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As a system analyst, Joe’s stand on the third method of system requirements is mainly through observation the existing system so that they could have a thorough understanding of the system. He believes that by observing and understanding the existing system, he can figure out the main requirements that needed by the end users. On his point of view, it is better to gather the requirements on the ‘field of action’ so that he can determine which are that significant requirements and which are not.
As a manager, Mark’s stand on the first method of system requirements is developing a system based on list of requirements that he give to system analyst. Obviously, he requested for a new system that is somehow different from the existing system but it will still address their needs. According to him, their company already encountered a scenario wherein a system was developed as a modified version of the existing system and not a new system as what has been promised to them. Due to that, he wanted to change the way where their company gives a list of the requirements and request system analyst to acquire the new system that he really want for their company.
In this scenario, it is clear that both parties have the points that they would like to be addressed by other party. But the question is which approach we would agree to? Before I declare whose side I’m on, it is important to know the basics about requirement analysis.
Requirements Analysis is the process of understanding the customer needs and expectations from a proposed system or application and is a well-defined stage in the Software Development Life Cycle model. Requirements are a description of system properties or attributes. It will be alternatively by a statement of ‘what’ an application is expected to do. The Software Requirements Analysis Process covers the complex task of eliciting and documenting the requirements of all the users, modelling and analysing those requirements and documenting as a basis for a system design.
There are six steps in the Requirements Analysis Process. First step is to fixing system boundaries. In this step it will helps in identifying how is the new system integrates with the company’s business processes and what is the scope and limitations of the system. Second step is to identifying the customer. There has been a focus on identifying who is the ‘users’ or ‘customers’ of the system. The process should focus on the wish-list of the management to arrive at a valid requirement list. Third steps are to requiring elicitation. Information needed to be gathered from multiple stakeholders. The management are requiring to draws out what is their requirements regarding the system from each department and what were they expect the system to accomplish. Fourth step is to requiring analysis process. Once all requirements have been gathered, a structured analysis can be done after modelling those requirements. Fifth steps is to requiring specification. Once requirement had been elicited, modelled and analysed it should be documented in clear and unambiguous terms. Last step is to requiring management. Effective requirements management practices to guarantee that all system requirements are stated unambiguously, and those omissions and errors are corrected and evolving specifications can be incorporated later in the project lifecycle.
System requirements can be obtained through some methods which it comprise: (1) stakeholder’s identification. Stakeholders are persons or organizations which have a valid interest in the system. Other stakeholders will include anyone who operates the system, anyone who benefits from the system, anyone involved in purchasing or procuring the system; (2) Stakeholder interviews. Stakeholder interviews are a common technique used in requirement analysis. These interviews may be revealing the requirements which are not previously envisaged within the scope of the project, and which requirements may be contradictory; (3) Contract-style requirement lists. In a complex system such requirements lists can be run to hundreds of pages; (4) Measurable goals. It is the best practices to take the composed list of requirements merely as clues and repeatedly ask "why" until the actual business purposes are discovered. Such goals change slowly than the long list of specific but unmeasured requirements. Once measured goals has been established, rapid prototyping phases may proceed to deliver actual project; (5) Prototypes. Prototypes are Mockups of an application. Mockups allow the users to visualize the system or project that has not been constructed. Prototypes help users to get an idea of how is the system work, and make it will be easier for users to make design decisions without waiting for the system to be develop. Prototypes are major improvements in the communication between users and developers often seen with the introduction of prototypes. Early views of the system will led to fewer changes later and hence it will reduced overall costs considerably; (6) Use cases. A use case is a technique for documenting the potential requirements of a new system or software change. Use cases typically avoid the technical jargon, preferring instead the language of the end user. Use cases are deceptively simple tools for describing the behaviour of software or systems. Use cases do not describe any internal workings of the system, nor do they explain how that system will be implemented. They simply show the steps that a user follows to perform the task assigned; (7) Software requirements specification. It is a complete description of the behaviour of the system to be developed. It includes a set of use cases that describe all of the interactions that the users will have with the software. Use cases are also known as functional requirements. In addition to use cases, the SRS also contains supplementary requirements. Supplementary requirements are requirements which impose constraints on the design or implementation.
