How is this different? In this part of the course we are concerned with how projects are managed in industry and business Students with an aptitude in IPT are likely to pursue careers as • Managers or • Systems Analysts Much of the work carried out by these professions is project based Much of the material in these units are derived as a result of consultation with industry
Where in the syllabus does project management occur ? In the preliminary course the unit “Planning, Design and Implementation” is where students meet most of the major concepts required for project management In the HSC course, this material is covered in the very first unit “Project Work”
How should project management be taught? Many teachers teach the preliminary syllabus in a linear fashion As a result, material in the unit “Planning, Design and Implementation” is not covered until almost the end of the course, (usually early term 3) The CSTA teaching program schedules the “Planning, Design and Implementation” material in term 3
What is the difference between the Year 11 and Year 12 Project Management Units The syllabus describes the Year 11 unit “ Planning, Design and Implementation” as the “… traditional method of developing systems” The HSC course • Expands on some of the detail in the Preliminary unit • Adds new material on Prototype development and participant based development.
What is the difference between the Year 11 and Year 12 Project Management Units Since the Preliminary project unit is, more or less, a subset of the HSC unit, I have often wondered whether it would be worthwhile just teaching the latter In the following slides we will examine each unit in detail and highlight major differences Remember, the steps taken by students in the management of their projects, reflect those used by systems analysts and project managers in the real world
“ Planning, Design and Implementation” - Preliminary This unit describes the following steps used to create a project. These include: • Understanding the problem • Making Decisions • Designing solutions • Implementing • Testing, evaluating and maintaining • Social & ethical issues In the workplace, some of the above steps overlap, or are revisited if it is required to do so i.e. a development cycle
Understanding the problem Here the purpose of the existing system along with the nature and extent of the problems are to be determined Students learn about the use of interviews, observations, time/motion studies and the use of surveys The importance of good survey design needs to be emphasised
Understanding the problem Students need to be able to create survey questions that will enable them to • Understand the problem better • Determine an appropriate solution • Enable data obtained to be processed by a computer e.g. a database
Understanding the problem Project management involves the production of a lot of documentation The first document produced is the Requirement Report. This describes • The needs of the users, • The data/information used and required, • The required information technology, • The information processes that are currently used and will be required by any new system.
Understanding the problem The next document that is developed is the Project Plan. This includes: • The Requirement Report • Gantt Charts – showing the scheduling of the various project tasks. • A funding management plan – costing of the new system, sources of funds, how money is to be spent, how much is to implement the new system (development costs), how much money is required to maintain the system (operating costs) etc • A communications management plan – the media used to communicate, guide lines for communication, the frequency of communication, etc
Making Decisions In this stage, the existing system is investigated more thoroughly and ideally a number of possible solutions are investigated. For each solution there is a feasibility study which covers: • Financial feasibility - Cost/benefit analysis should be carried out. • Technical feasibility – does the technology exist to develop a particular solution? Is it readily available? • Schedule Feasibility – can this solution be implemented in the given time frame? • Operational Feasibility – Is the project in line with the current goals of the organization? Does this project over reach the capacity of the organization. Does it suit the organisation’s purpose.
Making Decisions More documentation. All of the above is submitted to management along with a recommended course of action Management approves or disapproves If approved – solution design begins If disapproved – its back to step one and the current system is re-investigated
Designing solutions The project team has a way forward and starts to put together a system design A number of tools are used in this process including: • Top / down design • Context diagrams • Data flow diagrams • System flowcharts • Decision trees • Decision tables • Data dictionaries
Designing solutions Both of the textbooks I use, Powers (Heinemann) and Ware & Grover (Jacaranda) have good sections on these tools Ware & Grover use a case study approach to illustrate how these tools are used. (Actually the case study is used to demonstrate how all of the steps of the SDC are used). Powers’ book offers students practical exercises that require students to apply the design tools to particular situations
Implementing Firstly, there is the system conversion method to think about. • Parallel – both systems run together • Direct – immediate change to the new system • Phased – gradual implementation by introducing only a small part of the system at a time, working out the bugs, then implementing another part of the system, etc • Pilot – trialling the new system in a small part of the organisation Students need to be able to decide on the best conversion method to use in a particular situation and be able to justify their choice
Implementation Secondly, how will the participants be trained in the use of the system The type of training will depend on the: • Existing knowledge of the participants • The features of the new system
Implementation Normally, training boils down to four possible choices: • Train the trainer – one person is trained and then trains everyone else • Use of Training Specialists – material is supplied to the specialist, who analyses the information and determines the best method to use to present the information • Training manuals & presentations – useful for staff who already know what they are doing and need clarification on a few minor issues • Providers of hardware & software may carry out their own specialised training Students must be able to justify a particular training choice
Testing, evaluating and maintaining Testing is carried out at all of the above stages In this stage, we need to determine if the output from the system is meeting all of the requirements specified in the requirement report
Testing, evaluating and maintaining After the system is well established, evaluation of the system takes place Is the system working as expected? Are any modifications required to the system? Minor changes can be implemented on the existing system However, if it is determined that major changes are required, the system development cycle is started over again
Testing, evaluating and maintaining Maintenance – is defined as making minor modifications to a system It includes: • Small deficiencies in the system, e.g. A change in the layout of a screen • Installing new hardware, e.g. printer • Upgrading software packages
Some Social and Ethical Issues Human centred vs machine centre systems • The former places the needs of the participants first of all – making the participants work as effective and satisfying as possible • Machine centred – simplify what the computer does, however this is usually at the expense of the participants • What are the OH&S issues to consider?
