The learning outcome for this unit involves the process of developing an information system (IS) for an organization. There are many factors involved in this process, including core activities and the methodologies for managing the process. Project management plays a part as well. Additionally, IS development does not happen in a silo; there is also the business side to consider as part of the process. All of these considerations are brought together and addressed in this assignment.
For this assignment, you will need to access the CSU Online Library to research two articles concerning information systems development and project management. Drawing on these two articles, your textbook, and other sources, write an essay that addresses the following:
- Provide a well-formulated thesis statement in your introduction paragraph.
- Explain how a business user could be involved in the core activities of building an information system.
- Analyze how software development methodologies (such as agile development) can work in tandem with project management for the benefit of both information systems development projects and organizations.
- Evaluate how project managers and/or IT managers can ensure that information system development projects are in alignment with business strategies and goals.
- Summarize your findings in a five-page paper using proper APA formatting.
Your response must be at least five pages in length, not including the title and references pages, and in APA format. You are required to use the two outside articles. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying APA citations.
Developing Information Systems
Why do we develop new systems? The answer to this question is pretty evident if you think about it. No organization will remain the same for too long if it wants to be effective, efficient, and competitive. The concept of organizational change goes hand in hand with implementing new systems—regardless of whether you purchase new systems or develop them in-house. There is a whole discipline of quality management based on organizational change, process improvement, and business process redesign that supports the use of technology to improve business processes. For many organizations, the concept of business process redesign is never-ending due to the continual need for evaluating current processes, designing new processes, implementing new processes, and seeking to optimize processes (Laudon & Laudon, 2016).
Let’s look at an office environment as an example. An office environment is not generally set up to be processefficient like an assembly line in an automobile assembly plant. However, people in office environments often get new information systems. Why is that? There are always ways of being more efficient in every type of workplace. There are always new ways to automate manual tasks—even just being able to access data faster is a plus. Most systems development comes from a desire to solve a problem. For example, how can we gather some specific data, manipulate it somehow, and output it into information that makes sense to us or that we can use to make good business decisions?
What is involved in the process of developing a new information system? There are some core activities involved in systems development. These activities or steps in the process might actually be common sense to some of us. Different theorists can break the systems development process into different steps, but for the purposes of this course, we will say that there are six basic activities.
- Systems analysis – How do you know how to solve the problem unless you do some analysis first? What is the exact problem? What are the causes? What are the requirements? What are some potential solutions? Are these solutions feasible? Based on many factors including time, cost, benefits, and impacts, management will choose a solution.
- Systems design – How do you get written user requirements into technical requirements? What are the system specifications? What is the functionality? What should the user involvement be? The systems design document should lay out the entire solution so that the developers can create the new system.
- Programming – This is where a lot of the work happens because the developer has to take the technical document and create an operational system. In many cases, organizations will purchase
MBA 5401, Management Information Systems 1
UNIT VII STUDY GUIDE
Managing Information Systems Development
software packages from a vendor. If the tasks are standard or customUizNabITlex, tShTeUnDpYurcGhUaIsDinEg a
system may be a good option.
- Testing – There are different forms of testing. The developer will test as they go, making sure there isfunctionality in the system. Then, the developer or a quality assurance (QA) representative will perform unit testing on the applications or modules one at a time. The next step would be to test the whole system to make sure everything works in unison. There will also likely be some regression testing, which means the tester will make sure no other systems are harmed by what this new system is doing. The final step is to test with the user to make sure the system is functional.
- Conversion – This involves the process of going live with the new system. There are many ways of doing this. Two popular ways involve a phased approach or direct cutover. Many times, organizations can even run systems in parallel until they are ready to turn off the old system.
- Production and maintenance – This step involves a review process over a period of time to make sure that there are no bugs that need to be addressed.
So, how does one manage all of this? Just like any process, there are ways to manage the software development process to make sure that the rules are followed and that the process is as efficient as possible. Depending on the size of the project, managers may need some tools to help document and manage the process. First, it is important to note that there are different methodologies for developing systems. Structured methodologies are top-down, step-by-step methodologies that use data entities whereby progress flows from one logical step to the next. Object-oriented development methodologies are more iterative and incremental. They use objects that are data accompanied with information/instructions concerning that data.
To manage the software development process, most development shops use a software systems development life cycle (SDLC) program. The original SDLC was called the waterfall method and was characterized by having formal stages where one stage had to be completed before the next one began. That sounds a bit rigid, does it not? It works well for smaller, less complex software projects, but it does not work well for larger, more complex projects. Since the development of the waterfall SDLC, there have been many other approaches that have been developed. For example, prototyping is a popular method where parts of the system are created and presented to the user for use and approval. If the user does not approve, then adjustments can be made and presented again. This method can be used in conjunction with the waterfall method and adds an iterative element. More recently, several methods have been developed that are more versatile and iterative in nature. One of the more popular methods is called agile development, which focuses on the quick delivery of small subprojects, each treated as a full project. Agile is used in many software development shops.
Just as technology has adapted over time to answer the needs of organizations, so have the methods and processes been used to support technology advancement and information systems development.
How does project management fit into this? You might ask yourself if you have an SDLC, why do you need project management? Broadly speaking, a project is a set of activities that work together to achieve some business objective. That business objective might be to build a new warehouse or it might be to build a new system. Either way, the project has to be managed. Nowadays, most complex systems go outside the boundaries of just software development. There may be hardware, network, server, database, and security considerations. You may even have prominent involvement from the business side of the organization. For the actual software development portion of the project, you can use an SDLC methodology to manage that process and project management to manage the overall project.
There are some higher-level considerations for organizations and project management as well.
How can you align your systems projects with business goals? The organization’s business strategy drivesthe selection of projects. Many organizations will have a steering committee or similar facsimile to drive this selection process.
How can organizations link their information systems projects to their business plan? An information systems plan will help make the link between specific technology and corporate goals. The plan will list the corporate goals and specify how the information technology will support the achievement of those goals through current systems and new development and acquisitions.
How can you assess a business value to the information systems that you are of a system is based on whether it provides enough returns to justify its cost. However, remember that there are
always tangible and intangible benefits when discussing value.
All of these are important considerations in the process of developing information systems for organizations.
Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2016). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm[VitalSource Bookshelf version] (14th ed.). Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/97801338…