1. What fact-finding techniques, apart from interviews, do you recommend for finding out the requirements of the new system?
2. Include the recommendations for other fact-finding techniques, in your Report. Provide enough justification for using those techniques.
3. Identify at least two staff members with different primary job roles of interest to this project for interview.
4. Prepare a list of questions for an interview with each staff member. Identify the time anticipated for the interview. Review your topic on creating interview questions, and make sure you include suitable question types.
5. Include the interview plans (before, during, and after) in the Appendices for your Report.
The questions and information you need to ask need to extend further than simply asking about design options. You need to get information that helps you plan the entire project from start to finish. For example, you will need to find out whether some aspects of task procedures done currently on the farm can be modified to better align with how an information system may be used, and who may be called upon to use such an information system.
This will lead to other questions about range of vegetable types, time of year for availability, how an information system report may be desired to be formatted and used, etc.
Part of the project then needs to include options for getting that information into the system – will it be straight data entry or can some things be scanned? How long would it take someone to enter the information if it’s straight data entry? So – questions and information raise more questions and result in more information.
The barbeque was enjoyed by all
Like many social events the barbeque had a relaxing atmosphere and people from all backgrounds made the effort to catch up with old crews. Joe, Richard and Ardell went along with Wilma. Although Ardell had met many of the people in the area before, through Richard, she had not generally had much interactions with people because she had been so busy with her work.
Unusually for a barbeque, some of the meat was left over. Not because people did not like it, but because there was something better on offer. All of the vegetable dishes that Ardell had produced disappeared quickly. Ardell’s heritage included Thai, Chinese and Indian-Malay. This background gave her a striking appearance, but it was the interactions that these heritages produced in her cuisine that was truly astonishing.
You, as systems analyst, are extremely glad that you made it out to the barbeque. You mentioned to Ardell, though it was only half-jokingly, that she should write a cook book because her knowledge and skills in merging the various styles of South East Asian cooking with the vegetables from her farm were clearly happily consumed by all, including the children who were present. You are now increasingly starting to think that this could be a serious option. You do not think about the production of a cookbook, but you think to provide customised recipes to go along with the produce of the farm.
By utilising the combinations of vegetables and various herbs that were in-season at the farm, and providing a box of veggies and herbs to go along with various recipes for specific dishes, you are now thinking that this could provide a way to moderate the forces of supply-and-demand that had historically been problematic at times for the farm.
You are realising that this approach would provide a means to manage the demand of the vegetables and their interaction with the season. The recipes could work as an incentive, and it was clear that these recipes for South East Asian styled vegetable dishes could attract additional customers. Lotek was a relatively new taste for many people at the barbeque yet it was an instant success. However, Rujak is clearly an acquired taste and was simply too spicy for some of the people at the barbeque.
Although you are personally wishing to see this happen you are also seeking to remain objective, as a consulting systems analyst, and mindful that this may be something better to put off until the essential aspects of the current investigations are addressed.
Richard too, had had a great time, and was so glad to have been introduced to Lloyd who was running ten thousand laying hens, all free range. Lloyd had agreed to provide Richard with free range eggs to supplement his vegetables and herbs, and this was also going to intersect well with the prospect of providing recipes to go along with the vegetable boxes because it opened up the options of vegetable bakes, vegetable pies and frittatas.
However, the aspect of this new relationship that had Richard particularly excited was the fact that Lloyd’s free-range chickens also produced a lot of chicken manure, and it was all organic due to the free range management of his egg farm. Richard anticipated that he had now secured a steady source of the organic certified chicken manure that he so desperately wanted. This would enable him to pursue the option of incorporating other farms as part of his supply and distribution chain because he would be able to ensure the organic certification of their fertilizers.
Richard’s interest and respect for Lloyd had also provided leverage into another feature of Lloyd’s farm that Richard had still been in two minds about…technology! Lloyd had acquired several drones that he used to keep aerial surveillance of his chickens. If a drone detected a threat such as a fox it would alert Lloyd to its presence and he could then seek to round up the chickens into safety, or send the drone to “buzz” the fox and scare it away…or both. Richard would likely not have believed all of this if it had not been for the fact that Lloyd had brought a drone along to the barbeque to capture some aerial shots of the event. Lloyd had encouraged Richard to have a go at flying it, which he did, and found that it was fairly straight forward, captured good video with a really sturdy and stable gimbal system, and was a lot of fun.
