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System and understanding of modern approaches. This paper concludes

System Design Analysis and Project Management are areas of
great importance in the modern workplace that play a vital role in an
organization’s success. This paper discusses these two fields of study and their
impact on an organization’s success. This paper also explains in detail the
activities of system design analysis and project management. Different
methodologies and tools used in system design analysis are presented in this
paper to ensure an accurate overview and understanding of modern approaches.  This paper concludes with a thorough description
of the responsibilities of each role and the desirable skills hiring managers
should look for when recruiting for these positions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

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            Information systems (IS) are
designed to enhance the overall business process and improve company
initiatives. This field of study began in the 1950’s, focusing on automating
processes such as payroll systems. Over the decades, IS has evolved from very
large mainframe computer systems to over-the-counter software packages.  With the advent of the internet, systems
design analysis has become even more important to organizations looking to stay
competitive and provide needed information systems to their workforce.

System
Design Analysis

In
today’s business environment, system design analysis is a very challenging and methodical
process that involves teams of business professionals and systems engineers to
design, build, and oversee computer-based information systems (Valacich &
George 2017). There are three main elements that define the organizational approach
to system design analysis: methodologies, techniques, and tools. When
developing information systems, many organizations use a standard methodology
to conduct the steps to analyze, design, implement, and maintain information
systems. This is called a systems development methodology (Valacich &
George 2017). These activities usually
follow a process flow, called a life-cycle.  One of the most popular life-cycles is called
the systems development life cycle (SDLC), which is considered the traditional methodology
used in business to develop, maintain, and replace information systems. The
SDLC explains in detail the activates that are involved in system design
analysis. The SDLC consists of five very important phases: planning, analysis,
design, implementation, and maintenance.

The first phase of the SDLC,
planning, begins with identifying the needs of the organization from a systems
standpoint. A major determination during this phase is figuring out the “why or
why not” to develop a specific system (Valacich & George 2017). The second
phase in the SDLC is the analysis of the system. Some consider this to be the
most important of the stages in the SDLC. During this phase, the systems
requirements are studied and structured. Determining what the requirements and
needs are of the system is extremely important to ensure proper funding and
resource planning. The third phase of this methodology includes analysts taking
the recommended solutions and converting them into a logical and then, physical
systems application. This is where the system begins being designed, mapped-out,
and finally, constructed. The fourth phase, implementation, is where the
systems designer starts coding and testing the product to ensure all functions
work properly. After numerous tests and validation cycles are performed, the
new system is installed on either new or existing hardware (Valacich &
George 2017). Training is developed and rolled-out to user support teams and
then throughout the organization, which leads into the final stage of maintenance.
After a new system is released, errors may be found and will need to be
addressed. Programmers will continue to fix, modify, and update systems
throughout the system’s existence in order to keep it functioning effectively
until it is replaced by a newer system. 

The SDLC is a basic framework
that shows how a system is created, designed, and then implemented into an
organization. Not all company programmers and analysts follow the SDLC
step-by-step due to their company’s individual needs. However, the SDLC does provide
a better understanding of the processes and activities of system design
analysis. Companies today are looking for new ways to improve the systems
design process and as technology improves, so are the different approaches to
system design analysis. Different tools and applications have been created
allowing systems developers to tailor their design process to each organization’s
size and needs. Computer-Aided Software Engineering tools (CASE) , Agile, and Rapid
Application Development (RAD) are just a few of the more modern tools designers
are using to aid in their development of new systems for their organization. These
tools help decrease the time spent on design and implementation, are adaptive
rather than reactive, are more user focused, and can even make it possible for
small teams to easily take on these projects.

Project
Management

Project management is the
controlled process of creating projects and managing them from its inception to
its termination. There are four phases of project management: initiating the
project, planning the project, executing the project, and closing down the
project. The person who is in charge of these activities and manages these
projects is called a project manager. This person is usually a systems analyst
and has a lot of experience with their company’s service needs and customer
expectations (Valacich & George 2017).  Many project managers have leadership
experience, technical computer skills as well as valuable department and
customer relationships. The benefit of project management in today’s business
environment is that it allows companies to improve their operations by addressing
areas of concern that can adversely affect the organization’s effectiveness or
competitiveness.

Once a project has been
approved by senior management, usually after a system service request and
feasibility study were conducted, the project manager will start the first
phase of project management: project initiation. During this phase, the project
manager will establish a team of professionals who will help assist in all
areas of the project. Maintaining a strong relationship and understanding with
the customer or department is essential. Another step in the initiation phase
is to establish a project initiation plan, which is important because it
defines the necessary activities to organize the team (e.g. agendas for meetings,
communication expectations and defining deliverables). Establishing management
procedures such as team communications, assignments and roles, as well as
funding and billing, are determined during this step. The last steps in the first
phase are setting the tone for the project management environment, developing a
workbook and the charter. The first part deals with collecting and organizing
management tools such as graphs, charts, and an electronic workbook. The
charter is a short document that explains the goal, deliverables, and the main
elements of the project (Valacich & George 2017).

