I'm getting ready to start a project in my Software Engineering class and I've been assigned the role of Analyst. I will be contacting the "company" to begin the process. If Im remembering my System Analysis class correctly I need to come up with some good questions to ask the "company" in order to start with the diagrams and flow charts prior to coding. The program will be developed in Java and use Oracle.
Im wanting to try and cover all possible issues with the initial meeting to ease the process of structuring this thing out. This is the entire project. This is all I was given:
Re: Program Help-Simulation
Not the questions I would ask but the thoughts I would process prior to that meeting. The questions themselves will drop out of the following initial thoughts.
What you need to find out about is anything that prevents you delivering the project given just the above starting information. It's likely to be an iterative process with a number of meetings along the way so make sure your client is aware of that and will not be fazed when you come back with more questions along the way. It is an absolute certainty that you will not get everything you need at the first meeting.
Make sure the customer knows you have it all under control and agree on some initial *estimated* dates for various stages of the project, e.g. first prototype, first delivery, and make sure you understand the business framework in which this is operating, e.g. when do they absolutely have to have v1 of the poduct? Make sure they understand what feature creep is and that any additional features requested will have an effect on the dates agreed. Prioritise the features needed and implement the most important ones first.
Also make sure you can discuss the application behaviour with the plebs that'll be using it. It's a huge mistake for managers to think they can specify the system without reference to the users. For example the replacement for the Heathrow Air Traffic Control system was designed by managers and came in massively late and massively over budget because when the plebs got their hands on it they found it was completely useless. Can you find any other real world projects that highlight potential problems with the approach taken by your customer?
It could be a good idea to sketch out the data flow and make sure that agrees with the customer's understanding of what will happen. Also worth sketching out are any processes that need following - business processes, that sort of stuff.
Also have a go at some user interfaces and see what the customer thinks. There's obviously going to be an order detail screen with some customer details, a best finish time, late finish date, finishing late penalty and some other stuff you may be able to determine from the above spec. This will help the customer think of other stuff they may have missed out. Why would there be a penalty for finishing early? Do they think such a penalty would be paid? (Anyone with any sense would just procrastinate to avoid the penalty so what business reasons would they have for a completed project NOT being delivered before a specific date?)
What other screens will there be? Knowing who needs to do what with the application is key to this.
Each screen will suggest database implications. Can a screen pretty much match up to a table? Do screen links suggest database links (e.g. primary/foreign keys, lookup tables, ...) What other tables might be needed?
Re: Program Help-Simulation
Thanks so much for that! I hope you read this!! I sent your EXACT email to my whole team to help brainstorm this interview in the morning! You have helped me sir and for that I am in your debt!! Thanks again!
This is what I have so far! I am going to incorporate what you have posted into the process as well. Some of it with the charts may have to come with the second interview or SHOULD THEY BE INCLUDED IN THE INITIAL (VERY FIRST) MEETING? I dont have a clue on that. Here is what I have! Feel free to give more ideas or suggestions!
1. What is your goal after system implementation?
a.What are the strategic objectives that will be supported by our system?
b.What are the transactions the system will process?
2.What’s the skill set of the users?
a.Will management need different information than standard users?
3.What does the user want the system do?
4.Will the new system interface with legacy systems?
a.What system do you have in place?
5.What version of Oracle do you want used?
a.(If Oracle Enterprise 11g is used option for OLAP )
6.What security issues exist?
7.How many computers will the system be installed on?
a.Do you need a logon code?
b.Do you need network security?
c.What types of systems are being used?
d.What extent are these systems integrated with each other?
e.Are there systems used outside of the organization?
8.What role do you envision you [or your company] partaking of during this process?
9.How periodically do you want updates?
1. What kind of scheduling policies do you have?
2. Do certain policies have precedence?
3.Do you want the policy info in the database to allow for additional policies in the future?
1. What type of product are you delivering?
2.Does the product vary in size? (Delivery time change with size?)
3.Does your delivery method vary per product?
What type of information about the inventory will you be storing?
a.(Ask questions about inventory to determine fields for GUI and tables)
b.(How they want the inventory displayed?)
1.Is there going to be a cap on how much inventory you want to keep in the system?
2.Do you need a search function for the database?
What type of reports do you need generated?
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