When Lloyd explained to Richard that drones were being developed to assist in various farming activities Richard was quick to express excitement and a desire to acquire some.
Richard explained to you some of his newly found enthusiasm for drones and the vision of incorporating them into the farm to use for surveillance and testing of moisture content in the air, and for weed flaming, which would relieve the farm hands from some of the more mundane tasks.
You know that for professional reasons you need to pause and reflect upon the potentially widening scope of the project. You know that you will need to prioritise capabilities and that while some additional features may be incorporated, that it is important to ensure that the project does not fail because of trying to do too much at once.
CASE STUDY PART 6
During requirements modelling for the new system, you met with the farm hands and owners of several farms who were in discussions with 100% Organic Co. and intending to join as part of an expanded company, all coordinated in a direct delivery model to customers. Things were moving very quickly, and positively. You conducted a series of interviews, reviewed planting and harvesting records, observed business operations, analysed the payment processes, and studied a sample of sales, billing and account settlement transactions. Your objective was to develop a list of system requirements for the proposed system that would unify the farms at a business level. You found the following:
• A typical farm has capacity to provide produce to 175-250 customers, with two customer types: “Regular” and “Standard”. Regular customers seek a relatively “regular” mix of vegetables each week trusting the farms discretion to determine what vegetables to provide for them for the week if need be, while “standard” customers place orders most weeks, but are much more varied in what they may order for that week. If there is going to be a short fall in availability of vegetable produce, then first priority is given to meeting the orders placed by regular customers over standard customers.
• All customers are able to provide their order using the existing “phone-in” system, but there is a preference for customers to order using an online web form. The on-line form “stores” each customer previous weeks’ order and so presents a “defaulted selection” with the aim of speeding up order placement for most customers, though there is capacity to change the selections through a check-box interface.
• All orders are defaulted to be delivered to home premises, though there is capacity for a customer to pick up their order from their “local” farm should they choose to do so. The home address thus needs to be known, along with any special instructions regarding hazards on premises, such as dogs being present. Each farm will thus need to establish a delivery service, and it is envisioned that there could be some overlap with respect to which farm may fulfil and deliver for customers who fall near a “boundary” between two or more farms.
• All customers have credit privileges. Credit purchases for vegetables are currently recorded on a paper credit slip, which is signed by the customer, and to be invoiced at the end of the month. The electronic form of ordering vegetables is to maintain such a credit process, though customers may choose to pay as each order is placed, or as produce is delivered.
• At the end of each day, cash/EFTPOS sales and credit charge amounts are entered into the NLA (for 100% Organic Co. Accounts) accounting software, which runs on a local computer at each farm. Daily cash takings are deposited in a local bank in the corporate NLA Account. The NLA program produces a daily activity report with a listing of all sales transactions.
• At the end of the month, each local farm owner uses NLA to transmit an accounts receivable summary to the head office at Richard’s farm, where member statements are prepared and mailed either by email or physical mail, depending upon the customers selected preference. Members may physically mail their payments to Richard’s farm, where the payment is applied to the member account, or use an on-line credit card payment system, which is being promoted by the farm as a preferred method of payments.
• The NLA program stores basic customer information but does not include information about customer vegetable preferences…although such information would, in principle, be available by interrogating a customers’ purchasing history.
• Currently the NLA program produces one local report (the daily activity report) and three reports that are prepared at the head office location (Richard’s farm): a monthly customer sales report, an exception report for inactive customers and late payers, and a quarterly profit-and-loss report that shows a breakdown of revenue and costs for each separate line of vegetables.
During the interviews you received several “wish list” comments from farm staff and indeed, owners of other farms, who were now becoming more interested in becoming involved commercially with Richard and Ardell.
