The material in this section is organized according to the FIRSTPLUS generic system development life cycle. While no two development efforts are exactly alike, all projects should progress through the same six phases:

1. System Initiation – in which the Business Case and Proposed Solution developed during Project Origination are re-examined to ensure that they are still appropriately defined and address an existing organizational need. This validation effort provides the Project Team with the basis for a detailed schedule defining the steps needed to obtain a thorough understanding of the business requirements and an initial view of staffing needs. In addition, a high level schedule is developed for subsequent system development life cycle phases.

2. System Requirements Analysis – in which the needs of the business are captured in as much detail as possible. The Project Manager leads the Project Team in working with the Customers to define what it is that the new system must do. By obtaining a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the business requirements, the Project Team can develop the Functional Specification that will drive the system design.

3. System Design – which builds upon the work performed during System Requirements Analysis, and results in a translation of the functional requirements into a complete technical solution. This solution dictates the technical architecture, standards, specifications and strategies to be followed throughout the building, testing, and implementation of the system. The completion of System Design also marks the point in the project at which the Project Manager should be able to plan, in detail, all future project phases.

4. System Construction – throughout which the Project Team builds and tests the various modules of the application, including any utilities that will be needed during System Acceptance and System Implementation. As system components are built, they will be tested both individually and in logically related and integrated groupings until such time as a full system test has been performed to validate functionality. Documentation and training materials are also developed during this phase.

5. System Acceptance – during which the focus of system validation efforts shifts from those team members responsible for developing the application to those who will ultimately use the system in the execution of their daily responsibilities. In addition to confirming that the system meets functional expectations, activities are aimed at validating all aspects of data conversion and system deployment.

6. System Implementation – the final phase of the lifecycle, which comprises all activities associated with the deployment of the application. These efforts include training, installation of the system in a production setting, and transition of ownership of the application from the Project Team to the Performing Organization.

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