Task 1 Exploring the General System Development Approaches Based on Module 2
A “College Education Completion” Methodology
Given that you are reading the testbook, you are probably a college student working on a degree. Think about completing college as a project—a big project lasting many years and costing more than you might want to admit. Some students do a better job managing their college completion projects than others. Many fail entirely (certainly not you), and most complete college late and way over budget (again, certainly not you).
As with any other project, to be successful, you need to follow some sort of “college education completion” methodology—that is, a comprehensive set of guidelines for completing activities and tasks from the beginning of planning for college through to the successful completion.
Sub-Task 1.1 What are the phases that your college education completion life cycle might have?
Sub-Task 1.2 What are some of the activities included with each phase? Sub-Task 1.3 What are some of the techniques you might use to help complete those activities?
Sub-Task 1.4 What models might you create? Differentiate the models you create to get you through college from those that help you plan and control the process of completing college.
Sub-Task 1.5 What are some of the tools you might use to help you complete the models?
Task 2 Understanding Project-Oriented Approach in Business Analysis
Based on Module 3
Custom Load Trucking
It was time for Stewart Stockton’s annual performance review. As Monica Gibbons, an assistant vice president of information systems, prepared for the interview, she reviewed Stewart’s assignments over the last year and his performance. Stewart was one of the “up and coming” systems analysts in the company, and she wanted to be sure to give him solid advice on how to advance his career. For example, she knew that he had a strong desire to become a project manager and accept increasing levels of responsibility. His desire was certainly in agreement with the needs of the company.
Custom Load Trucking (CLT) is a nationwide trucking firm that specializes in the movement of high-tech equipment. With the rapid growth of the communications and computer industries, CLT was feeling more and more pressure from its clients to move its loads more rapidly and precisely. Several new information systems were planned that would enable CLT to schedule and track shipments and truck locations almost to the minute. However, trucking wasn’t necessarily a high-interest industry for information systems experts. With the shortage in the job market, CLT had decided not to try to hire project managers for these new projects but to build strong project managers from within the organization.
As Monica reviewed Stewart’s record, she found that he had done an excellent job as a team leader on his last project, where he was a combination team leader and systems analyst on a four-person team. He had been involved in systems analysis, design, and programming, and he had also managed the work of the other three team members. He had assisted in the development of the project schedule and had been able to keep his team right on schedule. It also appeared that the quality of his team’s work was as good as, if not better than, other teams on the project. Monica wondered what advice she should give him to help him advance his career. She was also wondering if now was the time to give him his own project.
Sub-Task 2.1Do you think the decision by CLT to build project managers from its existing employee base is a good one? What advice would you give CLT to make sure it has strong project management skills in the company? Sub-Task 2.2 What kind of criteria would you develop for Monica to use to measure whether Stewart (or any other potential project manager) is ready for project management responsibility?
Sub-Task 2.3 How would you structure the job for new project managers to ensure or at least increase the possibility of a high level of success? Sub-Task 2.4 If you were Monica, what kind of advice would you give Stewart about managing his career and attaining his immediate goal of becoming a project manager?
Task 3 Investigating System Requirements Based on Module 4
John and Jacob, Inc.: Online Trading System
John and Jacob, Inc., is a regional brokerage firm that has been successful over the last several years. Competition for customers is intense in this industry. The large national firms have very deep pockets, with many services to offer clients. Severe competition also comes from discount and Internet trading companies. However, John and Jacob has been able to cultivate a substantial customer base from upper-middle-income clients in the northeastern United States. To maintain a competitive edge with its customers, John and Jacob is in the process of modernizing its online trading system. The modernization will add new features to the existing system and expand the range of interfaces beyond desktop and laptop computers to include tablet computers and smartphones. The system will add Twitter messaging in addition to continued support for traditional e-mail.
Edward Finnigan, the project manager, is in the process of identifying all the groups of people who should be included in the development of the system requirements. He is not quite sure exactly who should be included. Here are the issues he is considering:
• Users. The trading system will be used by customers and by staff in each of the company’s 30 trading offices. Obviously, the brokers who are going to use the system need to have input, but how should this be done? Edward also is not sure what approach would be best to ensure that the requirements are complete without requiring tremendous amounts of time from the stakeholders. Including all the offices would increase enthusiasm and support for the system, but it would increase the time required to compile the information. Furthermore, involving more brokers would bring divergent opinions that would have to be reconciled.
• Customers. The trading system will also include trade order entry, investment analysis reports, trade confirmations, standard and customized reporting, and customer statements. Edward wonders how to involve John and Jacob customers in the development of system requirements. Edward is sensitive to this issue because many brokers have told him that their customers are unhappy with the current system, and customer complaints are sometimes posted to the public comments area of the current Web site. He would like to involve customers, but he does not know how.
• Other stakeholders. Edward knows he should involve other stakeholders to help define system requirements. He is not quite sure whom he should contact. Should he go to senior executives? Should he contact middle management? Should he include such back-office functions as accounting and investing? He is not quite sure how to get organized or how to decide who should be involved.
Sub-Task 3.1 What is the best method for Edward to involve the brokers (users) in the development of the updated online trading system? Should he use a questionnaire? Should he interview the brokers in each of the company’s 30 offices or would one or two brokers representing the entire group be better? How can Edward ensure that the information about requirements is complete, yet not lose too much time doing so? Sub-Task 3.2 Concerning customer input for the new system, how can Edward involve customers in the process? How can he interest them in participating? What methods can Edward use to ensure that the customers he involves are representative of John and Jacob’s entire customer group? Sub-Task 3.3 As Edward considers what other stakeholders he should include, what are some criteria he should use? Develop some guidelines to help him build a list of people to include.