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Systems Development and Project Management

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Systems Development and Project Management

Information technology is an important part of a company’s future success. In order for companies to move into the future compressively they must continue to enhance their Information technology. The systems development process and the management of it are important aspects of strategically enhancing a company’s information technology system in place or better it for the future. Systems development can be simply be described as the process you go through to develop the product or products that meet your organizations needs. This type of development process is described as the waterfall process.

There are a couple of development processes, but the one mainly talked about is the Waterfall process. The other type of development process is the Iterative process. This type of process is used mostly by commercial developers for a customer who is not quite sure what they want developed for them. Each one of the processes has a model that describes a vast amount of tasks or activities that occur as you utilize either of the processes. To name a few models you have, the Waterfall model, the Spiral, the prototype and the Evolutionary model. To explain one model, an example would be the Waterfall. The model is pretty much the same as the Waterfall process. This particular model shows progression of your project. You start with your input being received, processed and sent to the next activity as in input and the process continues until you have your final product as your output. Each process and module has it positives and negatives depending on what type of product or system you are developing.

According to Travis Bakersville in his article, “The Impact of Computer Supported Technologies on Information Systems Development”, there are five types of system development methodologies. The types are the structured approach, the prototyping/iterative approach, rapid application development, object oriented, and other types. Based on the above types 76.5% of organizations utilize the Structured approach. Of those different methodologies, a survey of done to see how companies were acquiring their methodology. According to the Judy Wynekoop, 35% or organizations purchased their methodology and 65% developed their own in-house.

There are numerous surveys and comments from various IT managers that believe that each and every project development needs to use a methodology. However, a consensus is that not one particular methodology is appropriate for every project development process and each IS manager reports modifying methodologies depending on the project. Frequently, several models are combined into some sort of “super” methodology. A very important point of choosing a methodology is realizing that choosing the right one is very vital is this process if you want to ensure you have a reliable and correct product as an end result.

Along with each of these methodologies and methods there are techniques. Some of the widely uses techniques in the systems development process are prototyping, cleanroom, and object oriented technologies & software reuse. Prototyping can be explained as when a set of general objectives identified. Cleanroom is where you build

“correctness” into the product as it is developed. Lastly, object oriented is where objects are put into categories, then classes and hierarchies. Each class and hierarchy has set attributes that explain and it and define what it is suppose to so. There are several different methods and techniques used to direct a systems development process. Even though each is made or used for different purposes, most have similar tasks and goals. The systems development life cycle falls into that category.

Systems development life cycle is the process of developing your system by using investigation, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. Its purpose of a systems development process is to ensure that systems are planned, implemented, modified, and maintained in a manner that meets the needs of our organization with a high degree of reliability, effectiveness, and cost efficiency. The first phase in this life cycle is your concept. This is where you identify your need for this system. The next phase is where you analyze your requirements to make sure your end product meets the end users needs. Then you have the design phase, where you take your requirements and develop a blueprint of your product. Next is where you put the system in place and code as well as debug it. The last phase is where you test and maintain it continuously.

Even with all the tools and information available there are still possibilities for potential problems when developing a system. Some of those problems are bases on the type of development system you use. Some problems associated with the Waterfall

model is that it doesn’t accommodate for unknown factors in the development process.
The next model is the Exploratory Model. The problems associated with this are that it is limited to use with high level languages. Another model commonly used with associated problems is the prototype model. The problems noted with that particular model are that it can lead to false expectations and a poorly designed system. These are only a small amount of problems listed, there is always the possibility that there are problems they may not have been found as of yet.

In conclusion, systems are developed in a highly complicated environment. Determining what is needed and having input from the end user of the product are key elements. Although there are various methodologies and models for the system development process, our organization needs to choose the one that is going to best bit the product to be developed. The fact that there may be problems associated with the process should be noted and planned accordingly as to not allow the problems to be a stopping point in the process. Since we know that Information technology is important to the organizations future success, determining a methodology and technique to accomplish the goal should be one of the key steps in development process.

References

Baskerville, R.; Travis, J.; and Truex, D. (2002) Systems without Method: The Impact of New Technologies on Information Systems Development Projects, Retrieved March 10, 2008 from: www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/conf/ifip8-2/ifip8-2-1992.html
Fitzgerald, B. (1994) The Systems Development Dilemma: Whether to Adopt Formalized Systems Development Methodologies or Not? Retrieved March 9, 2008 from: www.metamodel.com/wisme-2003/14.pdf
Karl-Erik Sveiby: KM Today and Tomorrow – What Makes me Passionate, Retrieved March 14, 2008 from: http://www.sveiby.com/Portals/0/articles/Sveibyinterview2004.htm
Wikipedia (2008) Systems Development, Retrieved March 11, 2008 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_development
Wynekoop, J.L. and RUSSO, N.L. (1993) System Development Methodologies: Unanswered Questions and the Research Practice Gap, Retrieved March 12, 2008 from: www.itu.dk/iris29/IRIS29/3-4.pdf

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