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IS 634 Structured Systems Analysis and Design (3 credits)

IS 634: Structured Systems Analysis & Design (3 credits)

This course is part of the UMBC Online Masters in Information Systems Degree Program. The purpose of this course is to describe the goals and purposes of all the activities involved in the analysis and design phases of a systems development project and to teach the specific techniques used to carry out those activities using a structured approach. No specific prerequisite knowledge is required, but students will be required to use a CASE tool to fulfill some of the learning objectives. However, the choice of CASE tool is up to the student.

All of the activities required to progress from the initial identification of an organizational problem to the design of an IT-based solution are covered, as well as specific techniques for carrying out those activities. The emphasis will be on both learning the mechanics of the techniques and applying them to real projects. Although students will be introduced to all the SDLC phases, this module includes content specific only to analysis and design. Thus, no implementation, testing, or maintenance techniques will be included. The student’s competency with these skills will be assessed with a variety of mechanisms, including a group project that involves the analysis and design of an actual information system, and submitting the products of analysis and design (diagrams, descriptions, analyses) to be assessed. Other assessments include an exam and discussion.

Course Content

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to apply structured techniques for analyzing the information system needs and problems of an organization, and then design solutions to those problems

  1. Introduction to systems analysis and design
    :  Describe the motivation behind structured systems analysis and design and the consequences of developing systems without this methodology, and the stages of the traditional waterfall and other systems development life cycle (SDLC) models, including iterative, agile, spiral, etc.
  2. Problem definition
    :  Explain how to define a systems analysis problem, given some informal description of an organizational situation, including problem and scope statements that clearly and unambiguously outline the implications and boundaries of the problem
  3. Analysis
    :  The student will learn how, given a well-defined systems analysis problem, to conduct a complete systems analysis, correctly applying structured systems analysis techniques.
    Specifically, the techniques learned and applied will include

    • efficient and thorough collection of information on user requirements using techniques such as interviewing, observation, surveys, prototyping, and analysis of organizational documents.
    • the construction and interpretation of the traditional products of structured systems analysis, including conceptual data models and data flow diagrams.
    • application of these traditional structured systems analysis techniques to a given collection of unstructured information regarding user requirements, resulting in a correct and comprehensive model of the organization’s current data management and processing.
    • application of techniques (such as walkthroughs and reviews) to evaluate a set of structured user requirements.
    • use of a CASE tool for some part of the analysis task.
  4. Systems Proposal
    Objective:  The student will learn how, given a well-defined problem and a complete systems analysis, to present to a customer a systems proposal that is judged (by the customer) sufficient to enable the customer’s decision concerning the choice of system alternative.
    Specifically, the following activities will be learned and demonstrated:

    • generation of at least three alternative solutions to the problem that all represent feasible and realistic solutions from the customer’s point of view.
    • a complete and useful (from the point of view of the customer) feasibility analysis that addresses economic, technical, and organizational issues, that compares the system alternatives.
    • a cost/benefit analysis that correctly and appropriately applies the following techniques: identification of tangible and intangible costs and benefits, identification of one-time and recurring costs and benefits, projection of costs and benefits over the expected lifetime of the system, calculation of net present value, quantification of risk reduction, cash flow analysis, return on investment, and break-even analysis.
    • a schedule analysis that correctly and appropriately uses work breakdown structures, Gantt charts, and/or PERT charts.
  5. Design
    :  The student will learn how to correctly apply structured design techniques to produce a complete design of an information system, given a complete systems analysis.
    Specifically, the techniques covered will include control flow diagramming, data flow diagramming, conceptual data modeling, and dialogue diagramming. The student will be able to use these techniques to

    • produce a system architecture design and use the architecture to identify the components of the system to be designed.
    • produce useful and usable (from the point of view of the customer) designs for the input and output interfaces of a system.
    • design an appropriate and usable user interface paradigm for a system.
    • plan an effective usability assessment to evaluate the design of a user interface.
    • conduct a thorough design review.
    • use a CASE tool for some part of the design task.

CO-requisite: IS 607.