Why is a formal systems development process needed for developing IT systems? What are its advantages and how does it help prevent a systems development effort from failing? Give an example where you think it could help.
Why is a formal systems development process needed for developing IT systems?
A skilled leader and skilled teammates drive the development process. The theory in the text leads you to believe that the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is the end all be all to development. That is simply not the case. The SDLC is a tool like a hammer. The carpenter is the one that uses the hammer to drive the nail. The hammer is useless without the skilled carpenter. Likewise the carpenter needs to know how to use the hammer. He also needs to understand that there are different hammers for different nails. If the hammer is too big, use a smaller one. If the hammer appears to not work, make one that will.
What are its advantages and how does it help prevent a systems development effort from failing?
The SDLC is a formal process and not a law, it is a guide that should be modified for the need. The SDLC is a process that was developed after many failed or inefficient attempts at success. The SDLC is to provide a better way of doing things, but is not the only way to do process development.
Give an example where you think it could help.
Since SDLC is not part of the three worlds largest software developers vocabulary, I would think that the Longhorn development team at Microsoft could use a skilled carpenter with a big hammer. If they continue to chop off major portions of the proposed product from 4 years ago, then there will not be much of a product left to use.