Essay: Systems Development starts with Investigation and Analysis of existing systems

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  • Systems Development starts with Investigation and Analysis of existing systems
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The steps of a formalized analysis procedure:
Assembling the participants for systems analysis
Collecting appropriate data and requirements
Analyzing the data and requirements
Preparing a report on the existing system, new system requirements, and project priorities
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in an established systematic fashion that enables one to answer stated research questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate outcomes.
There are different types of Data Collection Methods:
Qualitative Method — It tends to use unstructured methods of data collection.
• Interviews
• Focus groups
• Group Discussions
• Observational Study
Quantitative Method: It uses a systematic standardized approach and use methods such as
• Surveys
• Questions
It is important to ensure that accurate and appropriate data collection method is used regardless of the field of study or preference for defining data (quantitative, qualitative).
Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses.
Qualitative approach:
Advantages: Good for further exploring the effects and unintended consequences of a program.
Disadvantages: They are expensive and time consuming to implement.
Additionally the findings cannot be generalized to others and are only indicative
Of the group involved.
Quantitative approaches have the following advantages:
They are cheaper to implement,
They are standardized so comparisons can be easily made.
The size of the effect can usually be measured.
Disadvantages of Quantitative approaches;
Limited in their capacity for the investigation and explanation of similarities and
Unexpected differences.
It is important to note that quantitative data collection approaches often prove to
be difficult to implement.
Surveys
Surveys are a good way of gathering a large amount of data, providing a broad perspective. Surveys can be administered electronically, by telephone, by mail or face to face. Mail and electronically administered surveys have a wide reach, are relatively cheap to administer, information is standardized and privacy can be maintained.
Interviews
Interviews can be conducted face-to-face or by telephone. They can range from in-depth, semi-structured to unstructured depending on the information being sought.
Face to face interviews are advantageous since:
• detailed questions can be asked
• further probing can be done to provide rich data
• literacy requirements of participants is not an issue
• nonverbal data can be collected through observation
• complex and unknown issues can be explored
• Response rates are usually higher than for self-administered questionnaires.
Disadvantages of face to face interviews include:
• they can be expensive and time consuming
• training of interviewers is necessary to reduce interviewer bias and are administered in a standardized way
• they are prone to interviewer bias and interpreter bias (if interpreters are used)
• sensitive issues maybe challenging
Telephone interviews are advantageous as they:
• are cheaper and faster than face to face interviews to conduct
• use less resources than face to face interviews
• allow to clarify questions
• do not require literacy skills.
Disadvantages of telephone interviews include:
• having to make repeated calls as calls may not be answered the first time
• potential bias if call backs are not made so bias is towards those who are at home
• only suitable for short surveys
• only accessible to the population with a telephone
• Not appropriate for exploring sensitive issues.
Focus groups
Focus groups or group discussions are useful to further explore a topic, providing a broader understanding of why the target group may behave or think in a particular way, and assist in determining the reason for attitudes and beliefs. They are conducted with a small sample of the target group and are used to stimulate discussion and gain greater insights.
Focus groups and group discussions are advantageous as they:
• are useful when exploring cultural values and health beliefs
• can be used to examine how and why people think in a particular way and how is influences their beliefs and values
• can be used to explore complex issues
• can be used to develop hypothesis for further research
• do not require participants to be literate.
Disadvantages of focus groups include:
• lack of privacy/anonymity
• having to carefully balance the group to ensure they are culturally and gender appropriate (i.e. gender may be an issue)
• potential for the risk of ‘group think’ (not allowing for other attitudes, beliefs etc.)
• potential for group to be dominated by one or two people
• group leader needs to be skilled at conducting focus groups, dealing with conflict, drawing out passive participants and creating a relaxed, welcoming environment
• are time consuming to conduct and can be difficult and time consuming to analyse.
Documentation
Substantial description and documentation, often referred to as “thick description”, can be used to further explore a subject.7 This process provides a thorough description of the “study participants, context and procedures, the purpose of the intervention and its transferability”.7 Thick description also includes the complexities experienced in addition to the commonalities found, which assists in maintaining data integrity.
The use of documentation provides an ongoing record of activities. This can be records of informal feedback and reflections through journals, diaries or progress reports. The challenge of documentation is that it requires an ongoing commitment to regularly document thoughts and activities throughout the evaluation process
Type of Data Collection methods I have used for this scenario.
Interviews – Conversation between two or more people where questions are asked by the
interviewer to obtain Information from the interviewee.
Employees problems can be identified by interviewing.
Questionnaires – Series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information
from respondents. According to the scenario I have used this method to get the
feedback from customers.
Observational Study – A group or individuals are asked to perform a specific task or action.
Observations are then made of behaviors, processes, workflows etc., in a real-
life situation (e.g. the workplace)
The procurement officer is responsible for checking whether the model & quantity of spare parts manufactured supplements the customer orders and then does arrangements for delivery of spare parts to customers. The status of delivery is also recorded.
The operations of Smart Arcade are hindered by paper based operations which results in delays, misplacement of customer orders, customer service issues which ultimately leads to loss of potential customers.
