System Development Life Cycle Simulation

Monday, March 15, 2010

System Development Life Cycle Simulation

What is management's role in the SDLC?

 The management role could be portrayed as the relationship that the project manager has with rest of team. This relationship is based on the integration of group activities. The project manager is responsible for creating and integrating the project plan, executing and making the appropriate changes in cases the activities deviate from the projected path.

 “Project managers may have increasing responsibility, but very little authority.  This lack of authority can force them to “negotiate” with upper management as well as functional management for control of the company resources” (Harold Kerzner, p.11, 2006).  Project managers work as traffic controllers between the different actors that conforms the project.  This relationship between project team, senior management, customer’s organization and/or internal organization have to be managed with profound cleverness to maintain a balance between all the participants.  It is essential to have excellent communication skills to able to interact with diverse layers of the organization. To negotiate, control, communicate, analyze that the project is in the correct track is basically one of daily functions. In addition, the project manager needs to be sure that the project is in time, within budget, customer’s requirements are met, and take actions if a delay occurs with risk analysis and contingency plan, make sure the documentation and proper testing is complete in order to deliver a good quality product.

Why does project planning usually come before analysis and design?

 The reason that project planning comes before analysis and design is because they are major responsibilities for the project manager, therefore these tasks are the first milestones in the project plan.  Planning will ensure that every resource, task definition, schedules (timetable milestone), documentation, analysis, design and quality are measured with systematic standards, which will enlighten the path for the application to success.  It is one the most important steps on the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), because will represent the ability of the project manager to include all the components into a timetable document, where every task alone will not formed a single concept, they will be integrated to create a functional application.

 What are the methodologies commonly used for requirements elicitation?

 There are many methods to gather requirements, the most common are: interviews, questionnaires, conversation, and interaction with users. Some companies have standard ways of capturing requirement, for example my company utilizes a Kaisen event, where all the parties that they need to be involve into project (stake holders, owners, users, developer, DBA, business analyst, application support, etc), meet for a period of time to analyze and discuss all aspects of the system.  This group reviews all documents and asks all necessary questions to ensure that every requirement is captured, properly stored and documented.

 How can a prototype be used?

 Important processes could be created based on existent requirements.  The main idea behind this concept is to be completely sure that those groups of requirements should do or control what they are supposed to.  When a prototyping model is develop, the customer-owner input is necessary to confirm that the requirements are align with the expected results.  In case that additional change takes place or new requirement needs to be added, should be easy to adapt it to the prototype because the model is already built.
 “Prototyping can be an excellent tool for the Business Analyst to use as a communication vehicle for both subject matter experts and technical architects. Give the end user of the system an idea of how it will look. Helps the BA and Subject Matter Expert to clarify their mutual understanding of the recommendation” (B2Ttraing Manual, p.196, 2007)

 What are some metrics that can be used during the SDLC? List the applicable metrics and the steps in which metrics are used.

  The main metric to follow is the project plan, which contains detailed information about the entire project.  Most project manager track their projects using weekly meeting and daily status report.  It is important to check for task dependencies, which ensure that task is completed in order to start a new one. It is necessary to be sure those requirements are completed to start new ones, to avoid bugs and unusual behavior on the systems.  If those preexisting conditions are not satisfied, the project could deviate of the original plan.  Some companies have a standard at the time of presenting their metrics. For example in my company, the metrics are based on statistic and could be summarized on a table that contains: task, expected completion time, man hours, cost, person responsible, number of bugs, task dependencies, etc.
 
What are some reasons systems fail?

 Poor planning is the main reason that influences a system to fail.  When the project manager cannot have a proper vision of how the system is going to be completed; and do not have the skills necessary to allocate all the resources in a way that progress can be measure, then the problem ahead could not be avoided.  Poor planning accompanied of bad requirements makes a dangerous combinations that could trigger delays of delivery time, budget increase and a unify consent of frustration; the application is perceived as waste and tension level on the team members is on rise.  Other factors like not having a proper channel of communication could lead the project to a disastrous end. It is important that team members communicate properly with each other, and any concern or question should not left without a proper answer.  To have a clear channel between project managers, stake holders, business analyst, developers and tester is crucial to ensure the success of the project, because helps to deliver a integrated systems.

References
Harold Kerzner. (2006). Project Management. A System Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Control., (pg. 11). Retrieved March 14, 2010.
B2ttraining. (2007). Essential Skills for the Business Analyst. Prototyping, (pg. 196). Retrieved March 14, 2010.