CASE STUDY PART 1
Henry’s Organics produces organically certified vegetables, fruit and nuts, honey and eggs that are grown with permaculture principles and biodynamic soils. It initially started in Henry Cropper’s backyard. He and his friends started a community garden, and due to increasing demand for locally grown organic food, it has grown into a commercial venture.
The business prospect has expanded in recent years with the return of Henry to his family property that historically had been used as a station for cattle grazing. Although it was a major commitment, Henry has turned much of that land into a food forest. He did not do this all by himself. He and his friends have worked tirelessly, and now they have employed farm hands to assist on the farm.
With the range and volume of produce, along with the outputs of the animals, in addition to the growing number of customers, Henry is finding it hard to keep the track of things. An information system may provide a way to help manage the increasing complexities of the business. You have been brought in as a business analyst to assist with its organisation.
The Early Days – Growing up on the Station
Henry Cropper believes that he had been born to be on the land, following as he did, with his fathers’ and grandfathers’ love and passion for living sustainably and green. Of course, there were also differences...especially as Henry was now passionately dedicated to growing produce rather than attending to the cattle. Henry still has some cows and had acquired chickens to provide manure, as well as a source of milk and eggs.
Henry grew great organic produce without the use of any pesticides or artificial fertilizer. He practiced companion planting to help protect crops from insect attack, and he cycled different crops from year to year to aid soil health. Henry carried in his memory an immense body of information about soil types, weather, seasons, crops, crop rotations, soil preparation, and composting. Being a station boy, he also knew many things about animal husbandry too.
Living on a station is rough. As managers you have to deal with drought conditions and deal with a lack of infrastructure such as grid electricity and council water feeds. Basic survival is always at the forefront. Careful planning is a must.
Henry had given up his occupation as a house painter when he returned to the station to dedicate time to his permaculture activities. He is now committed to growing and selling produce. People happily pay top dollar because of the high quality of food, and the ‘organically grown’ status that it holds.
Henry does not sell his produce through the local farmers market. With the success of the community garden, his customers came to him! Customers would phone through an order the day before they wanted to come and pick up the produce, and Henry would relay the long list of offerings that he knew he had available and ready for harvest. This could take a lot longer than most people wanted to spend on the task. Henry worked from memory and would recite a list from start to finish, even though there were some products that the various customers never, ever bought, never wanted, and were never going to buy.
Henry was a ‘chatty patty’ and would patiently chat to each customer. He enjoyed the conversation. But, it was time consuming, taking him away from attending to his fields. In reality, while all of the customers liked Henry, and loved his produce, many really wished to have a quicker and easier way of placing their orders without the need to always be asked directly by Henry about products that they were never, ever going to purchase. Many customers were frustrated that Henry would always take a long time to write down the vegetables being ordered, especially those clients who purchased the same order every week as a regular, weekly, customer. Surely, they thought to themselves, there must be a better way.
The Produce Pick Up
Customers would drop by to pick up their weekly box of produce. This was fine in the early days while his farm was quite small, but things had escalated dramatically in the last few years. Henry had a growing body of farm hands to assist him. His farm and produce was well regarded but popularity and demand was now causing congestion at the pick-up area. Henry was considering the practicalities of beginning a home delivery service direct to customers.
In principle, Henry would be able to manage the growing customer base as he had almost unlimited access to land and water and sun, but he was now experiencing difficulties organising all the food boxes for his customers. The personal details for his customers including their names, phone numbers and addresses where all kept in a “Customer Book” in the barn, but he had generally made little use of this as customers would typically ring him to place an order…and increasingly such calls were coming in at inconvenient times while he was attending to the food forest.
Henry and Betty
Betty is Henry’s sister and is fully supportive of his philosophy and approach to growing vegetables. She knew in her heart that it was scalable and that a similar approach could be used for farms in other locations to serve different geographical areas. She knew, however, that some of Henry’s business practices in dealing with customers would need to be documented to enable standardisation and altered to be made more efficient… for both the farm and customers.
