System Analysis Planning and Control

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MILESTONE 2 – PROBLEM ANALYSIS



Synopsis

T
here’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 system, whether computerized or manual or some of both. 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 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.

Second, you will develop a Context Diagram to begin to understand the proposed system and whether or not it is worth developing. A Context Diagram looks at the system as a whole and how it interacts with the world around it.

The third step in this milestone moves us from the problem analysis phase into the requirements analysis...

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