DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Systems Development Life Cycle
Glossary and Acronyms
Revised July 2008
Table of Contents
Glossary ......................................................................................................................................3 Acronyms ................................................................................................................................. 25
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Acceptance Test - Formal testing conducted to determine whether or not a system satisfies its
acceptance criteria and to enable the customer to determine whether or not to accept the system.
See User Acceptance Test.
Accreditation - Formal declaration by an accrediting authority that a computer system is
approved to operate in a particular security mode using a prescribed set of safeguards.
Acquisition Plan - A formal document showing how all hardware, software, and
telecommunications capabilities, along with resources, are to be obtained during the life of the
Activity - A unit of work to be completed in order to achieve the objectives of a work
breakdown structure. See Work Breakdown Structure. In process modeling, an activity requires
inputs and produces outputs. See Input/Output.
Adaptability - The ease with which software satisfies differing system constraints and user
Adaptive Maintenance - Maintenance performed to change a system in order to keep it usable
in a changed environment.
Alias - A name of a data entity or data attribute that is different from its official name.
Allocated Baseline - The approved documentation that describes the design of the functional
and interface characteristics that are allocated from a higher-level configuration item. See
Alternative Work Patterns - Work pattern that permits tailoring a project plan to meet the specific needs of the project and still conform to SDLC standards.
Application - A system providing a set of services to solve some specific user problem.
Application Model - A model used to graphically and textually represent the required data and
processes within the scope of the application development project.
Application Software - Software specifically developed to perform a specific type of work; for
example, a word processor. Compare to System Software.
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Architecture - The structure of a computer system, either a part or the entire system; can be
hardware, software, or both.
Audit - A formal review of a project (or project activity) for the purpose of assessing compliance
with contractual obligations.
Availability - The degree to which a system (or system component) is operational and accessible
when required for use.
Backup - v. To copy software files onto a different media that can be sorted separately from the
original files and used to restore the original files, if needed. The act of creating these files. n.
The set of copied files.
Baseline - A work product (such as software or documentation) that has been formally reviewed,
approved, and delivered and can only be changed through formal change control procedures.
See Allocated Baseline, Functional Baseline, Operational Baseline, Product Baseline.
Benchmark - A standard against which measurements or comparisons can be made.
Bottom-up - The process of designing a system by designing the low-level components first;
then integrating them into large subsystems until the complete system is designed; bottom-up
testing tests these low-level components first, using software drivers to simulate the higher level
components. See Top-down.
Build - An operational version of a software product incorporating a specified subset of the
complete system functionality. See Version.
Business Process Reengineering - The redesign of an organization, culture, and business processes to achieve significant improvements in costs, time, service, and quality.
Capability - A measure of the expected use of a system.
Capacity - A measure of the amount of input a system could process and/or amount of work a
system can perform; for example, number of users, number of reports to be generated.
Certification - Comprehensive analysis of the technical and non-technical security features and
other safeguards of a system to establish the extent to which a particular system meets a set of
specified security requirements.
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Change - In Configuration Management, a formally recognized revision to a specified and
documented requirement. See Change Control, Change Directive, Change Impact Assessment,
Change Implementation Notice.
Change Control – In Configuration Management, the process by which a change is proposed,
evaluated, approved (or disapproved), scheduled, and tracked. See Change, Change Directive, Change Impact Assessment, Change Implementation Notice.
Change Control Documents - Formal documents used in the configuration management
process to track, control, and manage the change of configuration items over the systems
development or maintenance life cycle. See System Change Request, Change Impact Assessment, Change Directive, and Change Implementation Notice.
Change Directive - The formal Change Control Document used to implement an approved
change. See Change Control Documents.
Change Impact Assessment - The formal Change Control Document used to determine the
effect of a proposed change before a decision is made to implement it. See Change Control
Change Implementation Notice - The formal Change Control Document used to report the
actual implementation of a change in a system. See Change Control Documents.