The Farm Hands
Henry and Betty agreed that they should each focus on a different aspect of the business. Henry would attend to all aspects of production and harvesting, while Betty would oversee all aspects of dealing with customers, their orders, their payments and their order pick-ups. Both were happy by this because Henry was skilled and enjoyed the farming aspects and Betty was skilled in customer relations and service due to her previous work in accountancy and finance.
Betty was keen to acquire an Information System to handle the customer base, their orders, and their bills. She knew that it had potential to ease their business dealings and that new and emerging technologies could also be beneficial. Henry, however, remained unconvinced of the benefits of computers.
The number of people working on the farm had grown substantially. On the demand side of things, Alice, Eric, Camilla and John were each now sometimes taking orders from customers by phone and reporting the orders directly to Betty. These four people also assisted at times with horticulture activities along with some other staff who were dedicated to the farm animal activities.
A collection of lists had been written up for some of the customers who would always simply order “their usual” (subject to availability and season), and this collection of lists had been written on a large whiteboard in the barn next to the phone book to aid quicker processing. The people who were on these lists came to be referred to as “The Regulars”. To acknowledge such regular support, each was given an automatic 10% discount off the cost of their purchase.
As the produce available each week was subject to change due to weather and harvest readiness, there was sometimes confusion about what was actually available (or not) and so increasingly there were instances of customers being disappointed when they picked up their produce because it was not always what they had expected to receive. Sometimes there was also confusion about who had paid, or not paid, or partially paid.
Mark and Julie both attended to the accounts receivable side of things, and again, answered directly to Betty. As the business had increased in size there were apparent inconsistencies emerging in how payments were made. Sometimes customers paid in cash, sometimes by credit, and sometimes in trade for their own goods or services.
There had also been some unpleasant scenes at the pick-up point due to too many customers arriving at the same time, only to create a traffic jam. Arguments had erupted over confusion of who was to take away which box of farm goods.
Betty hired Ardell and Richard to take over the pick-up. They made the firm decision that customers would no longer be able to come and pick up their box of produce, unless specifically pre-arranged…but would have it delivered to their home. An imposed home-delivery service. Lexi was also hired as an assistant for both Ardell and Richard to do some of the heavy lifting and sorting of the customer produce boxes.
There was no risk of spoilage due to a delivery needing to be left at a customer’s door because Henry had acquired individual customer eskies good enough to keep all things cool for 48 hours.
Deliveries could thus be made to a client on any day of the week, but there was a need to minimise the number of trips to make the deliveries. Customers either lived North, South, East, West, or “close” to Henry’s farm. There will be more to say about delivery timetables later in the case study.
Henry was saddened by how some aspects of the business had evolved. He was still committed to producing the best possible products for his clients, but there was a need to find some ways of better managing it all. In particular, there was a need to release himself from the client side of the business to attend to the production aspects, which he had always taken pleasure in.
To assist on the production side of things Henry had hired Christopher, Christine, Connie and Donna. Each answered to Henry directly. Their specific tasks were to assist in all manner of the gardening such as weeding, planting, watering, fertilizers, picking and pruning.
To assist on machinery part of farming and delivery, Henry had moreover hired Sherrill, Natasha and Melinda. Natasha and Melinda are both skilled at operating all manner of vehicles and machinery used on the farm. They may be directed by Henry to perform any of the tasks performed using such machines but for practical purposes they both answer to Sherrill who is the manager of the tractors and all other farm machinery which he both operates and maintains. Sherrill answers directly to Henry on all production aspects, but to Betty on aspects of customers, orders and delivery issues.
Henry, having worked previously as a mechanic in his youth when on the station with his grandfather on school breaks, can assist Sherrill if need be for maintenance tasks, but he is really seeking to dedicate himself to the production of vegetables.