Assume that you have been hired by Smart Arcade as a systems analyst to propose a systems design that will help overcome limitations with the existing system
SWOT analysis refers to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strengths and weaknesses are concerned with the internal environment of the organization whereas Opportunities and threats are concerned with the external environment of the organization.
Strengths: Will have a view of customer expectations from the company.
Identify if the service they have received meet the expectations.
Weaknesses: Sometimes the customer may not have the knowledge about the operations of the
company. Eg. Customer may expect delivery within a short time span.
Details given by the customer may not be accurate because customers wants to be
polite.
Opportunities: Implement a system that meet customer expectations.
Threats: Losing customers for new spare parts companies due to competition..
The problems of the existing system
The procurement officer is responsible for checking whether the model & quantity of spare parts manufactured supplements the customer orders and then does arrangements for delivery of spare parts to customers. The status of delivery is also recorded herefore due to the paper based
The operations of Smart Arcade are hindered by paper based operations which results in delays, misplacement of customer orders, customer service issues which ultimately leads to loss of potential customers.
Misplacement of customer orders, delays in execution of orders, paperwork which ultimately leads to loss of customers. To eliminate the existing problems in the system I recommend that complete customer details, customer order tracks are implemented into the system. The limitations and constrains of the system development could be lack of time, lack of resources, lack of information, lack of system requirements.
The four attributes of SWOT Analysis:
Strength – What are the advantages? What is currently done well? (e.g. key area of best-performing activities of your company)
Weakness – What could be improved? What is done badly? (e.g. key area where you are performing poorly)
Opportunities – What good opportunities face the organization? (e.g. key area where your competitors are performing poorly)
Threats – What obstacles does the organization face? (e.g. key area where your competitor will perform well)
1.2 Evaluate different systems lifecycle models.
SDLC is a process followed for a software project, within a software organization. It consists of a detailed plan describing how to develop, maintain, replace and alter or enhance specific software. The life cycle defines a methodology for improving the quality of software and the overall development process.
The following figure is a graphical representation of the various stages of a typical SDLC.
Figure No. 1 SDLC Diagram
A typical Software Development life cycle consists of the following stages:
Stage 1: Planning and Requirement Analysis
Requirement analysis is the most important and fundamental stage in SDLC. It is performed by the senior members of the team with inputs from the customer, the sales department, market surveys and domain experts in the industry. This information is then used to plan the basic project approach and to conduct product feasibility study in the economical, operational, and technical areas.
Stage 2: Defining Requirements
Once the requirement analysis is done the next step is to clearly define and document the product requirements and get them approved from the customer or the market analysts. This is done through .SRS. . Software Requirement Specification document which consists of all the product requirements to be designed and developed during the project life cycle.
Stage 3: Designing the product architecture
SRS is the reference for product architects to come out with the best architecture for the product to be developed. Based on the requirements specified in SRS, usually more than one design approach for the product architecture is proposed and documented in a DDS – Design Document Specification.
A design approach clearly defines all the architectural modules of the product along with its communication and data flow representation with the external and third party modules (if any). The internal design of all the modules of the proposed architecture should be clearly defined with the minutest of the details in DDS.
Stage 4: Building or Developing the Product
In this stage of SDLC the actual development starts and the product is built. The programming code is generated as per DDS during this stage. If the design is performed in a detailed and organized manner, code generation can be accomplished without much hassle.
Developers have to follow the coding guidelines defined by their organization and programming tools like compilers, interpreters, debuggers etc. are used to generate the code. Different high level programming languages such as C, C++, Pascal, Java, and PHP are used for coding. The programming language is chosen with respect to the type of software being developed.
Stage 5: Testing the Product
This stage is usually a subset of all the stages as in the modern SDLC models, the testing activities are mostly involved in all the stages of SDLC. However this stage refers to the testing only stage of the product where products defects are reported, tracked, fixed and retested, until the product reaches the quality standards defined in the SRS.
Stage 6: Deployment in the Market and Maintenance
Once the product is tested and ready to be deployed it is released formally in the appropriate market. Sometime product deployment happens in stages as per the organizations. Business strategy. The product may first be released in a limited segment and tested in the real business environment (UAT- User acceptance testing).
Then based on the feedback, the product may be released as it is or with suggested enhancements in the targeting market segment. After the product is released in the market, its maintenance is done for the existing customer base.
SDLC Models
There are various software development life cycle models defined and designed which are followed during software development process. These models are also referred as “Software Development Process Models”. Each process model follows a Series of steps unique to its type, in order to ensure success in process of software development.
Following are the most important and popular SDLC models followed in the industry:
· Waterfall Model
· V-Shaped Model
· Evolutionary Prototyping Model
· Spiral Method (SDM)
· Iterative and Incremental Method
· Extreme programming (Agile development)
Waterfall Model
The waterfall Model is a linear sequential flow. In which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of software implementation. This means that any phase in the development process begins only if the previous phase is complete. The waterfall approach does not define the process to go back to the previous phase to handle changes in requirement. The waterfall approach is the earliest approach that was used for software development.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages Disadvantages
· Easy to explain to the user· Structures approach.
