A long-standing anomaly within information systems development (ISD) exists - claims made for the benefits of methodology usage and the actuality of practice are poles apart. While both academics and practitioners have been aware of this credibility gap, the information systems (IS) community continue to have difficulty reconciling it. Apparent breakthroughs such as structured and object-oriented methods fall well short of guaranteeing success. It is contended that neither methodological nor amethodical approaches fully explain or express the complexity of systems development and that a new perspective drawing on decision-making theory may yield fresh insights. A framework is developed, combining an analysis of decision-making within the systems development life cycle, key models of decision-making and the actors involved in the process of systems development. It is contented here that ISD is, in essence, a problem-solving and decision-making process and that systems development is neither deterministic or without structure - it is creative yet somewhat ordered, improvisational yet explicit, and both rational and political. The paper concludes that a deeper understanding of differing viewpoints on systems development held by actors and other phenomena can be illustrated with the framework.