You are enjoying your job as a student intern at Personal Trainer. Last week, Susan asked you to help her plan the new information system project. Susan knows that you have completed several information systems courses at the local college, and that you have studied project management tools and techniques.
Specifically, she wants you to get ready for the next set of systems development tasks, which will be requirements modeling for the new system. Yesterday, Susan called you into her office to discuss the specific tasks she wants you to perform. After meeting with Susan, you sit down and review your notes. She wants you to treat the set of tasks as a project, and to use project management skills to plan the tasks.
Here is what she suggested to you as a work breakdown structure, including the duration she estimated for each task:
First, you need to meet with fitness center managers at other Personal Trainer locations (10 days).
After these meetings, you can conduct a series of interviews (8 days).
When the interviews are complete, two tasks can begin at the same time: you can review company records (2 days) and observe business operations (7 days).
When you have reviewed the records and observed business operations, you can analyze the BumbleBee accounting software (3 days) and study a sample of sales and billing transactions (1 day).
You are excited about the opportunity to practice your skills, and you start to work on the following list.
Personal Trainer, Inc.
A typical center has 300-500 members, with two membership levels: full and limited. Full members have access to all activities. Limited members are restricted to activities they have selected, but they can participate in other activities by paying a usage fee. All members have charge privileges. Charges for merchandise and services are recorded on a charge slip, which is signed by the member. At the end of each day, cash sales and charges are entered into the BumbleBee accounting software, which runs on a computer workstation at each location.
Daily cash receipts are deposited in a local bank and credited to the corporate Personal Trainer account. The BumbleBee program produces a daily activity report with a listing of all sales transactions. At the end of the month, the local manager uses BumbleBee to transmit an accounts receivable summary to the Personal Trainer headquarters in Chicago, where member statements are prepared and mailed. Members mail their payments to the Personal Trainer headquarters, where the payment is applied to the member account.
The BumbleBee program stores basic member information, but does not include information about member preferences, activities, and history.
Currently, the BumbleBee program produces one local report (the daily activity report) and three reports that are prepared at the headquarters location: a monthly member sales report, an exception report for inactive members and late payers, and a quarterly profit-and-loss report that shows a breakdown of revenue and costs for each separate activity.
1. List the system requirements, with examples for each category. Review the information that Susan gathered, and assume that she will add her own ideas to achieve more effective outputs, inputs, processes, performance, and controls.
The system requirements for the new Personal Trainer system can be identified by careful analysis of the fact-finding summary on page 184. The summary contains a number of “must” statements, and various items on the “wish list” that were suggested by local managers and staff members. Students should be able to identify, classify, and enumerate these items. Sample suggestions for outputs, inputs, processes, performance, and controls might include the following:
Outputs: Report on delinquent payments, more frequent reports on trends and profitability, computerized activity and wellness log, more detailed exception reports, what-if scenarios that managers can use to plan promotions and discounts
Inputs: More information about member preferences, activities and history, method to obtain member suggestions and e-mail messages
Dr. Rafael Nieves
Processes: Automated process to scan key chain IDs or credit cards, process to manage part-time instructors and staff
Performance: New design for sales slips, better information on members Controls: Standardized coding system to be used company wide, better reconciliation of data, and creation of audit trails
2. Are there scalability issues that Susan should consider? What are they? Scalability refers to a system’s ability to handle increased business volume and transactions in the future. Because it will have a longer useful life, a scalable system offers a better return on the initial investment. To evaluate scalability, Susan will need information about projected future volume for all outputs, inputs, and processes. For example, she would need to know the estimated number of customers, transaction volume, peak periods, number and types of data items required for each transaction, and the method of accessing and updating customer files.
3. If Susan wants to conduct a survey of current or prospective members to obtain their input, what type of sampling should she use? Why?
Students might suggest a stratified sample of former members and prospective members. It is relatively easy to identify former members from Personal Trainer’s records, but it might be more difficult to identify prospective members. Several options are available. Personal Trainer might request survey input from members who have recommended friends in the past. Were the new members happy, and did they remain as members? Why or why not? This might be quite valuable input in predicting future membership results. Also, perhaps the company has a list of people who have requested information about Personal Trainer in the past, but never signed up for a class. That group might be an interesting sample. Finally, former students might be an interesting group to survey.
4. Draw an FDD that shows the main operations described in the fact statement. The fact-finding summary on page 184 identifies many of Personal Trainer’s activities, functions, and processes. Answers will vary based on different perceptions of Personal Trainer’s main operations.