Systems Design

Weekly Schedule


1 Introduction to Design

2 Information Engineering

3 Introduction to the Design Problem

4 Project Proposal (Milestone #1)

5 System Analysis (Milestone #2)

6 Implementation of Systems

7 E-R Modelling (Milestone #3)


9 Detailed System Proposals (Milestone #4)

10 Systems Outputs (Milestone #5)

11 Systems Inputs and User Interface (Milestone #6)

12 System Procedures, Controls, Coding (Milestone #7)

13 Program Design and Structured Walk Through (Milestone #8)

14 Training and User Documentation (Milestone #9)

15 Testing and Implementation Plan (Milestones #10 & #11)

16 Final Presentations and Demo (Milestone #12)

Final Exam

Instructions for the Thompson Case

1. Assume that Thompson has been recently taken over by a large Pet Food Chain - Elgins. Elgins has retained Mr. Thompson as the Chief Executive.

2. Elgins wants to use the Thomson facilities for a major expansion of its activities in this region. Towards this end they have instructed Mr. Thompson to undertake a mojor overhaul of the information systems in the company. Financing is not a major problem, however, IS projects will be evaluated and approved after assessing the alternatives and feasibility.

3. Elgin wants Thompson's systems and procedures to be streamlined in line with the best practices in the industry. They also also want to create a web presence and look into the e-commerce technologies. For this purpose Thompson has invited major consulting vendors to study their environment and submit proposals. Your team is one of the few consultants invited to submit a proposal.

4. Besides problems mentioned in the case, Thompson's auditors have listed several areas of concern in their report. These include:

A. Delays in returning rejected materials to vendors.

B. Lack of proper systems to deal with materials returned by customers for damage and other reasons.

C. Mix up of accepted and defective materials in the warehouse.

D. Significant delays in fulfilling customer orders.

E. Lack of standardization in the choice of packing boxes and lack of a proper systems to identify suitable box size for each order.

F. Problems in materials accounting, materials planning, inventory control, and purchasing areas.

Main Milestones in the Systems Design Case

1. Project Proposal

2. Systems Analysis and Requirements Definition

3. E-R Modelling

4. Detailed System Proposal

5. System Outputs

6. Systems Inputs and User Interface

7. Systems Procedures, Controls & Coding Schemes

8. Program Design and Structured Walkthrough

9. Training and Documentation

10. Implementation Plan

11. Testing

12. Final Design Reports and Systems Demo

Main Milestones in the Systems Design Case

1. Project Proposal (10-12 excluding resumes)


Executive summary

Provide an overview of the main problem/Problem definition

How IS/overall systems design can be helpful in providing a solution

What does your company recommend - what would you do - how much would it cost, deliverables, milestones, time schedule

Preliminary feasibility

Summary of project team qualifications and experience

Project team - resumes

2. Systems Analysis and Requirements Definition

Summary of problem definition, identify scope

Critical success factors and procesing requirements for each area

Detailed functional and process decomposition for each area, including batch, online, and manual processes

Context diagram showing system boundary, external entities and data flows representing their interfaces with the system

Event Process Chain (EPC) for selected processes

Describe business policies and procedures for the information system

Processing requirements and business constraints

Enterprise model, list of entities (objects and events)

Preliminary entity to elementary process matrix

Preliminary entity to (all) process matrix

3. E-R Modeling

Detailed E-R model consisting of a normalized set of relations

User views, indexes

Data dictionary documenting data elements and data structures

Updated process decomposition

Updated matrices

4. Detailed System Proposal

The system proposal must include:

Cover letter

Executive summary

A section describing existing major problems, needs and opportunities associated with the current information processing situation

A section describing the proposed systems solutions, presenting general logical approaches and comparing several alternative physical implementations of these approaches

A section devoted to your recommendation for a course of action addressing and comparing the feasibility of alternative solutions

Also provide:

Hierarchy chart and EPCs for the proposed system

Normalized E-R Model

Hardware/software specification and location

Database design

Data dictionary with data validation rules

Business rules

5. Systems Outputs


Identify data flows appearing on your DFDs that must be designed as computer outputs

Define output technical design requirements in an expanded project dictionary

Document the format for the system's display and printed outputs

Generate samples of outputs using realistic or reasonable data for verification by users.

6. Systems Inputs and User Interface


Identify data flows appearing on your DFDs that must be designed as computer inputs

Define input design requirements and record these in an expanded project dictionary

Design source documents that are simple for users to complete when capturing input data

Document the format for batch and on-line computer inputs

Generate samples of source documents and input screens using realistic or reasonable data for verification by users


Sketch a template that ensures that all screens are designed to appear consistent and familiar to users

Plan and coordinate the sequencing and variations of terminal dialogue screens to be viewed by users

Design the format of the terminal dialogue screens for your on-line system

Generate sample screens of your system's terminal dialog

7. System Procedures, Controls and Coding Schemes


Document the sequence and flow of computer processing for your system

Include internal control methods for data capture, editing and correction

Processing Controls

Include interval control methods for backup and recovery of files and data bases

Include programs for file maintenance

Design appropriate codes for classifying various products and transactions

8. Programs Design and Structured Walkthrough


Identify programs requiring detailed packaging

Factor your programs into manageable modules

Develop processing specifications for each program module

Assemble the input, output, file, terminal dialogue and processing specifications of each program for presentation to computer programmers for implementation

9. User Documentation and Training

User documentation: user manuals, procedure manuals and training module documentation

Develop a training program which will include pretraining analysis, training delivery and post-training evaluation

Manpower needed for the system

Education, experience and training needs for each user

Office layout and office automation

10. Implementation Plan


Impact study

Software conversion and conversion methods

System review and evaluation (technical audit, user critique and management review)

For system support

Analyze change requirements (identify changes, develop work plan and analyze costs and benefits)

Modify system (review details and changes, prepare program changes, test changes, revise program documentation and manuals

Implement changes (review for acceptance, train personnel, introduce modifications)

Users' resistance to change - impact study and suggested recommendations to deal with it

11. Testing

Test from the bottom up

Module or "stub" testing

Program testing

Link testing

System testing

Acceptance testing

Develop test data

Make it work

Make it fail

Questionnaire for User Satisfaction Summary

12. Final Project Report

Write a formal technical professional report that organizes your system documentation

Update DFDs if needed

Include final DFDs

Include, in appendices, all outputs from the previous stages (e.g., E-R Model, input design, output design, etc.)

Discuss benefits, future directions for the system

Review needs for the system

Position your systems design in the context of overall business/system design for this organization

Provide an outline of MIS plan for this organization

Discuss how "re-engineering" should be applied in this organization. Identify critical success factors, key processes, and important IS projects to help guide the future re-engineering efforts


Team Number Being Rated

Milestone Number


Please rate the entire team on the following dimensions. Use the following scoring scale:

10 - excellent

9 - very good

8 - good

7 - fair

6 - below expectations

5 - poor quality

4 - unacceptable work

3 - total failure

1. Style and form (appearance of presentation, dress,

eye contact, delivery). (20%)

2. Quality of materials used in presentation.


3. Success in communicating and explaining the design,

rationale for design choices, answering querries from the audience. (30%)

4. Quality of design produced.