Some Social and Ethical Issues Does the new system have any effect on the organization? • Relationships between participants • Flattened hierarchy • Less employees required • Retraining of employees • Better qualified employees required • Greater expectations of employees
Project Work – HSC This is essentially the same as the preliminary, with • A little more detail • Some new content – but not a lot • The formalisation of the project management process
The System Development Cycle (SDC) The process of system development can be represented as a cyclical process The next slide demonstrates this idea. The following slides details additional content / detail of importance.
Understanding the problem Making Decisions Designing Solutions Implementing Testing, evaluating and Maintaining
Understanding the Problem On page 33 of the syllabus you will notice that • The project plan, and • Social and ethical design are described separately. These are a part of “Understanding the problem”. However, they have been described separately to stop people from exclusively associating this new content with Prototyping. This content can be applied to any version of system development. Notice the expanded communication skills. These skills go beyond those necessary for just gathering data and have a more managerial inclination
Understanding the Problem Prototyping is another common form of system development It is often used when the development team is having difficulty “pinning down” the exact nature of the problem The prototype is like a scaled down version of the final system with input and output screens and some limited processing capability
Understanding the Problem The prototype is presented to the participants for comment and criticism Participant feedback is the basis upon which modifications to the prototype are made until the problem is understood Once the problem is understood, system development proceeds as before
Making Decisions No major changes to the Preliminary course material Notice that Prototyping is included as a possible solution
Designing Solutions Again, the use of prototypes as a method for creating solutions is mentioned Participant development is also introduced This occurs when people within the organisation that use an overall information system, develop their own solutions using guided processes (like wizards) and application packages
Designing Solutions A good example of this occurs in schools: All government schools use the O.A.S.I.S. software package to manage the finances of the school. However, on a faculty level, the finances are often managed by using a spreadsheet. This is a participant based solution.
Implementation Note that students need to be aware of the importance of an implementation plan This plan details • The preferred conversion method • How existing data will converted for use by the new system • The options for training
Testing, evaluating and maintaining Acceptance Testing – running test data and real data on the system to look for errors, shortcomings and unexpected failures If the system passes a checklist of tests and performance standards, the system then becomes operational As before the system is evaluated and maintained, until it is determined that a new system is required and the system development cycle begins all over again
How does the SDC impact on students? In the classroom, students have to implement the system development cycle as a part of their assessment tasks Students can implement only a few parts of the cycle or the whole thing This not only includes the development of some product but also the provision of some or all of the documentation described in the system development cycle
How does the SDC impact on students? In the preliminary course, the required documentation for projects usually includes the: • Requirement Report, and the • Feasibility Study
How does the SDC impact on students? In the HSC course, students are required to submit a full set of system development cycle documents for their major project including a: • Requirement Report, • Copies of questionaries, surveys, minutes of meetings, team goals and duties, • Feasibility Studies with recommendations, • Context diagrams, dataflow diagrams, decision trees, decision tables, data dictionaries, system flowcharts • An implementation plan, training manual, • Acceptance test data and standards, feedback sheets, system audit sheets
How does the SDC impact on students? Some of the documents must, by necessity be “works of fiction” The feasibility study is one particular area where this is mostly necessary because any proposed solution presented to ‘management’ must not only come in under budget but include benefits for the organisation or it won’t be ‘approved’ and the project is over!
What you have to do for assignment 2 In this assignment I want you to carry out some of the tasks described in the system development cycle, viz: • The requirement report • The feasibility study It is based around the fictitious scenario where you have to present a one day workshop to teachers on web design skills
What you have to do for assignment 2 Because it is a fictitious scenario: • Some of the information in the report will be also be fictitious • However some can be based on reality (as you know it) The final product that you will submit will be a written report.