Systems Development Life Cycle and Analyzing Documents

Describe systems analysis and the major activities that occur during this phase of the systems development life cycle. During systems analysis, you determine how the current information system functions and assess what users would like to see in a new system. Requirements determination, requirements structuring, and alternative generation and selection are the three primary systems analysis activities.

What are some useful character traits for an analyst involved in requirements determination? Requirements determination is a crucial part of the systems development life cycle; therefore impertinence, impartiality, relaxing constraints, attention to details, and reframing are important characteristics.

Describe three traditional techniques for collecting information during analysis. When might one be better than another? Traditional techniques for collecting requirements include interviewing and listening, observing users, and analyzing procedures and other documents. Interviewing and listening involve talking with users individually or as a group to discover their views about the current and target systems; it also involves carefully preparing an interview outline and guide before conducting the interview.

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Interviews are best done when only a few people are involved, when you need open-ended questions or the questions vary from individual to individual, or when a more personal method is needed.

Directly observing users involves watching how people work in order to uncover information users may not be consciously aware of. Direct observation is best when detailed or complicated procedures must be documented, when you do not want people to know they are giving you information you need, when only a few people are involved, and when observational data are representative of all situations.

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Analyzing procedures and other documents involves identifying and collecting written procedures, forms, reports, and other relevant documents in order to better identify data and processes that would be part of the current and target systems. Analyzing documents is the best technique when documents are complete and unbiased, when other forms of requirements determination are too obtrusive, and when history must be studied and people do not have first-hand data about history.

What are the general guidelines for conducting interviews? The general guidelines for conducting interviews are summarized in Table 5-3. These guidelines include planning the interview, being neutral, listening and taking notes, reviewing these notes within 48 hours, and seeking diverse views.

What are the general guidelines for collecting data through observing workers? When observing workers, it is important that the analyst select typical and atypical people and sites; he/she should also observe during normal and abnormal conditions.

What are the general guidelines for collecting data through analyzing documents? Document analysis is an effective way to learn about the current system and future system’s requirements. It is important for the analyst to collect and review as many documents as he/she can. He/she should collect organizational mission statements, business plans, organization charts, business policy manuals, job descriptions, internal and external correspondence, and reports from prior organizational studies. Specifically, he/she should review business forms, reports, written work procedures, and existing system documentation.

Compare collecting information through observation and through document analysis. Describe a hypothetical situation in which each of these methods would be an effective way to collect information system requirements. Table 5–4 provides a comparison of the observation and document analysis methods. The observation method is high in information richness; requires significant time, can be expensive, and provides the chance for follow-up and probing. The observee is known to the analyst and the potential audience is small. In contrast, the information richness of document analysis is low and old; the time required is low to moderate; its expense is low to moderate, and the chance for follow-up is limited. The confidentiality of the document depends on the nature of the document; there is no clear commitment on the subject’s part, and there is potentially bias by which documents were retained.

What is JAD? How is it better than traditional information-gathering techniques? What are its weaknesses? JAD is a structured process in which users, managers, and analysts work together for several days in a series of intensive meetings to specify or review system requirements. It is better than traditional techniques because you have key personnel in one place at one time, saving everyone time and resulting in high levels of system ownership as more people have more of a role in the development process. Weaknesses include the level of commitment necessary to make the JAD work, the high degree of required planning, and the typical lack of computer support.

How has computing been used to support requirements determination? Computing supports requirements determination in the form of CASE tools, the administration of questionnaires, group support systems, and prototyping. CASE tools, especially upper CASE tools, can be of assistance during JAD and prototyping.

Describe how prototyping can be used during requirements determination. How is it better or worse than traditional methods? Prototyping can be used during requirements determination to collect user requirements and present them in the form of a working system prototype. Users can look at, play with, and compare the prototype to their system requirements.

Analysts can then adjust the prototype to better fit what the users have in mind. Prototyping is better than traditional methods where system requirements are not well understood, where few users that are stakeholders are involved, where designs may be complex, where there have been past communication problems, and where the necessary tools are readily available. Prototyping may be worse than traditional methods where formal requirements are not documented, where prototypes become idiosyncratic to the initial user, where issues of data sharing and integration with other systems are ignored, and where SDLC checks are bypassed.

When conducting a business process reengineering study, what should you look for when trying to identify business processes to change? Why? As part of the BPR effort, key business processes and important, changeable, or dysfunctional activities are identified. Key business processes are the structured, measured set of activities designed to produce a specific output for a particular customer or market. Benefits of BPR include radical improvements in speed, quality, and customer satisfaction.

What are disruptive technologies and how do they enable organizations to change their business processes radically? Disruptive technologies enable the breaking of long-held business rules that inhibit organizations from making radical business changes. Disruptive technologies enable companies to apply information technology innovatively. As a point of discussion, ask students to discuss the concept of a virtual university. Is this an acceptable application of a disruptive technology?

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Systems Development Life Cycle and Analyzing Documents. (2017, May 25). Retrieved from

Systems Development Life Cycle and Analyzing Documents

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