PHASE I Planning the approachOne of the main causes of project failure isinadequate understanding of the requirementsone of the main causes of inadequateunderstanding of the requirements is poorplanning of system analysis.
Cont…The first step taken by the systems analystshould be to plan the approach carefully,bearing in mind the old saying that ‘failure to prepare is to prepare to fail!’
Cont..Before requirement gathering starts, theanalyst needs to stand back, recall theobjectives of the project, and consider thefollowing three points in order to plan; What type of information is required? What are the constraints on the investigation? What are the potential problems?
CASE StudyLet’s consider an example: You work for a Companybased in UK. Your company has just won the followingcontract with Nestle Gh. Limited. The contract covers:– Analysis of Nestle’s current warehousing, stock control and manufacturing systems and the integration of these systems;– an investigation of Nestle’s current problems and of future strategic plans in this area;– production of a report outlining your company’s proposals for meeting Nestle’s future systems requirements in warehousing, stock control and manufacturing systems.
Cont..Nestle is an international company and haspresence all over the world.The company has four manufacturing sites atAccra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale. There arewarehouses at each manufacturing site;Against this background think about how youwould plan this investigation.
It will be good to think about the:The critical information you require before theinvestigation starts;HOW you will get that information;WHAT techniques will be appropriate;What are the constraint- to the project and thecompany.
PlanningAs part of the planning process, analysts mustensure that:– He understand the objectives and terms of reference agreed with the client;– He must be aware of constraints that affect the analysis process;– they plan the research, initial contact and other tasks to be completed during– the investigation and manage time appropriately
Objectives & Terms of ReferenceTo understand more about the client’sexpectations, you need to ask a number ofkey questions at the beginning of theanalysis phase of the project:– Who initiated the project?– What is their role in the organisation?– What are their objectives for the project?– What are the company objectives
Cont..Once you know the answers to thesequestions, you can begin to understandthe context in which the analysis is to becarried out.
Projects are usually initiated to meetorganisational need:– Senior management: strategic planning and decision making– Line managers: system to support their activities– The IT dept: cost-efficiency, new technologies or method of working
Whatever the case might be, management oforganisation expect to benefit, e.g:increased profitability;improved cash flow;more effective utilisation of resources,improved customer service leading to customersatisfaction.faster access to management information;better management control
Analyst will be in good position to addressmanagement’s problems if they are able toprioritized the OBJECTIVE. To help in;Planning the analysis phaseWriting proposal after the analysis
The stated objectives of the client areusually recorded in the terms of reference.main areas included in the terms ofreference. System boundaries-(Scope) Constraints Objectives Permissions Deliverables
System BoundariesSystem boundary define the area of theorganisation under investigation and mayalso specify the limit of any new systemImplemented as a result of the project.Should be a paragraph or a series of dotpoints, describing where theprocess/system/operation/issue to bestudied begins and ends
ConstraintsRestrict the project, or the solution, in manyways. May be expressed in terms of; Fig 1.0: Constraints on possible solution
Objectives An unambiguous statement of theexpectations of those in the client’sorganisation who have initiated theproject. These may be broken down byfunction or department.Well-defined objectives are clear andmeasurable.
PermissionThis will indicate who in the client’sorganisation is responsible for thesupervision of the project. and, if permission needs to be granted –for example to extend the scope of theanalysis – who has the authority to do so.Points of contact and the appropriatereporting structure may also be defined.
