Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
The Poor Couple

Once upon a time, there was a very poor couple living in the old shabby hut in the suburb of the town. The husband was a very diligent farmer. Everyday he would wake up before sunrise and went to work in rice field until the sun set. The wife was also a tidy housewife who also woke up early everyday to do all house works. Even though they did work very hard, they were still indigent due to the worst economic recession in that century. For all year long they always strived for the better life. They always dreamed for the newer house, so they didn't have to go to fix the roof every times it was raining.

One day they dream came true. The husband found one old lamp while he was working in the field. He had heard about the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp before and he was so sure that this is the legendary magic lamp. He brought the lamp back to his wife and both of them started rubbing it. Suddenly, there was genie coming out from the lamp and offer to grant them one wish. “Only one wish!” said the couple. “I have to reduce the number of wishes from three to one due to the current economic down turn” replied the genie. Therefore, the couple needed to think of a thing they most needed in the world. Looking around, only they saw was that old shabby hut they lived. “Of course, we should wish for the new house” they thought “but, as we could get only one wish, we should take it to extreme.” Therefore, the wife replied to the genie, “We want a luxurious house that is larger than the world biggest palace.” After the wish, the shabby hut was turn into the beautiful mansion that is much larger than the Forbidden City in China. It would take them a few months to walk from one side to another side of the mansion. The couple was very elated to finally have not only the new house, but also the largest house in the world. They believed that they would live happily ever after.

However, as the months progressed, the whole house started being dusty and, when it came to cleaning the house, the couple began to realize the consequences of their wish. There were only 2 people lived in this enormous house. “Oh! My God, How could we suppose to clean the whole house?” said the wife. “By the time we finished cleaning this side of the house, another side would already get dusty.” They could not bear the thought of either living in the dusty or moving to other places and as they didn't have enough money to hire maids to clean the whole house either, the two couple was force to spend all day and everyday for the rest of their lives cleaning their house.

Moral: This moral can be applied to the principle of system analysis in tern of the feasibility concept. The fable provide the fact that users, like the couple in this story, often only know what they want right now without considering the whole impact of their requests in the future. Also, users sometimes go for one large project that contained all inclusive fancy features without considering whether they really need all those features or not. The common 80-20 rule in IT industry states that 80 percent of all end users generally use only 20 percent of a software application's features. Having the house in the fable is like implementing large project that have too many features more than you really need that will end up cost you more than you should pay.

Therefore, system analyst needs to conduct feasibility study for clients to see whether that information system project makes sense. The feasibility study describes a preliminary study undertaken to determine and document a project’s viability and the results of this analysis are used in making the decision whether to proceed with the project or not. This analytical tool shows how a business would operate under a set of assumption, such as economic, technical, operational, schedule, legal, and political standpoint. It is important to conduct feasibility study before the proposed system is implemented. Without the feasibility study, unfeasible project could be implemented and it would lead to the project’s failure at the end.

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

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