CIS 510 W1D1 The Systems Development Life Cycle

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The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)”  Please respond to the following:

Compare the six (6) core processes in the SDLC. Give your opinion on which one you believe is the least important in developing software, and explain why. Give your opinion on which one you believe is the most important in developing software, and explain why.

Ascertain what you believe is the most significant difference between agile development techniques and traditional development techniques. Justify your response.

The six core processes in the SDLC are:

1.Identify the problem or need and obtain approval to proceed.

2.Plan and monitor the project—what to do, how to do it, and who does it.

3.Discover and understand the details of the problem or the need.

4.Design the system components that solve the problem or satisfy the need.

5.Build, test, and integrate system components.

6.Complete system tests and then deploy the solution.

I believe that each process is equally important and must work in tandem in a software development project. The first process is important because it is in order to solve a problem you must first identify it and gain authorization to work on a solution. The team or person that identifies the problem may not always be the team with jurisdiction to solve it. Next a plan must be created, and tasks must be delegated. Delegation creates accountability so that tasks are not left undone, or done multiple times unnecessarily, causing waste.  Thirdly, the details of the problem or need must be understood. If they are not thoroughly understood, software reaches final development and has not met all of the needs of the end user. In the next process of the SDLC, the design that will satisfy the need is created. This is the first developmental step after the planning process so some consider it the most important, but he who fails to plan, plans to fail. This design is like a rough draft to a paper because the next process is to test the design. Testing is important because you catch any flaws in the design. With software, there are going to be flaws such as programming errors that would allow viruses to exploit data that would need to be found and corrected before the software goes into a production environment. It should also be tested for compatibility, ease of use, and to be sure it solves the need it was created to solve. Lastly, complete system tests and deploy. Deployment is the end goal of a project, however you do not want to deploy software that has not gone through the rest of the SDLC because it could have flaws and leave end users with a bad feeling about your product and company.

The most significant difference between agile development techniques and traditional development is that agile development, “emphasizes flexibility to anticipate new requirements during development”. Traditional development defines a project scope as clearly as possible and discourages project creep, “projects expanding gradually, without specific authorization”, and sees it as a risk to a project.

Satzinger, Jackson, Burd. (11/2011). Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 6e, 6th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://strayer.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305561786/

Shelly, G., & Rosenblatt, H. (2012). System analysis and design. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Week 2 Discussion

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“Gathering System Requirements”  Please respond to the following:

According to the textbook, one of the toughest problems in investigating systems requirements is ensuring that they are complete and comprehensive. Imagine that you are a systems analyst. Decide the primary way in which you would ensure that you secure the necessary information during an interview session with a client.

Devise a plan for accommodating conflicting responses for the same procedure from two (2) different people you interviewed.

The primary way that I would ensure that I secure the necessary information is to prepare interview questions ahead of the time based on the information needed. The interviewee knows about the industry or field in which they operate and. They do not work in development. That is where I am the expert and must ask the appropriate questions and follow-up questions to gather the information that I need to complete my tasks. I have to ensure that they know the pros and cons of what they are asking for, other options they may consider, and possible cost associated with the chosen option. If there is more than one user to be interviewed for a single client, there can be conflicting responses because each user has a unique vantage point. Accommodating conflicting responses may require a group interview. Interviewing multiple parties can get costly. Technology has made it possible to conduct face to face interviews without the need for massive travel budgets. Today many face to face meetings, particularly for large groups, can be conducted via video chat. Interviewing all parties involved at the same time can prevent the conflicting responses by allowing a consensus to be met without the developer having to act as the go between. 

This could include the need for a JAD, or joint application development team. “JAD is a popular fact-finding technique that brings users into the development process as active participants” (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2012). 

Shelly, G., & Rosenblatt, H. (2012). System analysis and design. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Week 3 Discussion

“Use Case Description versus Activity Diagram”  Please respond to the following:

Compare a use case description and an activity diagram. Devise a scenario in which you would use a case description, and devise a scenario in which you would use an activity diagram.

Consider a system needed to store information about computers in a computer lab at a university, such as the features and location of each computer. Ascertain the domain classes that might be included within the domain model. Discuss whether or not you believe an entity-relationship diagram (ERD) would be a suitable model.

