Chapter 7 - Creating IS Solutions and Managing IS Projects
Critical Pre-Development Questions
- The more complex a system, the more difficult it can be to build, buy, and manage.
- Problems may be related to:
- Strategic choices or forces
- Flawed or inefficient business processes
- Unsuccessful business model
- Concept design and inception stage is referred to as “pre-development” questions that
happen before and organization decides to start a system design project.
1. What are we planning and why?
2. Is the project feasible?
3. Should we build or buy/lease?
4. If we build, should we do it in-house or outsource it?
What Are We Building and Why?
- The process of determining the best IS design for a organizations when it recognizes
that an IS can help it exploit an opportunity or solve a problem.
- An organization begins to understand its high level system requirements and also the
business case for why it makes sense to build the system.
Is the Project Feasible?
- A feasible study is a detailed investigation and analysis of a proposed development
project that is undertaken to determine whether it is technically and economically possi-
ble to successfully build the proposed system.
- A project is technically feasible if the required technology is available (or created).
- The study must conclude that the company is technically capable of both acquiring and
deploying the required technology for the IS solution it envisions.
- An organization can determine technical feasibility by examining potential solutions
and evaluating these solutions based on its capabilities and the capabilities of any tech-
nology partners it may choose to work with.
- A project is financially feasible if the organization can pay for the project, and the
project presents a sound investment of the organization’s limited resources.
- To determine financial feasibility, an organization must show that it can afford to build
or buy and information system, and that the IS will financially benefit the organization.
- Some costs and benefits are tangible, which means that a value can easily be applied. Chapter 7 - Creating IS Solutions and Managing IS Projects
- Other costs and benefits are intangible, meaning they are difficult to measure in mone-
Should We Build or Buy/Lease
- Buying, leasing, or building.
- To select the best option, an organization needs to examine its requirements and the
advantages and disadvantages of each option.
- Building a complete IS can be a long and costly process.
- A firm pursues buying or leasing when time and cost have greater importance than
competitive advantage or customization.
- If there is a time-to-market factor, this is the most important decision.
- For a customer service system, it may be possible to lease a system.
- Leasing refers to using software as a service (Saas) or using an application service
- The major advantage with leasing a system is that the vendor is responsible for main-
taining and updating it.
Should We Develop In-House or Outsource?
- In-house development is staff and outsource is another company.
- Offshoring is when the outsourcing company is located primarily in a foreign country.
- Dimensions to be considered in this decision include any time-to-market imperative,
current financial performance, and risk tolerance.
IS Development Teams
The Importance of Stakeholders
- Stakeholders who are the subject matter experts (SMEs) can best inform you about
various aspects of the system in which you are not an expert.
- Stakeholder analysis should begin as part of the project feasibility study.
- Stakeholder analysis includes:
- a list of the stakeholders
- what each has at stake
- the degree of impact of each stakeholder can have on the project
- The stakeholder analysis also considers if they can expect resources from the stake-
holders and attempt to identify each stakeholder’s attitude toward the project and any
risk. Chapter 7 - Creating IS Solutions and Managing IS Projects
A Typical IS Project Team
- Project sponsor
- ensures that the project goals correspond to the organization’s business objec-
tives and is often a senior executive or someone in a position of authority.
- Project manager
- demands knowledge of methods and techniques to ensure delivery of the
project on time and on budget, and the ability to communicate project goals and
requirements to the project team and to co-ordinate the workflows of everyone
on the project team.
- Account management
- responsible for the sales and service of the project team.
- provide the initial point of contact to the client, as well as daily communication
with the client.
- Architecture and design
- provide a well-designed user interface.
- interfaces include multimedia components that require special skills in the areas
of art and design.
- provide the methods and processes to translate high level requirements in their
particular area into lower levels of detail that can be turned into code by pro-
- system analyst deals with technical requirements
- business analyst deals with process and system design
- database analyst deals with mapping, data dictionary, data structures, etc.
- creates the system itself by coding and deploying the technical infrastructure of
the system and programming it to perform required tasks.
- requires knowledge of both the hardware and software needed by the system to
- handles unique aspects of the project and members are called SMEs (subject
- Client interface
- client may be internal or external customer of the team’s organization.
- client must define system requirements, negotiate contract terms, and maintain
oversight of the teams as the project progresses. Chapter 7 - Creating IS Solutions and Managing IS Projects
- The project manager is responsible for assembling a team of talented people who can
each fill one or more of these jobs.
- Team composition is the most important aspect, lack of it can increase the risks to a
project’s successful completion.
- Most successful project teams consist of technical IT people, and those with non-tech-
The Stages and Importance of the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
- The system development life cycle (SDLC) is the common term used for the stages
and activities of system development.
- SDLC is composed of processes that occur from the beginning stages of a system to
the end of its useful life.
- Organizations are perpetually designing systems.
- At a high level, the SDLC simply starts with an idea called concept.
- The four pillars of SDLC: people, tools, management, methodology
- The SDLC begins when there is an opportunity that likely involves technology or infor-
1. Concept (aka pre-inception/idea phase) - involves the environment within the organi-
zation that either promotes or inhibits the development of ideas for systems.
2. Inception (aka feasibility/planning phase) - begins when an organization has the idea
to build an information system.
3. Elaboration - the project team finalizes the requirements for the system and the
project plan, and designs the system architecture. The team also creates conceptual
models of the systems and sub-systems.
4. Construction - the team builds the initial running system. Core functionalities are im-
5. Transition - the team finalizes the system and puts it in place. The team completes the
final training of users and managements of users.
6. Production - the organization must continuously monitor, maintain, and evaluate. The
organization must also keep users of the system up to date with the latest modifications
7. Retirement - marks the concept of a new system to replace the obsolete one.
Standard is Methodology Chapter 7 - Creating IS Solutions and Managing IS Projects
- A methodology provides a framework for executing both the project management and
technical processes of an IS project throughout the life cycle.
Why Do Organizations Need an IS Methodology?
- System developers tended to work in a very ad hoc way, called the build-and-fix model.
- Because of the lack of a common approach or a shared understanding and documen-
tation of the system itself, organizations often depended on the individual developers’
knowledge of a system for any future modifications or upgrades.
The Traditional IS Methodology: The Waterfall Model
- The waterfall model defines a set of phases and a new phase begins only after accept-
able completion of the preceding phase.
- If things are done right in each phase, there will be little or no need to move back up-
stream to an already completed phase, thereby achieving one of the primary benefits of
a structured methodology.
- The waterfall model is a document-driven and highly structured process.
- Is usually only effective when users can express their exact needs.
- Developers must understand the problem in detail so they can respond with an effec-
tive system design, otherwise,