The second phase of the
project is planning, which includes ten activities starting with describing the
scope, accessing the feasibility of the project. After this step, the manager
will divide the project into manageable tasks, usually with the aid of charts
(i.e. Gantt Charts), then will forecast and the resources needed for the
project. Once the resources are estimated, a timeline and schedule will need to
be proposed and a communication plan created to ensure proper procedures are
established among all team members, management, and customers. The next step
includes creating project standards and procedures which includes the tools,
methods, and documentation/ terminology styles that will be used during the
project. Next, identifying and assessing risk of possible negative outcomes of
the project, are outlined before a preliminary budget is created. A project
scope statement is made to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of the
projects goal. Finally, a baseline project plan is created which provides an
estimate of the tasks and resource requirements. 

The third phase is project
execution, which is where the two previous phases are put into action and five
execution activities are initiated. First, the project manager will execute the
baseline project plan by setting into motion the project activities, acquiring of
resources, training team members, remaining on schedule, and ensuring project
deliverables are meeting expectations. Second, the project process is monitored
against the baseline project plan to ensure proper resources, budgets, and
timeline are within the original projections. If not, changes will need to be made
and communication with all stakeholders will need to take place. This leads
into the third activity, making changes to the baseline plan when needed.
Sustaining the project workbook and keeping regular communications about the
project’s status are the last two activities (Valacich & George 2017).

The final phase in project
management is the closedown of the project. Once the project is discontinued
the project manager will want to ensure all stakeholders have received
communication about the completion of the project. The project manager will
also want to conduct post project reviews with team members to evaluate
performance and areas of opportunity for employees. Last, the project manager
will need to ensure the customer contract is closed out and all obligations
have been met. This is a very important activity in this phase because the project
is not considered finished until this step is complete.

Systems
Analyst: Responsibilities and Needed Skills

A systems analyst is a person
who is responsible for designing and analyzing a company’s information systems.
This person is very involved in organizational improvement initiatives that
involve enhancing or creating new information systems. A systems analyst is a
problem solver who will identify options and solutions to ensure the proper information
system is chosen for the organization. They will support the rollout and
implementation of these systems and are involved in all aspects of the SDLC, in
addition to functioning in a support role for customers and peers (AGCAS
2016).  The skills needed to be
successful in this position include strong, clear communication skills and
effectively translating technical jargon to other members of the company. Being
a change agent is very important. The analyst is involved with system upgrades
and changes that are focused on overall company success. Being a driver of
frequent change and supporting others is crucial (W3Computing 2017). A system
analyst will also need to have strong interpersonal and organizational skills due
to the complex assignments they will undertake.

Project
Manager: Responsibilities and Needed Skills

A project manager is a system
analyst who usually has a strong leadership or management background and is
tasked with overseeing the initiation, planning, executing, and closing of a
project. This person will work with multiple departments to help create
solutions for an organization that fix areas of concern or create competitive
opportunities. Communication skills are very important due to their
interactions with both senior management and customers (Landau 2017). A project
manager will need to be a strong leader who can manage and motivate employees
throughout a challenging project life-cycle. They must be customer-centric with
the ability to maintain strong positive relationships. Conflict management and
resolution skills are vital for this positon as well as identifying and
assessing risk. Another important skill is being able to negotiate, which will
be key for gaining more resources once a project has been approved (Doyle
2017).

Summary

System Design Analysis and
Project Management are very important and often interrelated areas that are tasked
with creating and implementing new systems in order to solve problems and offer
competitive advantages. Both fields follow detailed steps and activities to
ensure proper completion of their assigned projects. Systems analysts and
project managers also tend to share similar backgrounds which results in the
roles sharing many of the same skills and qualities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

AGCAS
2016 Systems Analyst. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job- profiles/systems-analyst

Doyle,
A. (2017). Project manager skills list of examples. The Balance. Retrieved from
https://www.thebalance.com/essential-project-manager-skills-2062461

Landau,
P. (2017). 10 essential project management skills. Retrieved from

10 Essential Project Management Skills

W3Computing.
(2017). Roles of a systems analysis. Retrieved from http://www.w3computing.com/systemsanalysis/roles-systems-analyst/

Valacich,
J,S. & George, J,F. (2017). Modern systems analysis and design. Edition 8.
Pearson Education Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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