Development Life Cycle and how to implement it

Hi everyone,

I currently work for an outsourcing company, and in my department we create and maintain letters for the different clients who are contracted to us. We have two systems in which the letters can be built. An in house one, which is about 5 to 6 years old, and newer system, bought in to the company which is about 3 years old.

With the newer system we go through the standard development life cycle, analyse, develop, test, promote to live. We test in a separate server to the live data, and once everyone is happy and the letter is signed off, it is promoted to the live server.

The older system does not work like, it does not have the functionality to promote from one server to another. Instead, it has a stand alone test system and a stand alone live system. The idea is that the work is done in the test system, and once everyone is happy, it is then replicated on to the live system, where a sense check is carried out to make sure it is correct.

The people who use the older system tend to do most of their work in the live system, especially when a defect to a letter comes in, they just amend the live system and do nothing with the test system.

I am trying to get them to go down the route of doing everything in test, no matter how small it is. For example, at the moment when they create a new letter, they may have to setup say 10 letters for different clients. They just create one in the test base and have someone else from the team Quality Check the letter. Should the letter have a wording error (a missing ‘a’ or ‘the’), then they take it as the letter is OK and proceed to build the letters in live. To me its crazy, and if something is wrong, no matter how small, it is wrong.

Would anyone be able to back me up with this and also offer any help in being able to convert and to get the people on the older system to realise that this is actually a bad thing to do, I presume that it is, if anyone can actually suggest that it is good what they are doing, then please give me a valid argument and I will be happy.

I look forward to seeing the responses.