DaSy Framework: System Design and Development (SD) Subcomponent

DaSy Framework: SD tile

The System Design and Development subcomponent addresses the characteristics of the functional and technical requirements for database applications, and the development and implementation of applications based on those requirements. This subcomponent includes the process of defining the database structure, user interface, system standards and components, and the data elements. State staff involvement, input, and review throughout the entire process are hallmarks of a high-quality Part C and Part B 619 data system.

The purpose of the System Design and Development subcomponent is to assist states in creating and supporting database applications based on the Part C and Part B 619 program requirements consistent with the purpose and vision. System design and development is the means by which the operational needs of the program staff and other users are translated into a functional and technical infrastructure that will meet those needs. This subcomponent supports the development of new database applications as well as major enhancements to existing systems.

This subcomponent was developed around the phases and processes of a standard System Development Life Cycle (SDLC), which includes (1) system initiation; (2) system requirements analysis; (3) system design; (4) system development; (5) system acceptance; and (6) system deployment. This subcomponent should begin once a high-level plan is approved for a new database application or enhancement and ends when the application or enhancement is deployed. Ongoing management to support the application is addressed in the Data Governance and Management subcomponent, and the evaluation of the application to determine needed enhancements is addressed in the Sustainability subcomponent. Designing and developing a database application involves numerous technical requirements and processes usually performed by the information technology (IT) team and not the Part C and Part B 619 staff. Although the technical activities conducted by the IT team are not addressed within this subcomponent, Part C and Part B 619 staff should collaborate with them to ensure the application functions as expected.

This subcomponent consists of three sections, each of which addresses two phases of the SDLC. The first section, Initiation and Requirements Analysis, addresses the first two phases of the life cycle: initiation of a new database application or enhancement, and system requirements analysis. The purpose of requirements analysis is to obtain a thorough and detailed understanding of the “business” or program needs and to break those into discrete requirements that provide the foundation this work. These requirements must then be clearly defined, reviewed, and agreed upon by the state Part C and Part B 619 staff. Sufficient time and resources should be allocated during system requirements analysis to bring stakeholders and their interests into the process. Subject-matter experts in Part C and Part B 619 must also be actively involved in defining business requirements through an iterative process.

This first section also addresses critical data elements and functions that should be included in a high-quality Part C or Part B 619 database application. A fundamental purpose of the framework is to help states develop more robust and comprehensive database applications, and such applications include the suggested data elements and functions. Although many state database applications do not have all the suggested data elements and functions, the purpose of the framework is to help states move toward more effective systems. It is important to look to the future when developing system functionality, e.g., designing for access through mobile devices, electronic signature capability, parent portals, and predictive analytics.

The second section, Design and Development, addresses the technical aspects of the system design and development work. Part C and Part B 619 staff may not be directly involved in this technical work. The state should, however, have a process in place for Part C and Part B 619 state staff to work and communicate with the IT team, regularly providing input, feedback, and approval when necessary.

The third section, Acceptance and Deployment, addresses the fifth and sixth phases of the SDLC. Successful acceptance testing is the final opportunity to establish that the database application performs as expected in environments that closely simulate those which will be used after deployment. During acceptance testing, end users thoroughly test the application as if it were fully implemented. This section also includes updating supporting documentation and reference materials. Deployment refers to the launch of the new database application or enhancement.

Section 1: Initiation and Requirements Analysis

Quality Indicator SD1

Part C/619 state staff are actively involved in initiating the development of the new database application or enhancement, including business requirements, process models, and data models.

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Quality Indicator SD2

The system requirements analysis results in documented requirements for the new database application/enhancement that accurately describe what the new application/enhancement must do.

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Quality Indicator SD3

The Part C/619 state database application has the capacity to support accountability, program improvement, and program operations, and should contain the following data elements and functions.

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Section 2: Design and Development

Quality Indicator SD4

Part C/619 state staff work together with the IT team to translate requirements into the design, build, and testing of the new database application/enhancement.

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Section 3: Acceptance and Deployment

Quality Indicator SD5

Part C/619 state staff prepare for, communicate about, and conduct user acceptance testing to ensure the new database application/enhancement functions properly before deployment.

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Quality Indicator SD6

Part C/619 state staff participate in creating, reviewing, and revising materials to support the implementation of the database application/enhancement.

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Quality Indicator SD7

Part C/619 state staff communicate and work with the IT team to deploy the new database application/enhancement.

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Resources Related to System Design and Development