Recently, Henry has thought about his daughter, Marianne. Marianne is studying marketing at Southern Cross University and she is in her final year of her study. They thought she could contribute to their marketing aspect to promote organic food and the business as well. Henry and Betty have spoken to her and she is on-board to help them from marketing perspective and will also help them with the new information system that should be designed for their business. She is working alone and reports to both Henry and Betty. However, she can access different information in relation to their produce, staff and any other information which may be useful for promoting their business.
Interview with Betty
You have been employed as a consultant to “Henry’s Organics” to analyse their needs for an Information Systems. You were able to catch Betty for a quick orientation to the needs of the farm, especially the customer side of things. You were also able to obtain some insight about future possibilities for expanding the farm. A record of your interview with Betty is provided below.
You: Tell me about your farm and your business model. I’m especially interested in what kind of information management you think that you need.
Betty: Henry is fantastic with all aspects of farming, and to be honest, he is good with customers too, but he gets side-tracked too often in chatting. Besides that, I know many of the customers are frustrated in how placing an order, and sometimes even just picking it up, can take much longer than people want to invest, due to all the time spent chatting.
You: I thought that Henry enjoyed dealing with the customers because he is proud to display the quality of the vegetables to them, and that he likes the interaction in general.
Betty: That’s true, but the truth is that we need to develop a more efficient and effective way of taking orders from customers, and then getting those orders to them. We know that we produce the best vegetables in the area and Henry has that side of things in control, but we must develop a better way of meeting customers’ expectations for placing and receiving orders.
You: I have been meaning to ask about that. Why has there been an insistence that orders are always taken by phone?
Betty: It has always been done that way, which was fine when Henry had the farm to himself, and served just a few of the locals, but it has become unwieldly. There is no reason, at least from the business side of things, to insist on phone based order taking. I am of the view that customers should at least have the option of placing orders through a regular menu that they could drop off into our letter box…or better still, that they could somehow place orders using the internet. You might be able to offer us some ideas on that.
You: You mean using a web page for the farm and placing orders. You could have an on-screen web form that customers select from. That would be pretty easy to produce. And it is super user-friendly if designed correctly. There would also be scope to have it update regularly depending upon availability of produce.
Betty: Yes. That would have to be easier for some of our customers, and there may even be other benefits from such a process.
You: Well of course. For example, if you logged the customers, you could have the web form automatically update to indicate what had been selected in their previous order to help speed things up, or if you knew that a customer had a passion for certain produce that was rarely available; you could highlight it for them when it was available.
Betty: That sounds great, but Henry usually doesn’t indicate what is available until just the day before.
You: Why is that? Does it have to be like that? I understand that Henry may not know a month in advance, or even a week…but surely there is scope to give an indication a few days in advance, at least for some of the produce range.
Betty: I agree, but you will have to discuss that side of things with Henry. I know, for example, some things like potatoes and carrots and ginger and turmeric, Henry has a very good feel for how they are growing, and how they are going for harvest, but there are other things, such as tomatoes, that he sometimes seems happily surprised at, having ripened in a day or two.
You: I thought that “ripened” referred to fruit rather than vegetables. And by the way, I wanted to ask, you don’t seem to have much fruit. Is that correct?
Betty: Well, yes and no. We do have some fruit trees. There are some apple and pear trees, but they are very small scale and not really productive yet, though what we do get is delicious. We have various berries that are pretty constant, and in season we have mangoes and avocadoes and quite a range actually now that I think about it. We even have some almond nut trees, but they don’t seem to grow so well for us here. We have enough for ourselves, family, and give some to our close friends, but we have avoided bringing these into our produce for sale. These are not a prime focus of business, at least not yet.
The fruit that we do produce is fantastic but there are some major differences involved in doing large scale fruit production compared to vegetables. In some ways Henry has used fruit as companion planting rather than an orchid approach. We have talked about doing so, but it would just be too difficult to organise with all of our other things. I know that Henry wants to expand into this as well, and he has had discussions with some fruit growers in the area to see if we could arrange something with them.
