It is worth starting with basic concepts about systems in business management, their life cycle and ethics. A conceptual model for project management known as the systems development life cycle, or SDLC, outlines the phases of an information system development project, from the first feasibility study through the maintenance of the finished application. SDLC can be applied to technical and non-technical systems. In most cases, the system is an organisation consisting of direct agents and equipment. However, the system is also fundamental to the business as such. SDLCs typically involve project and program managers, systems engineers and managers, and groups of employees. Every business system goes through a development process, which can be considered an iterative process with several stages. The SDLC is used to create a rigid framework and structure to define the phases and steps involved in developing a system and its ethics.
The subject WUCB113, or human-centred Systems Design, introduces the concept of a system, emphasising the importance of systems thinking about the research, analysis and collaborative design of information and other systems. From a human perspective, people must explore ethics, responsibility, and sustainability issues relevant to developing complex systems, new technologies, and innovation (Roscoe et al., 2020). Furthermore, as can be understood from the very essence of this subject, it is fundamental to the ethical development of the system and as a result of its SDLC. However, the system is also fundamental to the business as such. The SDLC is used to create a rigid framework and structure to define the phases and steps involved in developing a system and its ethics.
The subject WUCB113, or human-centred Systems Design, introduces the concept of a system, emphasising the importance of systems thinking concerning the research, analysis and collaborative design of information and other systems. From a human perspective, students explore ethics, responsibility, and sustainability issues relevant to developing complex systems, new technologies, and innovation. Furthermore, as can be understood from the very essence of this subject, it is fundamental to the ethical development of the system and as a result of its SDLC.
Various SDLC methodologies have been developed to manage the processes involved, including the original SDLC method, the Waterfall model. Other SDLC models include Rapid Systems Development, Collaborative Development, Fountain Model, Spiral Model, Build and Fix, and Synchronisation and Stabilisation. Another standard model today is called agile development. Often several models are combined into a hybrid methodology. Many of these models, such as waterfall or agile, are used with system development. Numerous models can be adapted to develop business systems.
In SDLC, documentation is critical, regardless of the type of model chosen for any model, and is usually done in parallel with the development process. Some methods work better for specific projects, but in the long run, the most critical factor in a project’s success may be how closely the company followed a particular plan. An SDLC may consist of several steps, and there is no specific set number of steps. Usually around seven or eight paces; however, there can be from five to 12. As a rule, the more steps defined in the SDLC model, the more detailed these steps are; thus, the improved development efficiency.
In general, the SDLC methodology follows several necessary universal steps. The first and one of the main ones is the analysis, during which the existing system is evaluated. Teamwork is essential in collaborative design because, in the end, it is the concept created by the group that will form the basis of the system design. Next comes identifying deficiencies, during which people can interrogate the system’s participants and consult with the support service. This is followed by formulating the plan and requirements, during which the new system requirements are determined. In particular, the current system’s deficiencies should be addressed through concrete improvement proposals.
This stage of system development has its own ethical problems, and as a result, its own ways of solving them. A significant problem developing human-operated systems is the pressure from within the system. The systematisation of the work process and all other elements of the business also affects the systematisation of the lives of people working in it. This can often lead to burnout among staff because the more complex and broad the system, the more dehumanises the company’s employees (Lam et al., 2022). People cease to feel their importance in massive centralised systems. This ethical problem can be solved by developing the very concept of the system, creating it as decentralised as possible. Thus, employees will feel not part of a colossal institute but responsible team members.
Teamwork and systematic thinking are essential in collaborative design. This need comes from the fact that, in the end, the concept created by the group will become the basis of system design (Sanchez-Segura et al., 2018). A team’s performance varies depending on its members’ organisation, exploiting their synergies, and planning for the optimal fulfilment of minimum requirements with the best results (Clark & Hoffman, 2019). In this context, a dual-purpose methodology can be beneficial. First, the team must use a soft systems methodology to launch viability-oriented teamwork (Sanchez-Segura et al., 2018). Shaping should take place based on the complexity of the team, a better understanding of idiosyncrasy, and synergy using the team’s behaviour. The viable systems model can suggest the core functions of a team that works effectively in a dynamic organisational environment. Equally important is the application of holistic thinking in the practice of problem-solving, helping the team to integrate and apply a systems approach.
The final steps in building a system are just as necessary as the foundation laid at the start of development. When developing a new system, obtaining and implementing new components and personnel is necessary. The end users of the system must be trained in its use. Testing comes next: all aspects of performance must be tested. If necessary, adjustments should be made at this stage. Tests performed by quality assurance (QA) teams may include system integration and system testing. At the end of the process, there is a deployment in which the system is included in the production environment. This can be done in various ways. Depending on the application or location, the new system may be phased in while the old system is gradually replaced.
In this case, the ethical problem arises already at the stage of system integration. In particular, it is problematic to see a strong stress for employees when integrating a new system to replace the old one. Even gradual changes in the usual work process can be extremely stressful for employees. The solution lies in the gradual and high-quality training of personnel for new changes, as well as the step-by-step implementation of the system. This will allow staff to do their job better without experiencing the stress of adapting.
In some circumstances, it could be more economical to stop using the old system and start using the new one immediately away. Support and maintenance of the system during its development includes changing and updating the system after its implementation. Hardware, staffing, and supplies may need to be upgraded, replaced, or altered in some way. This is necessary so that the system is constantly better suited to the final requirements of the business. Users of the system must be aware of the latest developments and procedures and have all the necessary ethical opportunities.
Clark, K. & Hoffman, A., 2019. Educating healthcare students: Strategies to teach systems thinking to prepare new healthcare graduates. Journal of Professional Nursing, 35(3), pp.195–200.
Lam, L.T. et al., 2022. Factors associated with work-related burnout among corporate employees amidst COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), p.1295.
Roscoe, R.D., Chiou, E.K. & Wooldridge, A.R., 2020. Advancing diversity, inclusion, and social justice through Human Systems Engineering, Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Sanchez-Segura, M.-I. et al., 2018. Team formation using a systems thinking approach. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 35(4), pp.369–385.