MILESTONE 2– PROBLEM ANALYSIS

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Synopsis

There’s an old saying that suggests, “Don’t try to fix it unless you understand it.” With those words of wisdom, the next milestone of our project is to study and analyze the existing system. There is always an existing business system, regardless of whether it currently uses a computer. The problem analysis phase provides the project team with a more thorough understanding of the problems, opportunities, and/or directives that triggered the project. Indeed, the analyst frequently uncovers new problems and opportunities. The problem analysis phase may answer the questions, “Are the problems worth solving?” and “Is a new system worth building?”

The purpose of the problem analysis phase is threefold. First and foremost, the project team must gain an appropriate understanding of the business problem domain. Second, we need to answer the question, “Are these problems (opportunities and directives) worth solving”? Finally, we need to determine if the system is worth developing. The problem analysis phase provides the systems analyst and project team with a more thorough understanding of the problems, opportunities, and/or directives that triggered the project. In the process, they frequently uncover new problems and opportunities.

In this milestone you will perform Cause-Effect Analysis on the Employee Benefits System (EBS) and document your findings using the Problems, Opportunities, Objectives, and Constraints Matrix. The PIECES framework, originally developed by James Wetherbe and then adapted by the authors, can serve as a useful tool to classify the various problems, opportunities, and directives identified in Milestone 1.

Objectives

After completing this milestone, you should be able to:

  • Perform a Cause-Effect Analysis to be able to thoroughly understand a system’s problems, opportunities, and/or directives that triggered the project.
  • Use and understand the PIECES framework for classifying problems, opportunities, and directives.
  • Complete the Problems, Opportunities, Objectives, and Constraints Matrix.
  • Complete the List of Business Activities based on Requirement analysis.

Prerequisites

Before starting this milestone, the following topics should be covered:

• The problem analysis phase — Chapters 3 and 5

• PIECES framework — Chapters 3 and 5

• Problem analysis techniques — Chapter 6

• Milestone 1 Solution

Assignment

Now that we have completed the preliminary investigation of the system and gained approval to proceed, we can attempt to gain a better understanding of the current system.

In this assignment we will use our results of Milestone 1, plus the Case background information, in order to perform cause-effect analysis. The results of this activity will provide us a better understanding of the problems, opportunities, and constraints of the current system.

Activities

  1.  To complete the Problems, Opportunities, Objectives, and Constraints Matrix, using facts presented in the case introduction. Use the PIECES framework as a model to classify the problems, opportunities, and directives.
  2. To compile a List of business activities based on business requirements. It has to include the main tasks which have to be implemented.

Deliverable format and software to be used are according to your instructor’s specifications. Deliverables should be neatly packaged in a binder, separated with a tab divider labeled “Milestone 2”.

References and Templates

• Problems, Opportunities, Objectives, and Constraints Matrix Template (link on Week 3

   iLab page)

• Case Introduction

Deliverables:

Problems, Opportunities, Objectives,

and Constraints Matrix:                                                      Due:  __/__/__
                                                                                                Time:________

            List of Business activities:                                                    Due:  __/__/__
                                                                                                            Time:_______

ADVANCED OPTIONS

Write a System Improvement Objectives and Recommendations Report for the phase.  This deliverable was not discussed in the narrative because students need to be exposed to modeling (data, process, & interface), before this report can be completed. For those ambitious individuals who are familiar with those skills and wish to be challenged, use the detailed study report outline found in Chapter 5 of the textbook, as a guideline.

            Another advanced option is to develop one or more fishbone diagrams for problems outlined in the case.  To complete this advanced option, you may need to make some assumptions about causes and effects.

System Improvement Objectives

 and Recommendations Report:                                 Due:  __/__/__
                                                                                                            Time:_______

            Fishbone Diagrams                                                          Due: __/__/__
                                                                                                            Time:_______

Milestone’s Point Value:                                                                ____

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