life Cycle

These functions are not performed in isolation; rather, they are performed in an interconnected and overlapping fashion throughout the life cycle of all systems. Several standard conceptual models exist to describe the connection and sequence of these functions within the life cycle, such as:

  • Waterfall
  • Spiral
  • Iterative
  • Prototype

Each model has strengths and weaknesses and lends itself to specific situations. SwRI has experience with selecting and adapting these life cycle models appropriately to accommodate complexity and risk factors for a given client project.

Scalable Solutions

Because SwRI is well versed in all aspects of SDLC management, we are able to not only deliver complete turn-key solutions for our clients, but we can also provide support to defined subsets of functions within the overall life cycle including:

  • Requirements development – transforming the client's desires into coherent requirement statements that system architects can rely on when developing a system solution
  • Systems modeling – analyzing and documenting current and future system functions, interfaces and performance requirements to guide developers when implementing the system solution and to allow low-risk evaluation of design alternatives prior to implementation
  • Trade study – evaluating commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products against business requirements for selection and integration with or replacement of existing systems
  • Prototype/proof-of-concept – executing design and implementation on a small scale to determine the feasibility of systems technology and mitigate risk of implementation on large scale
  • Independent verification and validation (IV&V) – ensuring all requirements are addressed by the non-SwRI developed system and producing a product that meets the client's needs within the program's constraints

Related Terminology

software engineering  •  information systems  •  information system development  •  infrastructure specification  •  system architecture specification  •  software design  •  software development  •  Software Development Life Cycle  •  SDLC p>

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.