Planning and stakeholder involvement

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System Fundamentals[1]

How are systems planned? Are systems just thrown into the users face without any planning? Who should we talk with as we plan a new system? What questions should we ask users, IT administrators, and finance stakeholders as we plan a new system?


SL version

A stakeholder is a person with an interest or concern in something especially a business[2]. A stakeholder is someone who might be:

  • Using a system
  • Supporting a system
  • Realizing benefits from a system.
  • The organization or person paying for the system

You must be careful to identifyProvide an answer from a number of possibilities. Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature. all the possible relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders will have different needs and desires. When you are planning a system, you need to account for the different needs and desires of different stakeholders. There are often stakeholder groups, or group of people within an organization who have similar needs and desires. A system must meet the need of the stakeholders who use it. We will work through two different examples to help you understand this idea.

The role of an end-user must be considered when planning a new system [3]

HL version

In addition to the material above, you should know and understand it is helpful to think of a stakeholder as a customer. A customer is a person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business[4]

There are two different types of customers:

Internal customers: people inside the company who will be using the new system External customers people outside the company who will be using the new system

The big idea here is there are many different types of stakeholders, and you need to carefully understand WHO might be using a system and WHAT ROLE they have interacting and using your system.


Real-world practical advice

You should always be nervous when there is more than one person in charge of a project. We call this double-headed management, and it is very dangerous because you may get two very different specifications about the system. It is always a good idea to have only one single person who describes what a system should do. In project management, we call this a "senior customer" or a "senior user".

Do you understand this material?

Imagine you are the chief information officer for a company. The company wants to plan a system that keeps track of employees, their birthdays, salaries, and date the employee was hired. What are ten questions you would ask as you plan this system? It may be helpful to review this wikipedia entry which discusses context analysis.


Please consider the following examples, and answer the questions:

Example 1

This is a simple example:

A small business wants to plan a new system. The new system is a computer kiosk inside the store which allows customers to sign up for a email newsletter. If a customer signs up for a newsletter inside the store, they will get a 10% discount on their first purchase at the store. The owner hopes this 10% discount will be an incentive for customers to sign up for the email newsletter. The business will then regularly email the customers special offers and savings. The business owner expects to benefit from this system by having increased sales. The customers expect to benefit from this system by having access to special offers, to save money, and to see what is new and trendy at their store.

Question 1: ListGive a sequence of brief answers with no explanation. the stakeholders we should consult when planning this new system. Be careful, as there is a hidden stakeholder group that is not mentioned here!

Question 2: InferDeduce reason from premises to a conclusion. Listen or read beyond what has been literally expressed. from the example what questions should be asked of each stakeholder group.

Do you have an advanced understanding of this material?

Example 2

This is a complex example:

A school of 900 students wants to plan a new system. The school hopes the new system is a secure web-based application which manages attendance data. The school administrators want to carefully track attendance for the students so it can identifyProvide an answer from a number of possibilities. Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature. when students have been absent for a customizable threshold. For example, the school might set a threshold of 5 absences within 30 days, which then automatically notifies the student, parent, and teacher there is a problem with attendance. The threshold might be 3 times within 10 days, or something like that. The system should keep track of attendance and tardies. The system should have customizable attendance codes. For example, "abscence for school trip", "excused abscence", "medical abscence" are all allowed abscence codes.

School administrators expect to benefit by having data about attendance so they can support students and parents to be in school. School administrators also expect to benefit by giving parents and students information about attendance (so parents can support their children to be in school). Finally, school adinistrators expect to benefit by using attendance data to applyUse an idea, equation, principle, theory or law in relation to a given problem or issue. for government funding (as they can prove how many students were in class on a specific day).

Parents expect to benefit by knowing when their children are in school or miss school. This way parents can support their children to be in school. Being in school is a shared value that the school hopes the parents share.

Students expect to benefit by understanding how many days of school of they have missed. The school expects students to have a strong "ownership of learning" and manage their attendance.


Question 1: ListGive a sequence of brief answers with no explanation. the stakeholders we should consult when planning this new system. Be careful, as there is a hidden stakeholder group that is not mentioned here!

Question 2: InferDeduce reason from premises to a conclusion. Listen or read beyond what has been literally expressed. from the example what questions should be asked of each stakeholder group.

Standards

  • IdentifyProvide an answer from a number of possibilities. Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature. the contextThe circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. for which a new system is planned.
  • IdentifyProvide an answer from a number of possibilities. Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature. the relevant stakeholders when planning a new system.

References

  1. http://www.flaticon.com/
  2. New Oxford American Dictionary (Second Edition)
  3. IB Computer Science Subject Guide
  4. New Oxford American Dictionary (Second Edition)