SOFTWARE PROJECT APPROACH
Development projects involve the creation of software applications or integrated application systems. Software development projects are completed in-house, through outsourcing, or by a combined approach. FIRSTPLUS manages development projects using systematic methodologies that divide large, complex tasks into smaller, more easily managed segments or phases.
Traditionally, systems development life cycle (SDLC) method is used to assist in the development of application software. The SDLC provided a satisfactory method to manage the projects because the functional and security requirements of the software were limited. Functional requirements were primarily limited to transaction processing and output reporting. Security requirements were limited because of the closed environment in which computers operates.
Client/server systems provide significantly more users increased access to systems and data. Therefore, the need to develop software with greater functionality and stronger internal controls contributed to our development of alternative and risk-focused software development approach.
Our development approach is a modification of the SDLC method and it involves the completion of project activities in repetitive (iterative) cycles. The techniques reduce project risks by ensuring the requirements of each participant (end users, auditors, security administrators, designers, developers, system technicians, etc.) are thoroughly considered during each project phase. Involving all parties during each project phase reduces the risk that organizations will not identify problems until late in a project’s life cycle.
It involves establish development standards that address project management, system control, and quality assurance. Project management standards addresses project management methodologies, risk management procedures, and project approval authorities. System control standards addresses items such as application functional, security, and automated control features. Quality assurance standards address issues such as the validation of project assumptions, adherence to project standards, and testing of a product’s performance.
It also includes procedures for managing changes during the development process. “Scope creep” is a common problem associated with software development projects. It occurs when developers receive requests to add or modify a program’s features while the program is being developed. Although the addition or modification of functional, security, or control features may be appropriate, uncontrolled changes disrupt the development process. Establishing change approval procedures and cut-off dates (after which requested changes are deferred to subsequent versions) assist us to manage change during the development process.
Our development standards also include procedures for managing internally developed spreadsheets and database reports. This assists us to make important budgeting and asset/liability decisions, implement adequate testing, documentation, and change-control procedures.