ITM 305 Chapter 2 textbook solutions

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Information Technology Management
ITM 305
Lin Ying Dong

Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-1 Chapter 2 – Investigating System Requirements Solutions to End-of-Chapter Problems Review Questions 1. List and briefly describe the five activites of systems analysis.  Gather detailed information – meet with users to understand the business processes and needs  Define requirements – document findings by building models such as use case diagram and class diagram  Prioritize requirements – Decide which requirements (such as use cases) should be done first  Develop user-interface dialogs – work with the users to define exactly how they will use the system and what interactions with the system are required  Evaluate requirements with users – ensure that the requirements are complete, accurate, and prioritized correctly 2. What are three types of models? Textual models, graphical models, and mathematical models 3. What is the difference between functional requirements and nonfunctional requirements? Functional requirements describe the business rules that must be supported by the new system, while non-functional requirements are the system characteristics such as speed, throughput, response time, and security. Both are important. 4. Describe the steps in preparing for, conducting, and following up an interview session. Prepare for an interview by establishing the objective, determining the users and project team members, write questions, review preliminary materials, set up the interview time and location and tell everybody. Conduct the interview by asking questions, looking for exception conditions and probing for good details. Also take good notes, and document all the follow-up items. Follow-up the interview by reviewing everybody's notes, building the models as necessary, document open issues, then follow-up with them. Be sure to thank contributors. 5. What are the benefits of doing vendor research during information-gathering activities? It can inform the current team and users of new ideas and possibly more effective methods The team can possibly find out about more current state-of-the-art solutions that vendors have created. It may even be cheaper, faster, and more effective to purchase a solution instead of building. 6. What types of stakeholders should you include in fact finding? Both internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders would include operational people Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-2 who work with the system and executive stakeholders who may receive executive reports, or depend on the success of the system. External stakeholders may include customers or partner organizations, who also receive information directly from the system. At the executive level, external stakeholders may be investors or regulators. 7. Describe the open-items list and then explain why it is important. During fact finding activities, and in fact throughout all the project, some issues can be answered immediately, but others cannot be answered immediately. Some questions may not be answered because more research may need to be done, or other items may need to be decided first, or the user procedure has not be finalized, etc. Those items will need to be tracked so that they are not left out of the solution system. The open-items list provides that tracking function by noting the item, assigning a responsible person, and tracking the completion of the open item. 8. List and briefly describe the six information gathering techniques. Information gathering techniques include  Interview users and stakeholders – the most effective for information gathering, but the most expensive  Distribute questionnaires – good for finding overview or summary information from many people  Review current system documentation – good for understanding current processes  Observe current business processes – also good for understanding the user's processes and requirements  Research vendor solutions – good for generating new ideas and learning what already has been done  Collect user comments – good for finding out about problems with current processes 9. What is the purpose of an activity diagram? One purpose of an activity diagram is to document current user workflows. Activity diagrams are often called workflow diagrams. They can be used to document a user procedure as he/she interacts with the computer system. 10. Draw and explain the symbols used on an activity diagram. See Figure 2-14. Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-3 Problems and Exercises 1. Provide an example of each of the three types of models that might apply to designing a car, a house, and an office building. Car: Mathematical model might be a set of calculatations having to do with horse-power, torque and acceleration. Graphical model might be a set of 3 dimensional drawings of the body style. Textual model might be some written specification of the materials to be used. House: Mathematical model might be some calculations to deteremine angle of roof and types of materials needed. Graphical would be a set of blueprints. Descriptive textual model might be a description of the materials to be used. Office building: An office building might have all types of mathematical models of the stresses and earthquake requirements. Graphical would be blueprints or even a 3 dimensional physical model. Descriptive textual model could be of materials or steps in the construction process. 2. One of the toughest problems in investigating system requirements is to make sure they are complete and comprehensive. How would you ensure that you get all the right information during an interview session? Answers should include the following points:  Ensure that all stakeholders are identified and included in the requirements definition activities.  Review every existing form and report to make sure that all information needs are understood.  Identify and understand every business activity. Be sure that all business procedures have been discussed.  Ensure that all exception conditions have been identified and associated processing has been defined.  Maintain an open-items list and ensure that all items are resolved. 3. One of the problems you will encounter during your investigation is “scope creep” (i.e., user requests for additional features and functions). Scope creep happens because users sometimes have many unsolved problems and the system investigation may be the first time anybody has listened to their needs. How do you keep the system from growing and including new functions that should not be part of the system? This problem is really a project management issue. The project manager should establish guidelines to control this problem. One preventative method is to be sure that the initial scope definition is adequate and Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-4 comprehensive.Apartial definition during the scoping activities will exacerbate the problem of scope creep. Even forAgile projects, the users and the project team should attempt to do a thorough job of identifying all of the functional requirements. An effective way to control scope creep is to establish a committee that consists of both project team members and user (or client) members.All new additions to the scope of the system need to be approved by the committee. Prior to approval, an estimate should be done to determine the criticality of the request and the impact on the project schedule. The client and the users should participate in the decision so that it is a combined decision and not dictated by the project manager. An additional technique is to begin a list of enhancements for the next version of the system. Some requests can easily be deferred to a later version. 