The process of analysis and design can become unwieldy, especially when the system being developed is large. To keep the development activities as manageable as possible, we usually employ some of the techniques of project management to help us get organized.
One important aspect of project management is how to manage one’s schedule to finish the system on time, but it is not the only thing needed. The person in charge, called the project manager, is often the lead systems analyst. The project manager needs to understand how to determine what is needed and how to initiate a project; how to develop a problem definition; how to examine feasibility of completing the systems project; how to reduce risk; how to identify and manage activities; and how to hire, manage, and motivate other team members.
Addressing System Complexity
Estimating models, such as Costar (www.softstarsystems.com) or Construx (www.construx.com), work as follows: First the systems analyst enters an estimate of the size of the system. This can be entered in a number of different ways, including the lines of source code of the current system. Then it may be helpful to adjust the degree of difficulty based on how familiar the analyst is with this type of project.
Also considered are other variables, like the experience or capability of the team, the type of platform or operating system, the level of usability of the finished software (for example, what languages are necessary), and other factors that can drive up costs. Once the data are entered, calculations are made, and a rough projection of the completion date is produced. As the project gets underway, more specific estimates are possible.
Another way of estimating the amount of work that needs to be done and how large a staff one needs to complete a project is called function point analysis. This method takes the five main components of a computer system
- external inputs
- external outputs
- external queries
- internal logical files, and
- external interface files
and then rates them in terms of complexity.
Function point analysis can estimate the time it takes to develop a system in different computer languages and compare them to one another. For more information about function point analysis, visit the International Function Point Users Group’s Web site at www.ifpug.org.
- Project Initiation
- Defining the Problem in Project Initiation
- Selection of Projects
- Feasibility Study – Determining Whether the Project is Feasible
- Technical Feasibility – Ascertaining Hardware and Software Needs
- Acquisition of Computer Equipment – Technical Feasibility
- Software Evaluation in Technical Feasibility
- Economic Feasibility – Identifying & Forecasting Costs & Benefits
- Comparing Costs and Benefits – Economic Feasibilty
- Activity Planning and Control – Project Management
- Using PERT Diagrams in Project Planning
- Managing the Project
- Managing Analysis and Design Activities
- Creating the Project Charter & Avoiding Project Failures
- Organizing the Systems Proposal
- Using Figures for Effective Communication in System Proposal