While the project charter serves the purpose of identifying objects, determining scope, and assigning responsibilities, the analyst still needs to prepare a systems proposal that includes much of the detail about system needs, options, and recommendations. This section covers both the content and style that makes up a systems proposal.
What to include in the Systems Proposal
Ten main sections comprise the written systems proposal. Each part has a particular function, and the eventual proposal should be arranged in the following order:
A cover letter to managers and the IT task force should accompany the systems proposal. It should list the people who did the study and summarize the objectives of the study. Keep the cover letter concise and friendly.
Include on the title page the name of the project, the names of the systems analysis team members, and the date the proposal is submitted. The proposal title must accurately express the content of the proposal, but it can also exhibit some imagination. The table of contents can be useful to readers of long proposals. If the proposal is less than 10 pages long, omit the table of contents.
The executive summary, in 250 to 375 words, provides the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the proposal, just as would the first paragraph in a news story. It should also include the recommendations of the systems analysts and desired management action, because some people will only have time to read the summary. It should be written last, after the rest of the proposal is complete.
The outline of the systems study provides information about all the methods used in the study and who or what was studied. Any questionnaires, interviews, sampling of archival data, observation, or prototyping used in the systems study should be discussed in this section.
This detailed results section describes what the systems analyst has found out about human and systems needs through all the methods described in the preceding section. Conclusions about problems workers experience when interacting with technologies and systems that have come to the fore through the study should be noted here. This section should raise the problems or suggest opportunities that call forth the alternatives presented in the next section.
In the systems alternatives section of the proposal, the analyst presents two or three alternative solutions that directly address the aforementioned problems. The alternatives you present should include one that recommends keeping the system the same. Each alternative should be explored separately. Describe the costs and benefits of each situation. Because there are usually trade-offs involved in any solution, be sure to include the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Each alternative must clearly indicate what users and managers must do to implement it. The wording should be as clear as possible, such as, “Buy notebook computers for all middle managers,” “Purchase packaged software to support users in managing inventory,” or “Modify the existing system through funding in-house programming efforts.”
After the systems analysis team has weighed the alternatives, it will have a definite professional opinion about which solution is most workable. The systems analysts’ recommendations section expresses the recommended solution. Include the reasons supporting the team’s recommendation so that it is easy to understand why it is being made. The recommendation should flow logically from the preceding analysis of alternative solutions, and it should clearly relate the human–computer interaction findings to the choice offered.
The proposal summary is a brief statement that mirrors the content of the executive summary. It gives the objectives of the study and the recommended solution. The analyst should once more stress the project’s importance and feasibility along with the value of the recommendations for reaching the users’ goals and improving the business. Conclude the proposal on a positive note.
The appendix is the last part of the systems proposal, and it can include any information that the systems analyst feels may be of interest to specific individuals, but that is not essential for understanding the systems study and what is being proposed.
Once the systems proposal is written, carefully select who should receive the report. Personally hand the report to the people you have selected. Your visibility is important for the acceptance and eventual success of the system.
- 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