You: You mean that they provide the fruit and you provide the vegetables?
Betty: Well, yes and no. We do seek to use their farms and fruit trees, but Henry would only take this on if those farms also embraced the organic-only approach that we have implemented here. To do so would be possible in theory, but at the moment it would just be impossible for practical reasons
You: What are those practical reasons?
Betty: Well, Henry is the knowledge bank. He knows so much! And he seems to understand exactly what is going on for his plants, but most of it is all in his head. We would need to capture all of his knowledge and approach and disseminate it to all of the farm staff in a controlled manner.
You: An information system could help you do that! And what did you say about organic-only?
Betty: We are committed to being fully organic. All the produce needs to be dedicated organic only, grown and processed without the use of any pesticides or chemical based fertilizers. There are implications from this because we need to be able to show through documentation that only natural, organic materials have been used at all times. That in itself can cause extra headaches trying to keep track of all the paper work.
You: I assure you that if you need to create, track and keep documentation for those things, then a computer based information system can help. This of course is a very different issue to servicing customers’ orders, but it could possibly be part of a single information system, or, you may have two systems customised for these two different purposes.
Betty: Fantastic, that sounds great. I knew that you would be able to help us with ideas.
I don’t mean to be rude, but I will have to go soon, I have an appointment with some bush regenerators who are doing some work on our zone down by the river. You can come along if you like. You may learn something.
You: I’m sorry. I know that is a great offer, but I am double booked. I would really like you to show me another time if that’s possible. For now, one last question. I understand that Henry grew up here, is that right?
Betty: Yes. Born on the station actually. He has very fond memories of his grandfather, who took care of him after his father died in an accident. His grandfather only died a few years back and it was with his passing that Henry made the decision to come back here and take over, as it was, but he has changed things to be his way with a focus on the vegetable farming.
You: I am sure that his grandfather would be proud of what Henry is doing with the place, if he could see it.
Betty: (laughing) He sees it all right! He wanted to be turned into compost after his death and Henry would have been happy to oblige, but the government would not allow it, so he did the next best thing.
(Betty bent down, picked up some soil and crumbled it in her right hand as she slowly circled it before her. The soil gently fell back to the Earth.)
Betty: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, lay me to rest, in a land that I trust.
His grandfather is still here and sees everything that happens.
You left in your car and headed back to the office. You were not sure about all of the business practices, but you knew that their motivations were good.
On the front seat bedside you, Ardell had placed a box of vegetables along with some fruit that you would feel privileged to receive…”like part of the family or a close friend” you thought as you picked up an apple and took a bite…CRUNCH.
Crisp, sweet, juicy…
Ok, so they know how to grow fruit as well as vegetables…you think to yourself.
“If these guys could produce fruit like this at sufficient scale to go with their vegetables…”
You look at the apple, with fresh brittle texture gleaming in the light that was filtering through the trees and into the car.
“This is going to be a great project” you say out loud. “The people are great, I know that I can help them, and I’m even getting prize winning produce thrown in as well”
You are already imagining various possibilities, but first, there is a need to address the basic task at hand. There is a need for an information system to help customers to place an order and to then receive it. And there is also the issue of certification for “organically grown”.
1. Use the background information to create a short summary (one short paragraph) about the “Henry’s Organics”.
With an inspiration from his grandfather, Henry has given up his profession and get back to station where he was born, with a dream of providing sustaining and an organic fruits and vegetables. He started his business as the community shows the love towards his products while he was doing community garden with his friends. Henry’s farm has grown completely organic vegetables as he doesn’t use any chemical fertilisers or the pesticides.
The station for cattle grazing has now been the venture for Henry’s Organics.
2. Create an organisation chart for the business.
3. Use the information above to identify the area of the organisation under study (i.e. the business functions that will be handled by the new information system).