· Stages and activities are well defined· Helps to plan and schedule the project· Verification at each stage ensures early detection of errors / misunderstanding· Each phase has specific deliverables ·Assumes that the requirements of a system can be frozen· Very difficult to go back to any stage after it finished.· Little flexibility and adjusting scope is difficult and expensive.· Costly and required more time, in addition to detailed plan
V-Shaped Model
It is an extension for waterfall model, Instead of moving down in a linear way, the process steps are bent upwards after the coding phase, to form the typical V shape. The major difference between v-shaped model and waterfall model is the early test planning in v-shaped model.
The usage
· Software requirements clearly defined and known
· Software development technologies and tools is well-known
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages Disadvantages
· Simple and easy to use.· Each phase has specific deliverables.· Higher chance of success over the waterfall model due to the development of test plans early on during the life cycle.· Works well for where requirements are easily understood. · Very inflexible, like the waterfall model.· Little flexibility and adjusting scope is difficult and expensive.· Software is developed during the implementation phase, so no early prototypes of the software are produced.· Model doesn’t provide a clear path for problems found during testing phases.· Costly and required more time, in addition to detailed plan
Spiral Method (SDM)
It is combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts. This model of development combines the features of the prototyping model and the waterfall model. The spiral model is favored for large, expensive, and complicated projects. This model uses many of the same phases as the waterfall model, in essentially the same order, separated by planning, risk assessment, and the building of prototypes and simulations.
The usage
It is used in shrink-wrap application and large system which built-in small phases or segments.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages Disadvantages
· Estimates (i.e. budget, schedule, etc.) become more realistic as work progresses, because important issues are discovered earlier.· Early involvement of developers· Manages risks and develops system into phases · High cost and time to reach the final product.· Needs special skills to evaluate the risks and assumptions· Highly customized limiting re-usability
Iterative and Incremental Method
Description
It is developed to overcome the weaknesses of the waterfall model. It starts with an initial planning and ends with deployment with the cyclic interactions in between. The basic idea behind this method is to develop a system through repeated cycles (iterative) and in smaller portions at a time (incremental), allowing software developers to take advantage of what was learned during development of earlier parts or versions of the system.
It consists of mini waterfalls
The usage
It is used in shrink-wrap application and large system which built-in small phases or segments. Also can be used in system has separated components, for example, ERP system. Which we can start with budget module as first iteration and then we can start with inventory module and so forth.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages Disadvantages
· Produces business value early in the development life cycle· Better use of scarce resources through proper increment definition· Can accommodate some change requests between increments· More focused on customer value than the linear approaches· Problems can be detected earlier · Requires heavy documentation· Follows a defined set of processes· Defines increments based on function and feature dependencies· Requires more customer involvement than the linear approaches· Partitioning the functions and features might be problematic· Integration between iteration can be an issue if this is not considered during the development.
Extreme programming (Agile development)
Description
It is based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross-functional teams.
The usage
It can be used with any type of the project, but it needs more involvement from customer and to be interactive. Also, it can be used when the customer needs to have some functional requirement ready in less than three weeks.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages Disadvantages
· Decrease the time required to avail some system features.· Face to face communication and continuous inputs from customer representative leaves no space for guesswork.· The end result is the high quality software in least possible time duration and satisfied customer · Scalability· Skill of the software developers· Ability of customer to express user needs· Documentation is done at later stages· Reduce the usability of components.· Needs special skills for the team.
1.3 Discuss the importance of following a procedural / staged lifecycle in a systems investigation.
Importance of following a procedural staged life cycle in a system investigation.
The System Development is the interactive process which consists of the following stages
• Preliminary Investigation: One of the most time consuming task is to identify the real problem of the pre-installed system. The analysis has to spend hours and days for understanding the fault in the system. This fault could have however overcome if the Preliminary Investigation before installing the system was properly done. This is the first stage of the development of the system. In this stage the analyst makes a survey by gathering all the available information needed for the system elements and allocation of the requirements to the software.
• Analysis of the requirement: The analyst understands the working of the information and the functions of the software which is required for the system. The analyst makes a brief survey of the requirements and tries to analyze the performance of the system which is to be developed. He also makes sure that he gets enough information and resources for building the appropriate system.
System Design: The analyst makes number of designs of the system on paper or on the computer and sees whether the rough image made of the system comprises of all the requirements or not. Once this is done, the analyst selects and finalizes a best suited design for the development of the system.
System Coding: The analyst translates the code or the programs in such a way that they become in machine readable form. The coding step is very time consuming and involves number of rooms for errors. Readable form. The coding step is very time consuming and involves number of rooms for errors.
System Testing: Once the analyst is through with the coding stage he tests the systems and sees to it that it is working as per the expectantions or not. He corrects the flaws in the system if any.
• System Implementation: This is one of the most vital phase as in this phase the analyst actually gives the system to the customer and expects for a positive feedback.
• System Maintenance: The last stage of the SDLC is that the analyst needs to maintain the system and see to it that it working within the standards set. He needs to maintain the system by removing the defects of flaws occurred.

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