For example, many farmers want more analytical features so they can spot trends in demand, especially those tied to season, and so prepare by planting more of certain crops. Farm hands are frustrated when there is an over-yield of some crops which are thus left to rot, and would prefer a means by which temporary discounts could be provided to help clear such stock, or better still, to have these used to complete short falls experienced at other farms that are to be part of the business network. The farm owners also want better information about the profitability of specific vegetables, instead of bottom-line totals.
Several farmers want to offer various social networking options, including email communications and Facebook groups, to promote/advertise (discount/sale) farm produce. Richard is also in support of this digital marketing and proposed to the management and the management is keen to have this capability in their system.
Several farmers want better ways to handle information about part-time farm hands, and several farm hands have requested flexibility in being able to work at different farms.
1. Write down a list of the main functions needed to be handled by the new system.
2. What are the roles that will be interacting with the system?
3. Write down a list of additional features which in principle could be included in the new system, but are more likely to be held back for now and considered in the future if and when the resulting information system is subject to later review and enhancement(s). Include the list with appropriate descriptions in your report.
4. Using all the information that you know about the business so far, create a use-case diagram (with all actors/users and use cases) for the new system and include it in your report. You need to provide enough explanation about the use case diagram.
5. Select four use-cases and write a brief use-case description for them.
6. Pick one of these use-cases and write a full use-case description for it. Draw and use an activity diagram in the full description.
7. You need to have the following in your report:
• use case list and descriptions
• the use-case diagram and its explanation
• brief use-case descriptions for 4 use-cases
• a full use-case description
• an activity diagram
The functions you document here will need to show the specific things you have decided on during your analysis. Make sure that you use the correct symbols on each diagram and adhere to the standards required for each of them.
In the specifications provided to you in the Case Study Part 6 there is an important omission, even though it is implied. It does not specifically state that each specific vegetable product (be it a kilogram of potatoes or pumpkin, or a bunch of parsley or sage) has associated with it a cost per unit measure.
Of course, if one is in the business of selling anything, be it “goods” or “service”, there must be a unit cost, and as it happens, in the world of fruit, vegetables, and bees - these often vary on a day by day basis.
Many of the people that you have chatted to have missed stating this explicitly. You may have missed this too. Such omissions of “the obvious” can occur when one is too close to an issue. It may occur because one starts to think “automatically” on content that he or she knows expertly and so forget to state the obvious.
Even so, there were hints at the need for taking account of price. The last item on the requirements list indicated a “profit-and-loss report that shows a breakdown of revenue and costs for each separate line of goods produced”.
There were also two “wish list” requirements specifying:
- “a means by which temporary discounts could be provided to help clear such stock”, and,
- “the farm owners also want better information about the profitability of specific vegetables, instead of bottom-line totals.”
Each of these can be obtained if explicit accounting is captured in the sale price per unit.
To determine aspects of profitability there is a need to account for cost of production, which thus needs to establish the price for seed and planting of specific crops, time taken to attending to specific crops, the cost of specific fertilizers for specific crops, the likelihood of damage and loss to each specific crop (risk analysis) due to dry weather, hail, and possibly even, locust plague. This is likely way beyond the scope of the current project…but it has been provided in the “wish list”, so you may address these aspects if you can argue that it fits in to the current scoping.
With respect to cost per item there will be an absolute need for inclusion, because without this, there will be no way to enact a billing to customers for what they order…even if it is a single kilogram of potatoes, or a single bunch of parsley.
Be willing to critically analyse and review your work…and that of others whose documentation you are dependent upon.
With respect to determining a profit-and-loss report, you may find that you need to raise this with ‘NLA’, because currently, they may not be providing you with sufficient information.
There are options here. Either such additional information will need to be provided and captured …or…the requirement for an account of “loss” will need to be modified or defined with respect to “wastage” of vegetables produced…but never sold.
Note too that this request has appeared in some form in both the “system requirements” and the “wish list”. Perhaps it was only ever envisioned as part of a wish list…
CASE STUDY PART 7
You have been preparing the System Requirement report for Ardell and Richard. From your investigation so far you are leaning towards a recommendation for either in-house development or outsourcing options for the new system. You do not feel that a commercial software package would meet the needs of the farm, but you will investigate this option further.