Client/Server - A network application in which the end-user interaction with the system (server)
is through a workstation (client) that executes some portion of the application.
Code - v. To transform the system logic and data from design specifications into a programming
language. n. The computer program itself; pseudo-code is code written in an English-like
logical representation, source code is code written in a programming language, object code is
code written in machine language.
Compatibility - A measure of the ability of two or more systems (or system components) to
exchange information and use the information that has been exchanged. Same as
Component - General term for a part of a software system (hardware or software). See Product.
Computer-aided Software Engineering - An electronic tool that is used to assist in the design, development, and coding of software. See Tools.
Computer System Security Officer - The person who ensures that all Computer and
Telecommunications Security (C&TS) activities are undertaken at the user site. Includes
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security activities for planning; awareness training; risk management; configuration management;
certification and accreditation; compliance assurance; incident reporting; and guidance and
Concept of Operations - A formal document that describes the user’s environment and process
relative to a new or modified system; defines the users, if not already known. Called a CONOPS.
Configuration - The functional and/or physical collection of hardware and software components
as set forth in formal documentation. Also, the requirements, design, and implementation that
define a particular version of a system (or system component). See Configuration Control,
Configuration Item, Configuration Management, Configuration Management Plan,
Configuration Status Accounting.
Configuration Audit - Formal review of a project for the purpose of assessing compliance with
the Configuration Management Plan.
Configuration Control - The process of evaluating, approving or (disapproving), and
coordinating changes to hardware/software configuration items.
Configuration Control Board - The formal entity charged with the responsibility of evaluating, approving (or disapproving), and coordinating changes to hardware/software configuration items.
Configuration Item - An aggregation of hardware and/or software that satisfy an end-use
function and is designated by the customer for configuration management; treated as a single
entity in the configuration management process. A component of a system requiring control
over its development throughout the life cycle of the system.
Configuration Management - The discipline of identifying the configuration of a hardware/software system at each life cycle phase for the purpose of controlling changes to the
configuration and maintaining the integrity and trace ability of the configuration through the
entire life cycle.
Configuration Management Plan - A formal document that establishes formal configuration management practices in a systems development/maintenance project. See Configuration
Configuration Status Accounting - The recording and reporting of the information that is needed to effectively manage a configuration; including a listing of the approved configuration
identification, status of proposed changes to the configuration, and the implementation status of
approved changes. See Configuration.
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Contingency Plan - A formal document that establishes continuity of operations processes in case of a disaster. Includes names of responsible parties to be contacted, data to be restored, and
location of such data.
Conversion - The process of converting (or exchanging) data from an existing system to another
hardware or software environment.
Conversion Plan - A formal document that describes the strategies involved in converting data from an existing system to another hardware or software environment.
Corrective Maintenance - Maintenance performed to correct faults in hardware or software.
Correctness - The degree to which a system or component is free from faults in its specification,
design, and implementation.
Cost Analysis - Presents the costs for design, development, installation, operation and
maintenance, and consumables for the system to be developed.
Cost-Benefit Analysis - The comparison of alternative courses of action, or alternative technical solutions, for the purpose of determining which alternative would realize the greatest cost benefit;
cost-benefit analysis is also used to determine if the system development or maintenance costs
still yield a benefit or if the effort should stop.
Cost Estimate - the process of determining the total cost associated with a software development
or maintenance project, to include the effort, time, and labor required.
Criteria - A standard on which a decision or judgment may be based; for example, acceptance
criteria to determine whether or not to accept a system.
Critical Path - Used in project planning; the sequence of activities (or tasks) that must be
completed on time to keep the entire project on schedule; therefore, the time to complete a
project is the sum of the time to complete the activities on the critical path.
Critical Review Board - A formal board that guides and monitors the development of requirements that affect current and future State systems.
Customer - An individual or organization who specifies the requirements for and formally
accepts delivery of a new or modified system; one who pays for the system. The customer may
or may not be the user; see User.