4. Add the background information, organisation chart, and business functions to your Report document in Part A: Initial Investigation.
There are examples of each of the things listed above in the text. However, make sure you do some other research. Use internet searches to find other examples and to look for examples that could use to help you construct the things you need for the system as the systems analyst. You do not need to provide definitions, nor do you want to use references that do not apply or are incorrectly identified – this is called sham referencing and is considered academic misconduct.
CASE STUDY PART 2
At your initial meeting, you and Betty discussed some initial steps in planning an information system for the farm. The next morning, you worked together on a business profile, and talked together about various types of information systems that could provide the best support for handling their customers’ needs, and mindful that there was a need to also track certification documentation to demonstrate the fully ‘organically produced’ nature of the farm produce. You also discussed the longer term plan to expand the operations of the farm to include farms that supplied fruit, which would also have to be demonstrated to be fully ‘organically produced’.
You start by creating a System Vision Document for “Henry’s Organics”, so that Betty can use this to define a vision for the new system and present this to Henry.
1. Brainstorm all the functions that the “Henry’s Organics” Information System might fulfil. Keep it at a very high level. E.g. a Functional Chart and/or ideas from Lecture 1.
2. Prepare a draft System Vision Document for the Farm Information System. This System Vision Document will be revised when you find out more about the requirements for the system. An example System Vision Document can be seen in Figure 1.8 of the textbook or Lecture 1 slides.
3. Add your System Vision Document to your Report document in Part A: Initial Investigation.
You have been given a little information about what is required but there are a lot of gaps. You are expected to fill these gaps to work out details and additional information that is needed. This also gives you some latitude to explore permaculture and their operations as they apply to your background and experience. Make sure you explore other vision documents and know how they are worded and what needs to be expressed in them so that an organisation knows where it is headed and what it is trying to achieve.
CASE STUDY PART 3
Henry has agreed that Betty’s argument for an information system has merit. Your System Vision Document helped to demonstrate some of the potential benefits.
Betty wants you to get ready for the next set of systems development tasks, which will be requirements modelling for the new system. Yesterday Betty called you into her office out at the farm to discuss the specific tasks she wants you to perform. After meeting with Betty, 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.
Betty is fully supportive of your involvement and excited that you carry so much practical knowledge in computer systems and that you are quickly learning about farming issues. Betty is also excited that she too can become involved with her previous knowledge and skills in technology.
Betty has authorised you to have full access to people and documents as required, and enabled you to use your time as you determine.
Betty has suggested some tasks for you as a part of your work breakdown structure, including the duration she estimated for each task:
• First, you need to meet with all farm staff that support all aspects of the business including a horticulturist who is a likely first inclusion in the production of fruit (2 days);
• You can then conduct a series of staff interviews (5 days);
• When the interviews are complete, you can review farm records of produce, season, customer purchases, costs and profits, (2 days) while observing business operations (2 days);
• You have been tasked with also interviewing some of the customers, if possible (1 day);
• When you have reviewed the records and observed business operations, you can
o analyse the accounting processes currently used (2 days),
o study a sample of orders and payment transactions (2 days), and
o undertake some field work regarding the intended home delivery service (2 days)
• After completing your study, prepare a report for Betty and Henry (1 day).
1. Create a table, listing all tasks separately, with their duration;
2. Identify all dependencies, and indicate what predecessor tasks are required;
3. Construct a Gantt chart using project management software (see the suggested resources);
4. Using PERT or CPM identify the critical path;
5. Determine the overall duration of the project;
6. Take clear screenshots of the Gantt chart and PERT/CPM chart and paste into your Report document in Part A: Initial Investigation under Project Management.
7. Include the overall duration and critical path in your report.
You will have to offer ideas here and make sure that you cover the tasks needed. As well, you need to make sure that the tasks are at an appropriate level of detail to enable you to make an informed and professional decision about how long the project will take. Obviously there will be tasks that you will have to list at this early stage that you might not have to do or that depend on what direction the project will take. For example, the tasks needed if you implement an off-the-shelf package are different to the tasks needed if the system is developed in-house. Perhaps you need more than one project plan.