From the scenario above, we are more interested in Mark’s approach for some reason. The fact is that Marks’s company has been through projects that have been dissatisfying due to the undelivered requirements that make the method proposed by Joe to be ineffective for them. Besides that, Mark had clearly specified that he want a new system that different from the existing system that they using. Therefore, Joe’s team should concentrate on creating a new system instead of concentrating on the existing system. Other than that, customers should get what they want instead on getting what the system professionals suggest for them. Joe should understand that they are been paid to satisfy the requirement of mark and not satisfy what they think is the needed by Mark.
Based on the case, IT Express (IT Consulting Company) was hired by Maju Berhad to construct a new systems that expected to be completed by June 2014. However, they were facing with the internal problem caused to extend the completion date of the project and now they are still in the installation phase and UAT exercise. The major problem can be describes based on the conversation among the employees Maju Berhad, the data process cannot compliment among division and ineffective to be used since it require so many procedure to perform only one transaction.
Based on the systems development of life cycle (SDLC), obviously, the problem actually expected occurred in among the three first phases, there are systems analysis, conceptual design and physical design. We can describes the factor that lead to an extent on the completion date, IT Express may have problem with the process of identify the scope and requirements, the design blueprint that are not consistent with the company needs and also some problem or error that occurs in the physical design that do not allow implementation to be completed.
Before we discussed about what the factor that company should have considered before they precede the new project, it is really important to understand about those three phases to identify prioritize step that should taken. First phase is about planning and analysis, require IT Express to identify the scope and objectives of the projects, they require perform an initial investigation and studies what Maju Berhad needs to make consistency with the project budget, and determine those accounting and business process that are used to select or develop a new system. The second phase is about the conceptual design when IT Express decides how to meet user needs. The first task of this phase require Maju Berhad to identify and choose the alternative whether they want to buy a software, developing it in-house or outsourcing system development to the consulting company. All the conceptual design finally will be present to the information systems steering committee to make approval to proceed to the next phase. The third phase will translate the conceptual design requirements into the detailed specifications used to code and test computer programs, use of flowcharts of business process maps that define the system logics, operation and work flow and create data storage by modelling the relationship among the organization’s events and external party of the company through the diagrams.
Based on the explanation in the last paragraph, first Maju Berhad needs to consider about the cost budget and time consume complete of this new systems. This is because Maju Berhad now faced with some problem especially the cost expenditure of the development of new systems that was increasing due to delay time to be completed. So obviously Maju Berhad should narrower the objective and scope of this project to put aside unnecessary things so they can reduce the cost by using limited resources and reduce time when focused only to construct the prioritize of the systems.
All the design phase can be performed with software tool sets provided by specific software manufactured. So, Maju Berhad should survey more the information about the consulting company in term of their experience and achievement as well as their partner works, in other word the types of tools and software that they use. This is because sometimes, Maju Berhad’s business process maybe uses the different software and tools set from other company. So basically, Maju Berhad should choose the consultants that provide the service to match with the new systems requirements.
Maju Berhad might be not spending more time in their planning and conceptual design phases that why they hasty made decision to hire the consultant company to construct a new system for them. IT Express should understanding more about Maju Berhad’s requirements and their needs, in order able to identify the weaknesses of the old systems so that they able to make decision to overcome the weakness of the old systems.
IT Express also should consider whether they can use some tools such as prototyping. Prototyping is a system design approach in which a simplified working model of system developed that allows IT Express to condense and speed up analysis and design tasks. Using this system, the error are detected and eliminated early and easier to identify unfeasible system to increase the effectiveness.
The other factor should IT Express consider that may have overlooked is the compliment among each modules in the new systems. IT Express should design clearly the flowchart of the business process maps that define the systems logics, operation and work flow so all modules can complement each other to avoid error and mistakes deliverable data and easier to company eliminate those that do not cover the scope of the business.
The accessible of the system need to be considering for the external party that have business relationship with Maju Berhad such as supplier, agents and any events. So the management should be able to design the diagram to identify the flow of data between company and the external party.
The other factor is about the knowledge of the users to the new systems. Maju Berhad should consider whether they are require to provide training to the all employees and make the new system is accessible and effectiveness to be use for them. Employees might face some problem especially to exchange or process the data to the different division. So Maju Berhad should consider conducting a seminar to the employees.
The cost after the operation also need to be considered before they made decision to develop a new systems such as cost of repair, cost of training and also cost of upgraded software. Maju Berhad should be able to prepare the tools or maintenance modules, so they are not incurred more cost to hire outsource maintenance expertise to repair a new systems.