Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, sixth edition 2-1
Chapter 2 – Investigating System Requirements
Solutions to End-of-Chapter Problems
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
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
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
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
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
Distribute questionnaires – good for finding overview or summary information from
Review current system documentation – good for understanding current processes
Observe current business processes – also good for understanding the user's processes
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.
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.
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.
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
Review every existing form and report to make sure that all information needs are
Identify and understand every business activity. Be sure that all business procedures have
Ensure that all exception conditions have been identified and associated processing has been
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Update purchse Make payment Receive
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, orAmazon.com. 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
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