Overview of the Project Proposal Assignment
This description of Assignment #1 is divided into five (5) parts, this overview and four additional sections, each reflecting a required section of Assignment #1
(A) Target of study
(B) Significance of target
(C) Data sources
(D) Project plan
Draft a project proposal that broadly describes the information system they intend to study in the post-implementation review.
The project proposal is the first and perhaps most critical component of the final project because the feedback and grade received from the instructor will clarify whether you selected a target of study that is appropriate and doable.
The project proposal will be between 4 and 6 pages (not counting the cover page that identifies student name or the bibliography or the supporting exhibits like the project schedule), double-line spaced & twelve point font.
(A) Target of study
Describe the organization being studied and the information system being studied. What firm or business is being studied?
To what industry sector (or sub-sector) does this organization belong?
What do organizations in this sector typically do
What are the services/products they produce/deliver? For example, if you are investigating MN-DOT, it is not enough to say that MN-DOT is a government agency, it is one of many public agencies that deals with Transportation and Highway infrastructure. What business activities does the firm, business or organization carry out?
How big is the organization? [Example: # of employees, assets, annual revenue]
What are the organization’s primary products or services that it manufactures/delivers? Who are its customers/constituencies and what are they looking for? What value-added does it provide its customers?
What is the information systems project that you will be studying for the four assignments making up the post-implementation review and report?
Is there an electronic commerce “angle” to the information system being studied? If so, what kind of electronic commerce is it? Business-to-Business (i.e. Supply chain management), Business-to-Consumer, or Internal (i.e. “Electronic Business”)?
What is the business process that is being supported or executed by this system or technology? It is very important to be able to describe this business process coherently and in a way that is discrete from the information systems itself. Without such description, it becomes very hard to evaluate the business case for the project. For example, the reader (i.e. instructor) should not need to have special expertise in the field of rural agriculture in order to make sense out of the information systems application that is being described.
(B) Significance of target
Why is this particular information system significant in the context of current and future business operations for this firm? What benefits does it appear to yield (this question will be addressed in greater detail in the last project assignment, but it is important that you begin trying to address this question even in this initial assignment, even if you can only provide a cursory description
What larger lesson might potentially be learned from this application by business professional in other firms and organizations (i.e. why is this particular application meaningful to the larger business world?)
(C) Data sources
Who will be your principle contacts/informants for this project at the target organization?
What inter-industry trade or professional organization(s) is (are) relevant to the operations of this firm
What types of data sources will be used (business periodicals/company literature etc.)
Why will these data sources be used (why are these data sources more readily available than others kinds of sources)
Please also include a preliminary list of articles and news stories and other sources that have been gathered on the final project topic and a summary of what has been learned about the so far.
MIS310 Database Management Systems
Description of the Systems Development Process
In this second assignment describe the process of systems development for the information systems project that is being studied and report (about 4-5 pages or so) in detail on the following questions to be asked of the information contact for the application.
Please note: Although you have to address all the questions here, in respect to the questions listed under (A), (B) & (C) [i.e. the questions addressing the development process itself under 3 different flavors] You only have to address the set of questions (A,B or C) that are relevant to the IT project you are studying (i.e. whether it is an in-house software development project, an outsourced development or [as is most likely] the purchase & customization of a customized application .
Development Policy and Procedures or Standards
Development Policy, Procedures and/or Standards are published documents describing a prescribed development methodology that anyone within the company or within the IT organization must use for new IT application development, application upgrade, or application acquisition. Policies are the highest level of organization directive, usually encompassing mandatory staff behaviors, i.e., actions that must be taken while developing or acquiring an application. Procedures are typically step-by-step instructions to perform a specific business process or task. Standards usually are minimum performance models that maybe used as a basis for comparison or judgment.
Does the organization have a published policy and/or procedures covering application development and/or application acquisition?
If there is a published policy, it is important to obtain a copy of the relevant policy and/or procedures and summarize them in the report.
Does the organization have a published policy and/or procedures covering outsourcing or service level agreements with outside vendors? If the policy and/or procedures exist, please obtain a copy of the relevant policy and/or procedures and summarize them in the report.
If there are no published application development/acquisition policy and/or procedures, are there standards or â “best practices” that the IT organization follows to ensure that development and/or acquisition activities are performed uniformly and completely? If yes, are they written? If they are written, please obtain a copy and, again, summarize them in your report. If they are not written, what are they and how are they conveyed to the project manager and application designer?