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Data Dictionary - A repository of information about data, such as its meaning, relationships to
other data, origin, usage and format. A data dictionary manages data categories such as aliases,
data elements, data records, data structure, data store, data models, data flows, data relationships,
processes, functions, dynamics, size, frequency, resource consumption and other user-defined
Database Administrator - The person responsible for managing data at a logical level, namely data definitions, data policies and data security.
Database - A collection of logically related data stored together in one or more computerized
files; an electronic repository of information accessible via a query language interface.
Database Management System - A software system that controls storing, combining, updating, retrieving, and displaying data records.
Data Store - A repository of data; a file.
Demonstration - A procedure to verify system requirements that cannot be tested otherwise.
Deliverable - A formal product that must be delivered to (and approved by) the customer; called
out in the Task Order.
Delivered System Documentation - Includes the Software Development Document, User Manual, Maintenance Manual, and Operations Manual.
Design Phase - The period of time in the systems development life cycle during which the
designs for architecture, software components, interfaces, and data are created, documented, and
verified to satisfy system requirements.
Development Phase - The period of time in the systems development life cycle to convert the
deliverables of the Design Phase into a complete system.
Disposition Phase - The time when a system has been declared surplus and/or obsolete and the
task performed is either eliminated or transferred to other systems.
Disposition Plan - A formal plan providing the full set of procedures necessary to end the
operation or the system in a planned, orderly manner and to ensure that system components and
data are properly archived or incorporated into other systems.
Document - Written and/or graphical information describing, defining, specifying, reporting, or
certifying activities, requirements, procedures, reviews, or results. See Product.
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Effectiveness - The degree to which a system’s features and capabilities meet the user’s needs.
Efficiency - The degree to which a system or component performs its designated functions with
minimum consumption of resources.
Element - A subsystem, component, or unit; either software or hardware, as defined by the
Enhancement - Maintenance performed to provide additional functional or performance
Entity - Represents persons, places, events, things, or abstractions that are relevant to the State
and about which data are collected and maintained.
Fault Tolerance - The ability of a system (or system component) to continue normal operation
despite the presence of hardware or software faults.
Feasibility - The extent to which the benefits of a new or enhanced system will exceed the total
costs and also satisfies the business requirements.
Feasibility Study - A formal study to determine the feasibility of a proposed system (new or
enhanced) in order to make a recommendation to proceed or to propose alternative solutions.
Field Test - Testing that is performed at the user site.
Fielded System - An operational system that is installed at the user site.
Full Sequential - The systems development work pattern defined by the nine life cycle phases
described in the SDLC Guidance Document.
Functionality - The relative usefulness of a functional requirement as it satisfies a business need.
Functional Baseline - The approved documentation that describes the functional characteristics
of the system, subsystem, or component. See Baseline.
Functional Configuration Audit - An audit to ensure that the functional requirements have been met by the delivered configuration item. See Audit.
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Functional Requirement - A requirement that specifies a function (activity or behavior, based
on a business requirement) that the system (or system component) must be capable of performing.
Functional Requirements Document - A formal document of the business (functional) requirements of a system; the baseline for system validation.
Functional Test - Testing that ignores the internal mechanism of a system (or system component)
and focuses solely on the outputs generated in response to selected inputs and execution
conditions. Same as black box testing.
Gantt Chart - A list of activities plotted against time, showing start time, duration, and end time;
also known as a bar chart.
Hardware - The physical portion of a system (or subsystem), including the electrical
components. Compare to Software.
Host - The computer that controls communications in a network that administers a database; the
computer on which a program or file is installed; a computer used to develop software intended
for another computer. See Target.
Implementation - Installing and testing the final system, usually at the user (field) site; the
process of installing the system.
Implementation Phase - The period of time in the systems development life cycle when the
system is installed, made operational, and turned over to the user (for the beginning of the
Operations and Maintenance Phase).
Implementation Plan - A formal document that describes how the system will be installed and
Information Technology - The application of engineering solutions in order to develop
computer systems that process data.
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