Sometimes the original method is the best method. This may come as a surprise in a field like technology and software development that changes so fast. If you’re a systems engineer (or an aspiring one), then you need to know about the original approach to systems engineering.

The waterfall systems development life cycle is legendary. In fact, it is still one of the best methods you can use. Not familiar with the Waterfall approach? Read on to learn everything about it!

What Is the Waterfall Approach?

Winston Walker Royce created the waterfall approach to systems development in 1970. It is one of the first modern methods for systems building. Its popularity is due to its logical flow from the beginning of a project to the end. Thus, the software development life cycle (SDLC) is like a waterfall. 

Many development methodologies have since come into favor, like agile methodologies. Regardless, the waterfall approach will remain a go-to design process.

What Is the Waterfall Systems Development Life Cycle?

From beginning to end, the waterfall systems development life cycle steps are requirement analysis; system design; implementation; testing; deployment; and maintenance.

Requirement Analysis

In the requirement analysis step, developers gather information about system requirements and document the requirements.

System Design

In the system design stage, developers study the requirement specifications and prepare the system design. This step helps developers identify specific hardware to use and the system requirements. It also helps developers to create the system architecture.


This stage of the cycle sees developers creating small units, which will be combined together in the following step. Each unit is tested to ensure functionality before it is integrated.

Integration & Testing

Once developed and tested in the implementation phase, the units are then integrated into a whole system. Once integrated together, developers test the whole system for issues or failures.


After all testing is complete, the system is then ready for release into the market. The release, or “deployment,” is when the system is actually released to the public or the specific customer base.


This stage describes the issues that come up once the product has been released to the public. This includes patches and newer and improved versions of the same product.

Ready to Learn?

The waterfall systems development life cycle makes up the natural flow of system development. Even as new development methodologies are created and rise in popularity, the waterfall approach will always remain a reliable method for successful development. If you want you to be an effective systems engineer, then it’s imperative that you’re familiar with this process.

Does your company need assistance with systems engineering and security? Contact us today to see what solutions we can provide for all your problems!

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