If no development/acquisition procedures or standards exist, are application designers or development/acquisition project managers expected to use a particular process or methodology? If yes, what is that process and how is that information conveyed to the project manager and application designer?
Do any standards or policies address security during the development process? Which ones do?
Is there a standard identification/authentication procedure that must be integrated with the new application?
Establishing the need and gathering requirements
How was the need for the subject application established?
Was a formal needs analysis performed?
Who made the initial request for the activity that culminated in this application development/acquisition? Was a feasibility study performed?
Describe the process of gathering the business requirements for the information system?
Did the requirements gathering effort for the application include all the people who could have been included? Were all stakeholders represented?
Who were the participants? How did they contribute?
What formal documentation was developed during the requirements gathering process?
Who reviewed the requirements? Who signed off on them?
The “Build or Buy” decision
1 Does the target organization have a viable IT application development unit?
Was “in-house development” a potential choice?
Was the decision made to develop the application in-house?
Who made the decision? When was it made?
If justification for the decision was announced, how was the “build” decision justified? How was the “buy” decision justified?
2 Was outsourcing the development considered? If yes, who were invited to bid?
Was a formal RFP (Request for Proposal) process followed? Describe it please. If none was followed, why wasn’t it?
Who prepared the RFP?
Was the RFP based on the business requirements alone, or on a more detailed functional design? A functional design specifies what the new application or new features must do, but not how the application will do them.
If the RFP was based on a functional design, who prepared it?
3 Was a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution considered? Who proposed the application? Was more than one vendor invited to present a candidate application? If so, who and what were they? Did any COTS application meet all the business requirements? Did the selected application need to be customized to meet all the business requirements?
Who was responsible for the customizing?
Were any business requirements changed to fit the application? Who was responsible for approving the changes?
(A) The development process – in-house development of software
1 How does a user initiate a new development project?
2 Who were the primary application designer(s) and development project manager?
3 Was a prototyping approach used during design or development? If it was, describe how it was used and who signed off on the prototype, please.
4 What, if any, formal methodology was used in the construction and/or implementation of the application? Was the systems development life cycle approach used?
5 What formal documentation was developed and/or used during the development process?
6 Who was responsible for unit and systems testing? Who prepared the test scripts?
7 How did the developers know their job was complete?
Were tests run to ensure the application met basic functional criteria?
Who wrote the tests? Who evaluated the tests?
(B) The development process – outsourced development.
1 Was a service level agreement executed with the outsourcing vendor?
Who was responsible for unit testing? System testing?
Who prepared the test scripts?
3 What, if any, formal methodology was used in the construction and/or implementation of the application? Was the systems development life cycle approach used? Was the methodology specified in the RFP? The proposal?
4 What formal documentation was developed and/or used during the development process?
5 How did the developers know their job was complete?
6 In what form was the new application delivered? Who installed it? How did the target company accept the application? What were the acceptance criteria? Who wrote the criteria? Was there any concern that the application wouldn’t be accepted? Explain.
7 Did the outsourcing vendor take an active role in the application implementation?
(C) The COTS (customizing off-the-shelf software packages) solution implementation process
1 Was any customization done prior to application installation? Who performed it?
2 How was the application delivered? Who installed it?
3 Was there any pre-installation training? Who was responsible for the training? Who was trained?
4 Who was responsible for accepting the COTS application? What were the acceptance criteria? Who wrote the criteria? Was there any concern that the application wouldn’t be accepted? Explain.
The work of the development or acquisition team doesn’t end with the delivery of a completed application. There is a lot left to do. Implementing the information system is a complex process that includes testing, training, documentation, acceptance, integration with existing systems, cutover to production and defining a maintenance strategy.
1 Who managed the implementation process (IT, user, or vendor)?
2 Who participated in the implementation process (testing, installation, acceptance, training, ready for use, cutover)? Include names and organizations?
3 What additional testing was performed during implementation?
System testing? Stress Testing? Beta testing? Acceptance testing?
Who prepared the test scripts?
4 How was system acceptance accomplished? What criteria were used? Who defined the criteria?
5 How was the cutover to the new application accomplished? When was it accomplished?
6 How does the new information system fit into the organization’s overall portfolio of information systems? Did it require integration with any other existing information system?
7 What backup and recovery plans were developed for the application in the event of system failure (i.e. how would the organization get the same business tasks accomplished)?
8 Were there issues associated with the project development/acquisition and implementation that generated disagreements within the organization’s project team? If so, how were the issues resolved?
9 Was any consideration given to whether the application could accommodate projected horizontal and/or vertical growth? Could it?