Based on your research you feel that it would be premature to select a development strategy at this time. Instead, you recommended to Ardell that an in-house team should develop a design prototype, using a relational database as a model. You argue that the prototype would have two main objectives:
• it would represent a user-approved model of the new system, and
• it would identify all system entities and the relationships between them.
You explained that it would be better to design the basic system first, and then address other issues, including Web enhancements and implementation options. You proposed a three-step plan composed of a) data design, b) user interface design, and c) application architecture.
You explained that systems analysts refer to this as the system design phase of a development project. Ardell agreed with your recommendation and has asked you to go forward with the plan.
1. Review the NLA fact-finding summary and all other information you have about the required system and critically analyse this for duplications and inconsistencies.
2. Draw an ERD diagram with crows-foot cardinality as well as a domain model class diagram with notation. Assume that system entities include farms, customers, status as Regular or Variable, orders, vegetables with associated price per unit, and delivery person (at minimum), as well as organic certified.
3. Design tables – making sure each table only refers to one “thing”. As you create the database design, identify primary and foreign keys by underlining primary keys, and making foreign keys italic.
4. If you add primary keys which use codes – for example a code for the farmID, then identify the format of these codes.
5. Create suitable sample data to populate the fields for at least three records in each table.
6. Include the following in your report:
• The ERD or domain model class diagram you have completed;
• The database design (schemas);
• Formats of codes used;
• Sample data for each table.
You are going to have to demonstrate some initiative to develop the tables, data items, keys etc. The project narrative has provided you with some information but left information out that you would be expected to define as an analyst. Conduct internet searches to identify examples of customer invoices, range of vegetable types and their associated information, regarding their growing conditions and prices, etc. All of this will help you to design the tables and data items.
MAKE SURE that you follow the formatting standards listed above!
CASE STUDY 8
You are now making sure that you have sufficient models to understand the new system. In reviewing the models (use-cases diagrams, including activity diagrams) you realise that you have not included a system sequence diagram for any of the use cases.
After creating this, you are now ready to review the options for a new system and make a recommendation to Ardell and Richard.
1. Create a system sequence diagram for one of the use cases identified in Activity 6. Add this system sequence diagram to your report in the appropriate area.
2. Search online for potential commercial software packages for 100% Organic Co. Identify two packages, and compare their features, and their suitability to be used as the new system.
3. Present at least three options for the new system in your report. One of these must be in-house development, and two of the others may be the commercial packages as identified in (3) above.
4. Review your feasibility analysis for the new system. Taking all options into consideration, make a recommendation for the new system, in your “Conclusion and Recommendations” section.
Your primary role is to produce a report that presents clear and concise information from your analysis to your clients to review in order to make their decision.
In this context you are to provide consideration for a range of options on how to respond. While you do not need to include in the report all of the data and evidence supporting your recommendations such data and evidence should be available as appendices so that if management seeks to review the evidence then they can easily do so.
FINALISE YOUR REPORT
You have completed the contents of your report, and now need to make sure that the report is presented professionally, as it will be shown to Richard, Ardell and owners of farms intending to work with 100% Organic Co., as well as any potential investors in the new system, and the expanding prospects for 100% Organic Co..
Ensure your report is professionally presented. This means your report should include:
• a title page, with the name of the Report, and the analyst’s name (your name);
• an executive summary;
• a table of contents, with page numbers;
• page numbers on all pages except the title page;
• Headings, sub-headings, dot-points and numbering where necessary. Headings should be numbered or the structure should otherwise be easily identified;
• Appendices where necessary;
• Formatting and whitespace (space where there is no text or pictures) used appropriately; (Be willing to start each new section on a new page);
• Page orientation used appropriately. For example, if you have an ERD that will show better in landscape orientation than portrait orientation , set a Section break (Page Layout Breaks) before this page, set the page to landscape and then set another Section break to start the new page in portrait again.
Hand in your report via the Assignment Link on the MySCU. Ensure that you have attached the cover sheet with your electronic signature and date to the front of your repo