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A use case description is a brief, often one sentence text description of a use case while an activity diagram is a graphically organized representation of information. For example, we could take the assignment that we did last week and write out a use case description for each step in the order fulfillment process. Likewise, we could create a use case diagram showing how the user would interact at each step in the process. Use case descriptions and activity diagrams are both important and an analyst should be familiar with creating and interpreting both in order to communicate effectively. 

An ERD is the best way to show data entities and their relationships. Relationships can be complex and multifaceted. An ERD can show parent-child relationships, and the domain, class, and attributes of each entity.This allows a user to see subclasses, inheritance, and superclasses. 

Week 4 Discussion

“Comparing Approaches ”  Please respond to the following:

Outline the primary ways in which the traditional approach to modeling a use case differs from an object-oriented approach. Develop a scenario in which you would use the traditional approach over the object-oriented approach, and explain your reasons why.

Analyze the difference between a use case and a scenario. Give a specific example of a use case with at least two (2) possible scenarios.

Week 5 Discussion

  • The traditional and object oriented approaches to system development differ in how a system’s response to an event is modeled and implemented. The traditional approach views a system as a collection of processes. Processes interact with data entities accepting inputs to produce outputs. The object oriented approach views a system as a collection of interacting objects. Objects interact with people and with each other by sending and receiving messages. The traditional method is preferred when a process remains relatively unchanged for each input. For example, in the assignment we completed for week 2 we presented error handling for an order fulfillment system. The process remains the same for each item ordered. A cross functional workflow diagram is a good way to the order fulfillment process. This is a scenario in which I would choose the traditional approach over the object oriented approach because the items being sold are not objects interacting with people and each other; they are simply traveling through the order process.
  • A use case is an activity that a system performs, usually in response to a request by a user. A scenario, sometimes called a use case instance, is a unique set of internal activities within a use case and represents a unique path through the use case. A use case that I think we can all relate to would be majoring in MSIS at Strayer University. Two of the six possible scenarios would be choosing a concentration in Computer Forensic Management or a concentration in IT Project Management.
  • Satzinger, Jackson, Burd. (11/2011). Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 6e, 6th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://strayer.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305561786/

“User Interfaces”  Please respond to the following:

Consider at least two (2) software products that you use or have used in the past. Provide at least two (2) examples in which ease of learning conflicted with ease of use. Propose a solution to the conflicts that you have indicated. Justify your response.

Examine at least two (2) instances where security conflicted with ease of use. Propose a solution to the conflicts you have indicated. Provide a rationale for your response.

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While I was in school completing my B.S. in I.S. I worked in a retail pharmacy setting. During that time we converted to a new software called Enterprise Rx. Enterprise Rx was much different than the PDx system we were familiar with. It was a Window’s based software application therefore it was easy to use, however learning it was not as easy for most of the pharmacist and technicians. There were many training sessions in an off-site classroom as well as on-site training from associates who had experience with the new software . Enterprise Rx utilized a queuing system that was unavailable on PDx. The queuing system allows each user to concentrate on one part of the filling process. Each person on the team would be responsible for 1-2 queues within the workflow. It also allowed users to make notes about each prescription that could be seen by anyone else on the system. This streamlined the filling process for each of our retail locations. The initial process of learning the system was difficult because you have to remember to toggle between queues to finish one prescription, particularly in stores where there was not enough staff for each person to man only 1-2 queues. 

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  • After graduation, I was promoted to corporate with the same retail company. I worked in  the data center doing incident management. There were Knowledge Articles and Problem Determination guides that gave instructions for solving and promoting incidents to the appropriate team. The software was easy to learn but not always easy to use because the guides came from two different places and often did not integrate properly, would have different instructions or different teams listed on the KA and PD. We would often receive emails from a team that the incident was handled inappropriately when the truth is the documentation was wrong, inconsistent, or out of date. This was not caused by the software itself, but by the separation of duties requiring the teams writing their individual KAs to be separate from the group updating the PDs that our team accessed. This error was not resolved until such time as I left that company.
  • The above example also serves as an example of a time when security prevented ease of access. If each team responsible for updating KAs could access the PD guides and update those as well to provide consistent data, it would improve the ease of use.
  • Security preventing ease of use was also an issue in pharmacy and health care in general. HIPAA requires patient information remain private; anyone working in the pharmacy including the IT professionals must be HIPAA trained. In a retail setting store managers, who often try to make decisions to appease customers for service sake, are not HIPAA trained and most times are unaware of the laws that govern retail pharmacies that often make customers’ requests impossible to achieve. I have encountered this problem most frequently when filling controlled substances.   

