MIS310 Database Management Systems
Description of the Systems Development Process
In this second assignment describe the process of systems development for the information systems project that is being studied and report (about 4-5 pages or so) in detail on the following questions to be asked of the information contact for the application.
Please note: Although you have to address all the questions here, in respect to the questions listed under (A), (B) & (C) [i.e. the questions addressing the development process itself under 3 different flavors] You only have to address the set of questions (A,B or C) that are relevant to the IT project you are studying (i.e. whether it is an in-house software development project, an outsourced development or [as is most likely] the purchase & customization of a customized application .
Development Policy and Procedures or Standards
Development Policy, Procedures and/or Standards are published documents describing a prescribed development methodology that anyone within the company or within the IT organization must use for new IT application development, application upgrade, or application acquisition. Policies are the highest level of organization directive, usually encompassing mandatory staff behaviors, i.e., actions that must be taken while developing or acquiring an application. Procedures are typically step-by-step instructions to perform a specific business process or task. Standards usually are minimum performance models that maybe used as a basis for comparison or judgment.
Does the organization have a published policy and/or procedures covering application development and/or application acquisition?
If there is a published policy, it is important to obtain a copy of the relevant policy and/or procedures and summarize them in the report.
Does the organization have a published policy and/or procedures covering outsourcing or service level agreements with outside vendors? If the policy and/or procedures exist, please obtain a copy of the relevant policy and/or procedures and summarize them in the report.
If there are no published application development/acquisition policy and/or procedures, are there standards or â “best practices” that the IT organization follows to ensure that development and/or acquisition activities are performed uniformly and completely? If yes, are they written? If they are written, please obtain a copy and, again, summarize them in your report. If they are not written, what are they and how are they conveyed to the project manager and application designer?
If no development/acquisition procedures or standards exist, are application designers or development/acquisition project managers expected to use a particular process or methodology? If yes, what is that process and how is that information conveyed to the project manager and application designer?
Do any standards or policies address security during the development process? Which ones do?
Is there a standard identification/authentication procedure that must be integrated with the new application?
Establishing the need and gathering requirements
How was the need for the subject application established?
Was a formal needs analysis performed?
Who made the initial request for the activity that culminated in this application development/acquisition? Was a feasibility study performed?
Describe the process of gathering the business requirements for the information system?
Did the requirements gathering effort for the application include all the people who could have been included? Were all stakeholders represented?
Who were the participants? How did they contribute?
What formal documentation was developed during the requirements gathering process?
Who reviewed the requirements? Who signed off on them?
The “Build or Buy” decision
1 Does the target organization have a viable IT application development unit?
Was “in-house development” a potential choice?
Was the decision made to develop the application in-house?
Who made the decision? When was it made?
If justification for the decision was announced, how was the “build” decision justified? How was the “buy” decision justified?
2 Was outsourcing the development considered? If yes, who were invited to bid?
Was a formal RFP (Request for Proposal) process followed? Describe it please. If none was followed, why wasn’t it?
Who prepared the RFP?
Was the RFP based on the business requirements alone, or on a more detailed functional design? A functional design specifies what the new application or new features must do, but not how the application will do them.
If the RFP was based on a functional design, who prepared it?
3 Was a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution considered? Who proposed the application? Was more than one vendor invited to present a candidate application? If so, who and what were they? Did any COTS application meet all the business requirements? Did the selected application need to be customized to meet all the business requirements?
Who was responsible for the customizing?
Were any business requirements changed to fit the application? Who was responsible for approving the changes?
(A) The development process – in-house development of software
1 How does a user initiate a new development project?
2 Who were the primary application designer(s) and development project manager?
3 Was a prototyping approach used during design or development? If it was, describe how it was used and who signed off on the prototype, please.
4 What, if any, formal methodology was used in the construction and/or implementation of the application? Was the systems development life cycle approach used?
5 What formal documentation was developed and/or used during the development process?
6 Who was responsible for unit and systems testing? Who prepared the test scripts?
7 How did the developers know their job was complete?
Were tests run to ensure the application met basic functional criteria?
Who wrote the tests? Who evaluated the tests?
(B) The development process – outsourced development.
1 Was a service level agreement executed with the outsourcing vendor?
Who was responsible for unit testing? System testing?
Who prepared the test scripts?
3 What, if any, formal methodology was used in the construction and/or implementation of the application? Was the systems development life cycle approach used? Was the methodology specified in the RFP? The proposal?
4 What formal documentation was developed and/or used during the development process?
5 How did the developers know their job was complete?
6 In what form was the new application delivered? Who installed it? How did the target company accept the application? What were the acceptance criteria? Who wrote the criteria? Was there any concern that the application wouldn’t be accepted? Explain.
7 Did the outsourcing vendor take an active role in the application implementation?
(C) The COTS (customizing off-the-shelf software packages) solution implementation process
1 Was any customization done prior to application installation? Who performed it?
2 How was the application delivered? Who installed it?
3 Was there any pre-installation training? Who was responsible for the training? Who was trained?
4 Who was responsible for accepting the COTS application? What were the acceptance criteria? Who wrote the criteria? Was there any concern that the application wouldn’t be accepted? Explain.
The work of the development or acquisition team doesn’t end with the delivery of a completed application. There is a lot left to do. Implementing the information system is a complex process that includes testing, training, documentation, acceptance, integration with existing systems, cutover to production and defining a maintenance strategy.
1 Who managed the implementation process (IT, user, or vendor)?
2 Who participated in the implementation process (testing, installation, acceptance, training, ready for use, cutover)? Include names and organizations?
3 What additional testing was performed during implementation?
System testing? Stress Testing? Beta testing? Acceptance testing?
Who prepared the test scripts?
4 How was system acceptance accomplished? What criteria were used? Who defined the criteria?
5 How was the cutover to the new application accomplished? When was it accomplished?
6 How does the new information system fit into the organization’s overall portfolio of information systems? Did it require integration with any other existing information system?
7 What backup and recovery plans were developed for the application in the event of system failure (i.e. how would the organization get the same business tasks accomplished)?
8 Were there issues associated with the project development/acquisition and implementation that generated disagreements within the organization’s project team? If so, how were the issues resolved?
9 Was any consideration given to whether the application could accommodate projected horizontal and/or vertical growth? Could it?
10 How were users and operators trained for the new system?
1 Who is responsible for system maintenance? Is there an ongoing maintenance and support plan?
2 Is the initial support contact for application done through the Help Desk?
3 How are fixes incorporated into the application? How is the security of fixes maintained?
4 Is there a release plan for subsequent releases? Are there enhancements and/or additional functions pending?
5 How are requests for change handled?
6 Is the database protected by logs and audit trails?
7 Are application users fully identified and authenticated before access is allowed?
8 Is the application included in a contingency or disaster recovery plan?
1 Who was (were) the executive sponsor(s) for the project?
2 Who were the real champions of the project? What motivated them?
3 Were there issues associated with the project development/acquisition and implementation that generated disagreements within the organization’s project team? If so, how were the issues dealt with?