DeliverableA description of the deliverable or endproducts of the investigation.Usually they fall into makingrecommendation for:– solving a problem;– improving a process or a system;– making a change;– creating a new system
USES OF TRPlanningReference point for the projectResolving conflicts that may ariseThus;Must exist, if none exist, create it andagree with the client
ConstraintsAfter understanding the TR and the ObjectiveIt’s important that all constraints are understoodin order to help with planning and to avoidproblemsConstraints may be set by the customer to limitthe options that may be presented as part of thesystem proposals.They may be expressed in the TR
They may be expressed in termsof;– Technology: software or hardware– Environment: skilled or unskilled users, place of use..– Timescale: delivery time base on customer/gov policy– Budget: cash available for the purchase of hardware or software, limitations on the operation budget– Scope: area under investigation, system boundary Fig 1.1: Constraints on possible solution
Other constraints are:. Fig 1.2: Constraints on investigation - help in selecting the right fact-finding approach
Getting Ready for Detailed AnalysisIn order for analysts to be well prepared for the laterstages of systems analysis, and to increase theircredibility in interviews with client staff andstakeholders more time needs to be spent on researchduring the planning stageThis means: Understanding the TR Reviewing relevant documents – Contract documents – Annual reports – Organisation structures Identify the types of information you will need to collect during your investigation The areas to be investigated
Following are examples of topics that the analyst may wish to investigate:Growth – What plans does the organisation have for future growth, – what would be the information requirements to support this growthFunctionality. – What are the major areas of the business – the functions – that will be investigated during the system, – and what are the client’s requirements for the functionality of the system?Procedures. – What procedures, standards and guidelines govern the way in which the organisation conducts its business – are they recorded somewhere
Volumes.– What are the volumes of data that pass through the system? how many orders are processed by the sales department in a week? How many amendments are made to customer records each month?Fluctuations.– What bottlenecks or hold-ups are there in the system,– Where and when do these occur in the current system?– What steps are taken to deal with these?Information required.– What information is currently required by the business in order to carry out its functions effectively,– what are the sources of this information?– What information, if available, will it benefits the organisation?Environment.– In what type of environment is the business conducted– how does this affect the way in which information is exchanged?Problems.– In the view of users, what are the main problems with the system,– what are the implications of these problems,– how can the problems be overcome?
In planning the approach to analysis, animportant area to consider is the:– First face-to-face contact with the client.
Why Face-to-face ContactTo gather requirementsTo build a good relationship with the clientTo establish the analyst’s credibility
Face-to-face Meeting EthicsIn all meetings with users, the following guidelinesrepresent good practice:– Focus on confidentiality, integrity, respect and confidence- building.– Recognise expertise in the users and welcome their input.– Have as a key objective the need to build the client’s confidence.– Keep everybody informed. This includes client contacts and project staff.– Be discreet and diplomatic.– Double-check any information gathered.
There are many tasks to complete duringsystems analysis however there arelimited time;Time management is one of the factors tobe taken into considerationIt should be budgeted for, managed andused
To help you manage your time as effectivelyas possible, here are some guidelines:– List objectives and set priorities.– Make a daily ‘to do’ list– Handle paper only once.– Set and keep deadlines– Ask yourself frequently ‘What’s the best use of my time right now?’– Always carry a notebook– Do it now (The right time is now..).
The Feasibility StudyThe objectives of a feasibility study are to find out if the projectcan be done (...is it possible?...is it justified?) and to suggestpossible alternative solutionsA feasibility study should provide management with enoughinformation to decide:– Whether the project can be done;– Whether the final product will benefit its intended users;– What are the alternatives among which a solution will be chosen (during subsequent phases)?– Is there a preferred alternative? After a feasibility study, management makes a go/no-godecision.
Thus, analyst should concentrate onproviding answers to four key questions:– How much - The cost of the new system.– What - The objectives of the new system.– When - The delivery timescale.– How - The means and procedures used to produce the new system.
What to studyThings to be studied during the feasibility study phase:The present organizational system – users, policies, functions, objectives,...Problems with the present system – – inconsistencies, inadequacies in functionality, performance,...,Objectives and other requirements for the new system – What needs to change?Constraints, including non-functional requirements on the system – preliminary passPossible alternatives – the current system is always one of thoseAdvantages and disadvantages of the alternativesThings to conclude: Feasibility of the project and the preferred alternative.
Types of FeasibilityOperational– Define the urgency of the problem and the acceptability of any solution; If the system is developed, will it be used? Includes people-oriented and social issues: internal issues, such as manpower problems, labour objections, manager resistance, organizational conflicts and policies; also external issues, including social acceptability, legal aspects and government regulations.Technical– Is the project feasibility within the limits of current technology? Does the technology exist at all? Is it available within given resource constraints (i.e., budget, schedule,...)Economic (Cost/Benefits Analysis)– Is the project possible, given resource constraints? Are the benefits that will accrue from the new system worth the costs? What are the savings that will result from the system, including tangible and intangible ones? What are the development and operational costs?Schedule– Constraints on the project schedule and whether they could be reasonably met.
Operational Feasibility: The PIECES FrameworkThe PIECES framework can help in identifying operational problems to besolved, and their urgency:Performance - Does current mode of operation provide adequatethroughput and response time?Information - Does current mode provide end users and managerswith timely, ‘to the point’, accurate and usefully formatted information?Economy- Does current mode of operation provide cost-effectiveinformation services to the business? Could there be a reduction in costsand/or an increase in benefits?Control - Does current mode of operation offer effective controls toprotect against fraud and to guarantee accuracy and security of data andinformation?Efficiency- Does current mode of operation make maximum use ofavailable resources, including people, time, flow of forms,...Services- Does current mode of operation provide reliable service? Is itflexible and expandable?