10 How were users and operators trained for the new system?
1 Who is responsible for system maintenance? Is there an ongoing maintenance and support plan?
2 Is the initial support contact for application done through the Help Desk?
3 How are fixes incorporated into the application? How is the security of fixes maintained?
4 Is there a release plan for subsequent releases? Are there enhancements and/or additional functions pending?
5 How are requests for change handled?
6 Is the database protected by logs and audit trails?
7 Are application users fully identified and authenticated before access is allowed?
8 Is the application included in a contingency or disaster recovery plan?
1 Who was (were) the executive sponsor(s) for the project?
2 Who were the real champions of the project? What motivated them?
3 Were there issues associated with the project development/acquisition and implementation that generated disagreements within the organization’s project team? If so, how were the issues dealt with?
MIS310 Database Management Systems
Description of the relevant information technologies
In this third assignment of the post-implementation review, student teams will describe the technical infrastructure of the information system project that is being studied (3-4 pages) by responding in detail to the following questions.
What hardware/operating system platform is being used for this application?
Describe the application architecture (centralized, distributed, client server) and infrastructure (2-tiered, 3-tiered).
If the application is an off-the-shelf package, what needs to be done to configure it to the target organization’s requirement
If the application runs at multiple sites for this organization, how are the individual versions kept in synchronization? If each of the multiple sites is localized (a separate version for each installation) how is the application configured to the individual site?
Are databases used in this application?
What database management system is used?
Is data from this application integrated with any of the organization’s other information systems?
If not, why isn’t it?
If yes, how is it accomplished?
How are data back-up requirements being addressed?
Is any part of this application integrated with any of the organization’s other information systems?
Which ones? How are they integrated?
If the subject application is completely separate, what is the reason it isn’t integrated with any of the organization’s other information systems?
What telecommunications or network components are being used for this application?
Is an intranet or extranet being used?
Does the application use the Internet?
Is there a firewall? What other protection is there for internet applications?
Are any special skills, training, or expertise necessary to use this application?
Does the organization staff have those skills and expertise?
If not, what actions have the organization taken to acquire them?
Does the organization have a formal process for tracking hardware, software, network and database components?
Bar coding hardware (RFID Tracking)
List of software licenses
Does the IT organization measure resource use and project capacity requirements as a planning issue?
MIS310 Database Management Systems
Assessment & Recommendations
In this section of the post-implementation review (3-5 pages), student teams will assess the success of the information system project they studied. The student teams need to address both the application product that has been developed or acquired and implemented, and the process of acquiring and/or developing and implementing the application. The student teams will complete their assessment and will offer recommendations by responding in detail to the following questions:
Was the development/acquisition/implementation process for this project a success? Please note: students must take an extremely critical approach to this question – they should evaluate this question from the following views:
How does the organization measure success?
By that measurement, was it a success?
Do you agree? If no, why not?
Did the business benefits justify the project cost? If no, why not?
In their own right, were project costs justified? Were costs commensurate with the results If no, why not?
Did the design, acquisition/development, and implementation processes work? Where were they flawed?
In hindsight, could the development/acquisition process have been done better? Were established procedures followed? Were new procedures defined.
Did the organization’s staff pick up new skills in the course of this project? What were they?
Does the information system enhance the performance of the organization’s business activities? Explain why or why not by answering the following queries.
How does it enhance these business activities (be as specific as possible – economic benefits, transactional benefits, customer service enhancements, product/service quality enhancements).
How well does the application system meet the organization’s need?
Does the application do the job it was designed to do?
Is the application used?
In the short term, is there competitive advantage derived from the organization’s new information system? How about the long term? Why or why not? Have recent events changed the situation?
What further improvements does the organization intend to make to this system? What further enhancements or additions have been indicated as follow-up projects? [Be descriptive here]
Are there further improvements that the organization should plan to make to this information system in order to improve its effectiveness and to reap greater benefits? [Be prescriptive here]
What improvements could/should the organization adopt to the way it engages in information systems development/acquisition and implementation, i.e. what larger lessons have been learned by you?
7 Is the organization’s outsourcing process effective? When they outsource IT work, are the results what they expected?
Did anything go wrong during the systems development process that should be corrected in the next project? (Explain)
MIS310 Database Management Systems
Post implementation Review Assignment
Final Consolidated Report
1 Report Content and Style
The final submission of the post implementation review (PIR) project consolidates all four of the preliminary submissions, incorporating the notes and suggestions made by the instructor. Each paragraph is written in narrative form. The total page count depends upon the content of the first four submissions.