Chance meeting between Andy and Melinda
While shopping for groceries Andy runs into Melinda. They have not seen each other for several years. A transcript is provided below.
Andy: Melinda! How you doing? You’re looking better than the last time I saw you down in the city.
Melinda: Yeah, picture of health I am ...or will be soon now that I’m back in country air full time. I could go off and be a movie star if I wanted I reckon.
Andy: But you don’t want to?
Melinda: Nah mate, this place will do me. I much rather the morning smell of farm land after fresh rain than parking lots after peak hour rush.
Andy: What, your back here to stay?
Melinda: Yeah, if I can. I‘ve just got put on at Henry’s farm. I’m lucky as! Beautiful spot, and he grows the best veggies. It’s funny…we all used to joke with him at school about his vegie patch and chickens, but I got to tell you…he has now got it all happening. A bit chaotic at times, I must say, but it’s like he can talk to them…the veggies and the chickens…and they all respond by just growing and growing.
Andy: Is Henry just being nice to you or has he got something specific in mind?
Melinda: Things are still to be fully worked out, but at the moment he’s got me mixing and turning together mounds of cow manure and chicken manure and grass cuttings and the scale of it is enormous.
I’m not doing this by hand, mind you, I’m using one the tractors, but he says he is doing some testing on compost preparations. He has laid out these giant mixes of composting manure that he says he is preparing.
I know that he wants to add into this mix some other things, including sugar cane off cuts, but he has held back because he is worried that the sugar cane was grown using pesticides and would jeopardise his “all organic” status.
Still, I know that he is trying to source a supply of organic sugar cane mulch, and it’s a question of whether he can transport to the farm at an economic cost.
So, early days, but he and Betty seem to be working on some kind of major expansion plan for the farm, but I know that he is insisting that he needs to find a way of doing so that still maintains the quality of his produce.
(Melinda nodded towards the trolley of vegetable produce that Andy was pushing.)
Melinda: He’ll do a lot better stuff than that for you Andy.
Andy: Ah…yeah, I know. We used to get vegies from him, and they were fantastic, but it just became a hassle to do the whole order and pick up routine every week.
Melinda: Oh really! How so?
Andy: Life has become quite busy for Helen and myself with the twins born last year and the run out to his farm was just taking too long for us, especially since he was always keen to have a chat and the pick-up itself had also become a mud wrestle at times. Literally.
His vegies have become so popular that the pick up traffic has turned the field area into a bog a few times, especially after rain. Cars would get stuck, people would get cranky, and there was also increased confusion about who was to get what box, and how to pay. It got to the point where he had one of his tractors on stand-by just in case someone needed to have their car pulled out.
Don’t get me wrong, lovely guy, and his sister is a win for humanity. Smart too. Look, maybe she can sort him out on the business side. Helen and I miss their vegies and absolutely would prefer to be eating theirs, but it just became difficult and this supermarket, although not as good, is just convenient.
Melinda: You know that they are thinking about doing home deliveries? Well, Betty is anyway.
Andy: No way. I’m sorry that we stopped buying from them.
Melinda: It’s not happening yet, but I am pretty sure that it will be, and they would be happy to get your business again. There’s no grudge, and there is no problem about supply, some of it just gets left to rot sometimes because they get confused about what is needed to be picked for each days’ orders.
Andy: For sure. I’m in. In fact, there’s a few people I know in the office who were a bit like me…it just got to be more hassle than it was worth, so stopped going out there. Perhaps they would be willing to do a drop off to the office if there were a few people interested in the delivery service.
And I know that Dave would jump at it. And Wilbur would be happy because he’s always complaining of having to get out there every few days to always have “only fresh”. Oh… “and organic!”. Wilbur is a total health freak since his bout of cancer. He swears that he is never again eating anything that is not fully guaranteed to be wholly natural.
