There once was a rich and powerful sultan; this sultan had a daughter who was the most beautiful princess in all the land. Upon her 18th birthday, as is customary in that place and time, the sultan announced that he would be accepting suitors for his daughter's hand in marriage. The young noblemen in the country had been awaiting this announcement. For not only was the daughter desirable as a wife, but the suitor selected would one day rule the kingdom as sultan himself. But first, to be selected as a husband, the suitor had to hold an audience with the sultan and his daughter.
Noblemen came from far and wide to try to earn the daughter's hand in marriage. Suitor after suitor would meet with the sultan and his daughter. To the Sultan all suitors seemed like upstanding gentlemen, with proud and noble backgrounds, yet each suitor, one-by-one, declined the sultan's offer to wed his daughter without specifying a reason.
After the nineteenth suitor turned down the sultan's offer, the sultan began to wonder, what is wrong with my daughter? He thought to himself, does she have some flaw or defect I have not noticed? Do people think she is ugly? Do people think she is unintelligent? Could she be boring? That night the sultan thought long and hard about what the issue must be. The sultan had always been very, some might say overly, proud of his daughter and the thought that she may be flawed or undesirable was unacceptable. He resolved that he would make a point to study her the next time a prospective suitor came calling, identify the reason, and address her flaw.
A few days later he got his chance. The suitor who came calling was intelligent, handsome, and emanated from a well-established and well-respected family – the perfect suitor for the sultan's beautiful daughter. The three met. The king noticed the meeting was going splendidly. He also noticed no flaws in his daughter's appearance or actions. At the end of the meeting the suitor announced his intentions to leave indicating (as the previous nineteen suitors had before him) that he was declining the sultan's offer to marry his daughter.
Distraught, the sultan ran after the suitor and asked "Please tell me, what is wrong with my daughter that you do not wish to marry her? What is her flaw?" The suitor paused, and after some hesitation replied "It is not her flaws that dissuaded me. It is yours.
Moral: The sultan had assumed that his daughter had a problem and that the problem related to some attribute of hers. In reality, the problem stemmed from the sultan's own flaws. The sultan did not properly identify what the problem was or even to whom the problem belonged, assuming he knew it had to relate to his daughter. However, ultimately the problem turned out to be related to the sultan himself. When we embark upon the systems analysis process, it is important to identify what is the problem and who has a problem, as often it is not apparent, and sometimes it can even be that of the problem solver's themselves. This realization is essential if we ever expect to devise a solution that will address requirements and ultimately solve the problem at hand.
These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.