Descriptions of events that have occurred, like the development of the application, or the success of the implementation should be written in past tense. Specific future plans should be written in the future tense, for example:
ABC, Inc. IT plans to contract ZYX Consulting to manage ERP Release 2. ZYX will be responsible for Release 2 testing and putting it into production.
Other references must always be written in the present tense.
The final report is evaluated on both content and presentation. If a team has any concerns about its ability to proofread its report for spelling, grammar and diction, I strongly recommend that you contact the Writing Center for assistance.
2 Report Organization
The report follows a standard business report organization. Sections and subsections are numbered by the decimal system. Major sections are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. Subsections within the major section are numbered 1.1, 1.2, 1.3,
1.4 etc. Minor subsections are numbered 1.1.1, 1.1.2, and 1.2.1, 1.2.2 etc.
A section or subsection gets a new number when there is a clear break from the prior section or subsection. Numbering helps the reader keep track of questions or comments on specific parts of the report.
There should be a cover page followed by a table of contents. Subsequent pages are numbered. Sections begin on a new page and are numbered as follows:
2 Executive Summary
3 Relevant Technologies/Technology Environment
4 Description of the Development or Acquisition and Implementation Process
5 Assessment of the Development/Acquisition and Implementation Process
The content and organization of each section is described in the following paragraphs.
3 Report Introduction (Section 1)
3.1 Why an Introduction?
An introduction has several purposes. It introduces the document with its subject matter. It introduces the author(s) and their ‘bona fides’ (their authority or background, why they are appropriate to write the document). It usually describes the why’s of the document, i.e. why it was written/why it was published. It can be used to list the sources of the information that drives the main document.
3.2 Who Needs an Introduction?
Every document of over two pages should have an introduction. The exceptions are documents that are accompanied by a transmittal memorandum that will never be separated from the document. The transmittal memorandum would carry the information that otherwise would go into the introduction. If the document may ever be received without the transmittal memorandum, it should have its own introduction.
3.3 Must an Introduction be a numbered section of the report?
In the case of the PIR Consolidated Report, yes. It must be Section One.
In general, though, it’s optional. I prefer it to be a numbered section. It can also be a preface, i.e., an unnumbered section that precedes Section 1. As a preface, its page numbers would be lower case Roman numerals. As Section 1, its page numbers would be standard Arabic numerals beginning with page one as the first page of the introduction.
3.4 What specifically does an Introduction contain?
The format of the material in this section is a suggestion. You don’t need to follow it rigorously. You do need to ensure that your introduction provides the same information in a reasonably organized manner.
The section on authors would introduce the authors (Review team) by name, identify their positions and their authorization to pursue the activity that resulted in this document.
Introductions often open with a section called “Purpose and Scope.” In this section, the author(s) describes what the document is, why the document was written, what purpose the document is designed to achieve, and what the document covers. In the case of the Post Implementation Review of an Information System, the purpose and scope might be described in this manner.
3.5 Introduction Table of Contents
1.1 Document Purpose and Scope
1.2 Document Description
(List each section and explain what’s in them.)
Relevant Technologies/The Technology Environment
The Development/Acquisition Process and Findings
5 Assessment and Recommendations
1.4 The Subject Organization and the Target Application
1.5 Sources of Information
4 Executive Summary (Section 2)
The Executive Summary should be the last section written. This is the only section that will be new. There should be enough information in the Executive Summary so a senior manager could read it and understand the main issues, what your conclusions are and why you came to those conclusions. It should summarize the contents of Sections 3, 4, and 5, addressing key findings, significant issues and your key conclusions. You must include enough background material, (Sections 3 and 4) to justify the conclusions that you draw in your Assessment (Section 5).
5 Sections 3, 4 and 5, Appendices, and Bibliography
Section 3, (Relevant Technologies and the Technology Environment); Section 4, (Description of the Development/Acquisition Process and Findings), and Section 5, (Assessment and Conclusions), of the consolidated PIR report should be the updated and corrected (if corrections or changes were suggested) submissions, for PIR Assignments two, three and four. These sections should require minimal rewriting. They will require section numbering.
The Appendix/Appendices should follow Section 5. Any documents that you wish to include should be in an Appendix, with each separate document being listed as Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C etc. The documents should include actual web pages referencing other software solutions to the issue solved by the target system. Web pages referenced in the body of the report should also be included in the appendices. The bibliography should follow the Appendices.
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