The first task in the systems survey is to gather facts. In the systems survey, the analyst gathers facts to achieve the systems survey goals. That is, facts are gathered to determine the nature and scope of the reported problem, to perform the feasibility study, and to plan the development project.
The analyst tries to determine what the system does now (the “as is”) and what we would like for it to do (the “to be”). To determine what the system is doing, we look at the system’s documentation and examine the system’s operation. To determine what the system should be doing, we obtain information from users and authoritative sources.
The extent of fact gathering must be consistent with cost and time constraints imposed on the systems survey. That is, the systems survey must be conducted as quickly and as inexpensively as possible, yet still accomplish its goals. If the project goes beyond the systems survey, additional, more detailed facts will be gathered during structuredsystems analysis.
Systems developers use a number of tools to gather facts. In Appendix 6A, we define and describe those fact-gathering tools typically used in systems development. Some of those tools may be used to gather facts during the systems survey.