Information Systems

College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis

System Requirements

It seems that a company executive was unable to attend a performance of Schubert's 8th or "Unfinished" Symphony, so he passed the tickets on to the company's systems analyst. The next morning, the executive asked the analyst how he liked the concert. Instead of casual remarks, the analyst handed the executive a memorandum which read:

1. For considerable periods, the four oboe players had nothing to do. The number should be reduced and their work spread over the whole orchestra, thus eliminating peaks of activity.

2. All 12 violins were playing identical notes. This seems to be an unnecessary duplication and the staff of this section should be cut drastically. If a large volume of sound is really necessary, this could be obtained through an electronic amplifier.

3. Much effort was absorbed in playing the quarter=notes. This seems an excessive refinement and it is recommended that all notes should be rounded to the nearest half notes. If this is done, it should be possible to use trainees and lower grade professionals.

4. No useful purpose is served by repeating with the horns the passage that already has been handled by the strings. If such redundant passages were eliminated, the concert could be reduced from two hours to 20 minutes.

If Schubert had attended to these matters, he would probably have been able to finish the symphony instead of dying on the job.

Moral of the story: Make sure you understand the goal of the system, and measure each requirement against that goal....

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