4. What would you do if you got conflicting answers for the same procedure from two different people you interviewed? What would you do if one was a clerical person and the other was the department manager? The first thought would be to take the opinion of the department manager as the correct answer. However, it is not uncommon for the department manager to be behind on some of the latest details of business procedures. The best solution in this case is to get the two people together and let them discuss the differences until they both agree on the correct procedure. The systems analyst should not make the decision as to which answer is correct, nor should he or she try to resolve the difference. It is the users’responsibility to do so. 5. You have been assigned to resolve several issues on the open-items list, and you are having a hard time getting policy decisions from the user contact. How can you encourage the user to finalize these policies? Delayed policy decisions impact the project schedule. Sometimes the user does not understand the impact of delayed decisions. Thus, the first approach should be to explain the negative impact that a given decision is having on the project. If that doesn’t work, then stronger measures can be taken, such suggesting that the project steering committee review the outstanding-items list. Also, if the outstanding-items list indicates the length of time that items have been open, the analyst can assign or adjust the priority of those items that have become critical. 6. In the running case of RMO, assume that you have set up an interview with the manager of the shipping department. Your objective is to determine how shipping works and what the information requirements for the new system will be. Make a list of questions—open ended and closed ended—that you would use. Include any questions or techniques you would use to ensure you find out about the exceptions. Three areas should be addressed in this answer: (1) closed-ended questions, (2) open- ended questions, and (3) questions related to exception conditions. Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-5 Sample closed-ended questions:  What is the volume of shipments on an average day?  How does the volume vary across time?  How many employees are there in shipping? Sample open-ended questions:  What is the procedure for getting an order ready for shipment?  What forms are used?  How is the system updated when a shipment is sent?  How are back-orders handled?  How are returns handled?  What information is updated when a shipment is sent?  What reports does the system produce?  How are employee responsibilities divided among the various procedures? Sample exception condition questions:  What happens when items are not in stock for an order?  How do you handle errors in the inventory system and physical counts?  What happens when shipments are returned due to a bad address?  What do you do about lost shipments? How are you notified? Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-6 7. Develop an activity diagram based on the following narrative. Note any ambiguities or questions that you have as you develop the model. If you need to make assumptions, also note them. The purchasing department handles purchase requests from other departments in the company. People in the company who initiate the original purchase request are the “customers” of the purchasing department.Acase worker within the purchasing department receives the request and monitors it until it is ordered and received. Case workers process requests for the purchase of products under $1,500, write a purchase order, and then send it to the approved vendor. Purchase requests over $1,500 must first be sent out for bid from the vendor that supplies the product. When the bids return, the case worker selects one bid and then writes a purchase order and sends it to the vendor. In-house Customer Purchasing Department Vendor H Make purchase request Receive requests Yes <1500? No Request bid Develop bid Select bid Write purchase order Send out bid H Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-7 8. Develop an activity diagram based on the following narrative. Note any ambiguities or questions that you have as you develop the model. If you need to make assumptions, also note them. The shipping department receives all shipments on outstanding purchase orders. When the clerk in the shipping department receives a shipment, he or she finds the outstanding purchase order for those items. The clerk then sends multiple copies of the shipment packing slip. One copy goes to Purchasing, and the department updates its records to indicate that the purchase order has been fulfilled. Another copy goes to Accounting so a payment can be made.Athird copy goes to the requesting in- ouse customer so he or she can receive the shipment.After payment is made, the accounting department sends a notification to Purchasing.After the customer receives and accepts the goods, he or she sends notification to Purchasing. When Purchasing receives these other verifications, it closes the purchase order as fulfilled and paid. Shipping Purchasing Accounting In-house Customer H Receive shipment Forder/copye Update purchse Make payment Receive records shipment Send Send notification notification Close purchase order H Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-8 9. Conduct a fact-finding interview with someone involved in a procedure that is used in a business or organization. This person could be someone at the university, in a small business in your neighborhood, in the student volunteer office at the university, in a doctor’s or dentist’s office, or in a volunteer organization. Identify a process that is done, such as keeping student records, customer records, or member records. Make a list of questions and then conduct the interview. Remember, your objective is to understand that procedure thoroughly (i.e., to become an expert on that single procedure). Responses will vary.Answers should include both closed-ended questions and open-ended questions. Anwers might also include some questions to address exception conditions. Answers to the questions can be written in text form or presented in an activity diagram. 10. Using RMO and the CSMS as your guide, develop a list of all the procedures that may need to be researched. You may want to think about the exercise in the context of your experience with such retailers as L.L. Bean, Lands’ End, Check out the Internet marketing done on the retailers’ Web sites and then think about the underlying business procedures that are required to support those sales activities. List the procedures and then describe your understanding of each. Answers will vary, but a good set of procedures might include all of the use cases identified in Figure 3-11 of the next chapter. Figure 3-11 has five subsystems, each with several use cases. Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-9 Solutions to End-of-Chapter Cases Case Study: Jacob and Jacob, Inc. On-Line Trading System 1. What is the best method for Edward to involve the brokers (users) in development of the new 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? This situation is a viable candidate for a questionnaire. The users are dispersed and probably diverse. The questionnaire should focus on needs and preferences and can also help to establish which topics need further refinement. It will probably cost too much to interview the brokers in all of the offices. One way to select offices is to develop a set of characteristics that distinguish the various offices, and then to select a representative office from each set of similar offices. If the answers to questions are very similar as interviews progress, it may be possible to abbreviate or shorten later visits to offices. If there is a wide variation between needs and procedures, then additional interviews can be scheduled. 2. Concerning customer input for the new system, how can Edward involve customers in the process? How can he interest them in participating? What are some ways that Edward can be sure that the customers he does involve are representative of Jacob and Jacob’s entire customer group? This may also be a viable candidate for a questionnaire. Statistically, sampling can guarantee that a large enough group can be studied, at least for the questionnaire. The questionnaire should focus on the types of services and reports (statements) that the customer receives from the system. If interviews are needed, some distinguishing characteristics should first be identified. Then, representative samples of customers could be interviewed. The cost of interviewing can also be controlled through the use of telephone interviews. 3. As Edward considers what other stakeholders he should includ
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