How do end-users and managers feel about the problem(solution)?Its not only important to evaluate whether a system can workbut also evaluate whether a system will work.A workable solution might fail because of end user ormanagement resistance.– Does management support the project?– How do the end users feel about their role in the new system?– What end users or managers may resist or not use the system? People tend to resist change. Can this problem be overcome? If so, how?– How will the working environment of the end users change?– Can or will end users and management adapt to the change
Technical FeasibilityIs the proposed technology or solutionpractical?Do we currently possess the necessarytechnology?Do we possess the necessary technicalexpertise, and is the schedule reasonable?Is relevant technology mature enough to beeasily applied to our problem?– Some firms like to use state-of-the-art technology, but most firms prefer to use mature and proven technology.
– A mature technology has a larger customer base for obtaining advice concerning problems and improvements. Assuming that required technology ispractical, is it available in the informationsystems shop? If the technology is available,does it have the capacity to handle thesolution.If the technology is not available, can it beacquired?
Schedule FeasibilityWe may have the technology, but that doesnt mean wehave the skills required to properly apply that technology.True, all information systems professionals can learn newtechnologies. However, that learning curve will impact thetechnical feasibility of the project; specifically, it willimpact the schedule.Given our technical expertise, are the project deadlinesreasonable? Some projects are initiated with specificdeadlines. You need to determine whether the deadlinesare mandatory or desirable. If the deadlines aredesirable rather than mandatory, the analyst can proposealternative schedules.It is preferable (unless the deadline is absolutelymandatory) to deliver a properly functioning system twomonths late than to deliver an error-prone, uselessinformation system on time!Missed schedules are bad, but inadequate systems areworse!
Economic FeasibilityThe bottom line in many projects is economicfeasibility.During the early phases of the project, economicfeasibility analysis amounts to little more thanjudging whether the possible benefits of solvingthe problem are worthwhile.As soon as specific requirements and solutionshave been identified, the analyst can weigh thecosts and benefits of each alternative.This is called a cost-benefit analysis.
Cost/Benefit AnalysisThe purpose of a cost/benefit analysis is to answerquestions such as:– Is the project justified (because benefits outweigh costs)?– Can the project be done, within given cost constraints?– What is the minimal cost to attain a certain system?– What is the preferred alternative, among candidate solutions?Examples of things to consider:– Hardware/software selection– How to convince management to develop the new system– Selection among alternative financing arrangements (rent/lease/purchase) Difficulties - discovering and assessing benefits andcosts; they– can both be intangible, hidden and/or hard to estimate, its also– hard to rank multi-criteria alternatives
Feasibility study reportA report is written after the studyThe content should include: Fig 1.3: Feasibility study report content
BackgroundTerms of reference.Reasons for the studyThis section will outline the background tothe project and the way it relates to thestated objectives of the organisation.
The current situationOverview of current situation.Problems and requirements identified.
Proposed solutionA description of the requirements of a new system along with a number of options explaining how this solution might beimplemented. Each option will address:Technical implications– how it meets the requirements, the hardware and software needed.Operational implications– the impact the solution will have on the business in terms of human, organisational and political aspects.Cost implications– both initial (capital) and continuing (operational). There are a number of methods of assessing the costs of solutions. In the feasibility report, the analyst should use the cost assessment method specified by the client.
Cost–benefits analysisA comparison of costs and benefitsprepared using whatever evaluationtechnique is favoured by the organisation.
RecommendationsA brief statement that presents the main points of theprevious sections of the report.3 types of recommendation can be made in afeasibility report:– Advising the client to progress with the full detailed analysis. If this is the case, a plan would also be included for this phase of the project.– Advising the client to review the terms of reference or the scope of the study before proceeding further or making any judgement on feasibility.– Advising the client to scrap the project as it is not feasible; the resources could be better spent elsewhere.
Once the feasibility report has beendeliveredAssuming that the recommendation madeby the analyst is to proceed, the detailedsystems analysis phase can begin
To start the investigation the followingneeds to be done;– collect information about the current system– record the problems & requirements– building up a picture of the required system Next…Asking Questions & Collecting Data
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