Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
The Seven Little Lambs

Once upon a time there were seven little lambs. After surviving a traumatic experience where the bad wolf wanted to eat them, they decided to change lifestyle and work for a catering company called "Snow White's Apples." The company was owned by the Big Bad Wolf, a fact that raised suspicions in the seven little lambs but, finally, they decided to give him one more change hoping that as the CEO of the catering company he would have enough money to buy food and he would not want to eat them again. One sunny morning, the Little Red Riding Hood came to the company and asked the Big Bad Wolf to assign to his employees the project of preparing a picnic basket for her grandmother's birthday. The Big Bad Wolf assigned the project to the seven little lambs. Because that was their first project, the seven little lambs got very excited and decided to fill the basket with all the nice types of food they could think of. So, they put inside grass…and since they could not think of another favorite food they put more grass and …more grass. The Little Red Riding Hood came the next day to pick up the basket and immediately went to the picnic place where her grandmother was waiting. She asked her grandmother to close her eyes, light a candle, put it on the food and asked her grandmother to make a wish and blow it. Unfortunately, the Little Red Riding Hood had never bothered to check what was in the basket because she trusted completely the Big Bad Wolf's catering company. The grandmother blew the candle but the fire spread to the grass and then the basket and then the forest. Next day, the city sued the "Snow White's Apples" catering company and the seven little lambs went to prison because the Big Bad Wolf held them the only responsible for the incident. As for the Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, they sued the company for psychological damage and with the money they got they went to visit the Sleeping Beauty who had by then woken up and was giving a Christmas party.

Moral: System requirements is a very important phase and the client should be involved too. Clients should be consulted throughout a systems analysis project. Always check the system before using it. Top management should be involved in the company's projects to avoid harmful consequences at the end. Proper training should be required from systems developers. Having many consultants in a project does not ensure success. The consultant's perception of needs may differ from the client's perceptions and requirement. It is not by chance that all fairy tales have a Big Bad Wolf and never a Big Good Wolf. You should never trust them. Food variety is better than monotony. If the seven little lambs also liked ice tea there might be no fire. After 100 years of sleep (see the case of Sleeping Beauty) you need a party to wake up. Some people are always victims (in this case the seven little lambs). The client is always right. If you find a good lawyer you can always gain from a lawsuit.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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