Melinda: I heard about Wilbur, I’m so glad that he is in the clear. I am not surprised if he thinks that the health foods helped him. He was always inclined to that side of things with his Paleo diets and stuff.
So when are we getting together for something more meaningful than trolley pushing?
Andy: How about next Saturday afternoon. I’ll put the call out to all who are still around. There will be some who will be very keen to catch up with you. Up at the lookout a few hours before sunset.
I’ll do the meat with one of our “happy cows”! But you do the vegies since you are working at the Garden of Eden… and see if you can pinch some of Henry’s stuff for a fruit salad. He can be a bit chatty at times, but his fruit is always just a pleasure.
Melinda: I should be able to do better than that! I’ll see if I can bring along Henry and Betty. They are always busy, but I’m sure that one of the farm hands can cover them for a few hours.
Betty clarifies a few things on the phone
You had left a phone message with Betty asking about what is involved to be certified as “organically grown” and why the farm adopts this approach. Betty has got back to you and indicated that to be certified as organically grown it needs to be documented and demonstrated that the farming process has not used any chemical fertilizers, any herbicides, any pesticides, and has not used any additives for farm stock. This is then formally reported to the certification agency.
Betty acknowledges that the overall yield is often reduced compared to non-organically grown methods in broad scale farming, but that she and Henry are committed to it because they believe it results in a healthier food produce and is better for the environment, making it sustainable. There is also a need to ensure that there are no genetically modified foods present.
The customers of “Henry’s Organics” are willing to pay more for the organically grown produce than what they would spend in a supermarket because they are happier with the overall quality and perceived health benefits from their produce, and some customers also like to be consuming foods grown in a more sustainable manner.
Betty also addresses some aspects of budgeting. She acknowledges that you have been asking for information on how much can be allowed for budgeting for the implementation of an information system and indicates that for now you are to focus on analysing needs to include all essential aspects of the proposal. That means needing to include how people place orders, payments, deliveries and documenting the organic status of all farm produce.
Furthermore, Betty acknowledges that there is a vision to perhaps expand in the short-to- medium term future to include other farms as part of their supply chain.
CASE STUDY PART 4
As a system analyst working on the development of a new system, it is your role to ensure that the project is feasible. Some of the reasons that projects fail are: incomplete requirements, lack of executive support, lack of technical support, poor project planning and lack of required resources. At this stage, you decide to do an initial project feasibility analysis, to see whether “Henry’s Organics” should continue with its plan for the new information system.
1. What are the risks associated with this project? Create a list 10 risks and their likelihood of happening (see Study Guide topic 4, activity 4.6 for an example of how this should be set out, along with the information from the lecture on how to complete the analysis).
2. Define the anticipated benefits of the new system. This should include both tangible and intangible benefits. Wherever possible, translate the intangible benefits into anticipated tangible benefits.
3. Define the expected costs of the new system. Look at the examples given in the workshop activities for some examples of expense categories. It is OK to give estimates at this point.
4. Use two or more cost-benefit analysis techniques to decide whether to proceed with the project.
5. Identify any assumptions and interpretations that you are making with respect to the information that you have been given, that you are estimating, and that you are projecting (into the future).
6. Create a new section in Part A of your report: Risk and Cost Benefit Analysis. Insert your work from above, and give a clear indication as to whether it is feasible to continue with the project.
7. Does the proposed system present a strong business case? Why or why not? Include a recommendation as to whether the system should proceed as the final part of your preliminary report. The Preliminary Investigation part of your Report can now be submitted.
Most of the activities you need to complete here are in the text and in the ideas that will come through your work during the workshops. Look carefully at how the ‘risks’ are worded and how the costs and benefits are laid out in a ‘good’ feasibility plan. Always use ‘good’ examples as your template and don’t forget to look for these. Search the internet for examples so that you get a good feel for ‘best practice’.