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Discussion Questions

28 August, 2015 - 12:31


Give five examples of why one Information System might experience more iterations of the SDLC than another Information System.


Discuss several factors negatively or positively affecting the achievement of systems development objectives.


“As long as we plan a systems development project and carry out the project in an orderly manner, we don’t need a formal, documented systems development methodology.” Do you agree? Why or why not?


The chapter differentiates two different “triggers” for the systems development process: a planned, periodic review and a user-requested systems development. Compare and contrast those two triggers.


Discuss specific examples of the importance of proceeding with systems development even when there is doubt as to the feasibility of the proposed development effort.


“We don’t have time to use a structured SDLC process. If we don’t get this e-business application up next month, our competition will steal all our customers.” Discuss.


In doing a systems survey for the proposed automation of the cash disbursements system of XYZ Company, the analyst in charge reached the tentative conclusion that Larry Long, the popular cashier with more than 30 years of company service, will be displaced and perhaps asked to consider early retirement. Discuss how this scenario relates to the topic of “operational feasibility” presented in this chapter. Discuss the potential impact on the success of the new disbursements system.


Systems analysis is defined in this chapter as the methodical investigation of a problem and the identification and ranking of alternative solutions to the problem. It seems that this definition also describes what occurred in the systems survey. How does the analysis phase of this chapter differ from the survey phase? Don’t both phases involve “systems analysis,” as defined in this chapter? Discuss fully.


One of the goals of systems analysis is to choose and justify one of the alternative design solutions. Would it not be more effective, efficient, and practical for the systems analyst to pass along all alternative design solutions to top management (perhaps to the IT steering committee), together with arguments for and against each alternative, and let top management choose one of them?


List the decisions that must be made prior to initiating structured systems analysis. Indicate how the systems survey contributed to the decisions.


Identify the trade-offs of too broad an analysis scope versus too narrow an analysis scope.


“We waste too much time studying and documenting the current physical environment.” How would you respond to such a statement?


“If a new Information System can’t pay for itself, we won’t develop it.” How would you respond to such a statement?


“If the results of the cost/benefit analysis do not agree with those of the effectiveness analysis, there is probably no difference among the alternatives.” Do you agree with this thinking? Why or why not?


Appendix 6A: “Questionnaires constrain the fact-gathering activity and stifle creativity.” Discuss.


Appendix 6A:



Speculate about how the use of questionnaires during the structured systems analysis stage would differ from their use during the systems survey.



Speculate about how the use of the interview to gather facts during the structured systems analysis stage would differ from its use during the systems survey.


Appendix 6A: Discuss the relative advantages of the interview, the transaction review (walkthrough), the observation, the internal literature review, and the database and files review as they might apply to each of the following situations that might occur during the systems survey:



Gaining an initial understanding of the system under review.



Confirming the understanding obtained in part a.



Determining the nature and extent of reported system failure (e.g., in an Order-to-Cash process, numerous customer complaints, excessive bad debt losses, abnormally high sales returns, and unusual delinquency in shipping customer orders).



Assessing/evaluating (1) economic feasibility, (2) operational feasibility, and (3) technical feasibility.


Appendix 6A: Refer to RQ6-23. In which situations is it debatable what is the most appropriate fact-gathering tool to use? In which situations is it not debatable? Explain your answer.


“The more time that is invested in systems analysis, the better the system, the fewer the problems that will occur later in the system’s life, and the less expensive the development process.” Is this statement true? Why or why not?


Refer to the story about Oxford Health Plans, Inc. at the beginning of the chapter. Describe how Oxford could have avoided or minimized the problems that they encountered by following the systems development procedures described in this chapter.