Week 6 Discussion

“Predictive versus Adaptive SDLC”  Please respond to the following:

Analyze predictive SDLC versus adaptive SDLC. Ascertain at least two (2) advantages and two (2) disadvantages of each approach. Provide a rationale for your response.

Determine whether you would rather be part of a project that used predictive SDLC or adaptive SDLC. Justify your response.

“A predictive approach to the SDLCpredictive approach to the SDLC assumes that the development project can be planned and organized and that the new information system can be developed according to the plan. Predictive SDLCs are useful for building systems that are well understood and defined.” One advantage to this approach is that the steps are laid out and everyone is aware of their tasks before doing them. This approach is best used for upgrading or implementing systems that are rather routine and predictable. Another advantage is that the predictive approach is well documented and works well with project management tools. The consequences of this method is that changes can be costly, particularly in the later phases. In  addition, users may find it difficult to express their requirements before seeing models and examples of what is possible.

“An adaptive approach to the SDLCadaptive approach to the SDLC is used when the system’s requirements and/or the users’ needs aren’t well understood. In this situation, the project can’t be planned completely. Some system requirements may need to be determined after preliminary development work.” One advantage to the adaptive approach is that it is flexible and efficient in dealing with change. It stresses team interaction. Secondly, frequent deliverables allow for constant validation of the system during all phases of development  which mitigates risk. Consequently, the adaptive approach is subject to scope creep. It also requires team members to be in constant communication.

I would  prefer to work on a project with a blended approach. “Although most projects utilize one of these approaches, it is not unusual for system developers to mix and match methods to gain a better prospective”. A balanced approach allows for development that is flexible while maintaining structure that prevents the scope of the project from spiraling out of control. 

Satzinger, Jackson, Burd. (11/2011). Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 6e, 6th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://strayer.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305561786/

 

Shelly, G., & Rosenblatt, H. (2012). System analysis and design. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Week 7 Discussion

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“Traditional versus Object-Oriented Design”  Please respond to the following:

Compare the object-oriented approach to design to the traditional approach. Give your opinion on whether or not you believe there are certain projects where one design approach might be better that the other. If so, provide an example of one (1) such project. If not, explain why not.

Give your opinion on which approach discussed in Part 1 of this discussion you believe is easier for you to understand, and explain why.

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Object oriented design is a process by which a set of detailed object-oriented design models are built and then used by the programmers to write and test the new system. Systems design is the bridge between user requirements and programming the new system. One strength of the object-oriented approach is that the design models are often just extensions of the requirements models. Obviously, it is much easier to extend an existing model than to create entirely new design models. However, it is a good practice to create design models and not just jump into coding. Just as a builder doesn’t build something larger than a doghouse or a shed without a set of blueprints, a system developer would never try to develop a large system without a set of design models. Traditional design methods are based on models that are processed centered instead of user centered centered. Object oriented systems are user centered and are developed with user requirements and ease of use as the main focus rather than the development process. Because of increased human-computer interaction, most systems are designed using object oriented methods versus traditional methods and concentrate on the user interface. The graphical user interface or GUI is what most user think about when they think of an object oriented system because it is the part of the system that is customer facing. A good GUI makes increases ease of use for customers. 

The modern, user centered, object oriented design approach is easier for me to understand because the transition was already in place as I began learning about system design. Although I learned the traditional approach as well, object oriented programs had been in widespread use most of my adult life and therefore it was easier to comprehend the technology and organization behind them. I believe that anything that  increases the ease of use in technology is a service to the community because there are still many people that are lacking basic computer skills. 

Satzinger, Jackson, Burd. (11/2011). Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World, 6e, 6th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://strayer.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305561786/

 

Shelly, G., & Rosenblatt, H. (2012). System analysis and design. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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