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Fact Finding Techniques

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  1. Fact Finding Techniques

  2. OUTLINE OF CLASS • Discussion • Fact Finding • Interviews, Questionnaires, Prototypes etc. • Ethics and Strategy • Video (“Making the Business Case”) • Group Project

  3. What is Fact-Finding? • Fact-finding is the formal process of using research, interviews, questionnaires, sampling, and other techniques to collect information about systems, requirements, and preferences. It is also called information gathering or data collection.

  4. When do you perform fact-finding? • Fact-finding is most crucial to the systems planning and systems analysis phases that the analyst learns about the vocabulary, problems, opportunities, constraints, requirements, and priorities of a business and a system.

  5. What Fact-Finding Methods are Available? 1. Sampling of existing documentation, forms, and databases 2. Research and site visits 3. Observation of the work environment 4. Questionnaires 5. Interviews 6. Prototyping

  6. Traditional Methods for Determining Requirements • Interviewing and Listening • Gather facts, opinions and speculations • Observe body language and emotions • Guidelines • Plan • Checklist • Appointment • Be neutral • Listen • Seek a diverse view

  7. Traditional Methods for Determining Requirements • Interviewing (Continued) • Interview Questions • Open-Ended • No pre-specified answers • Close-Ended • Respondent is asked to choose from a set of specified responses • Additional Guidelines • Do not phrase questions in ways that imply a wrong or right answer • Listen very carefully to what is being said • Type up notes within 48 hours • Do not set expectations about the new system

  8. Traditional Methods for Determining Requirements • Administering Questionnaires • More cost-effective than interviews • Choosing respondents • Should be representative of all users • Types of samples • Convenient • Random sample • Purposeful sample • Stratified sample

  9. Traditional Methods for Determining Requirements • Questionnaires • Design • Mostly closed-ended questions • Can be administered over the phone or in person • Vs. Interviews • Interviews cost more but yield more information • Questionnaires are more cost-effective

  10. Traditional Methods for Determining Requirements • Interviewing Groups • Advantages • More effective use of time • Enables people to hear opinions of others and to agree or disagree • Disadvantages • Difficulty in scheduling • Group Thinking • Nominal Group Technique • Facilitated process to support idea generation by groups • Individuals work alone to generate ideas which are pooled under guidance of a trained facilitator

  11. Traditional Methods for Determining Requirements • Directly Observing Users • Serves as a good method to supplement interviews • Often difficult to obtain unbiased data • People often work differently when being observed

  12. Analyzing Procedures and Other Documents • Types of information to be discovered: • Problems with existing system • Opportunity to meet new need • Organizational direction • Names of key individuals • Values of organization • Special information processing circumstances • Reasons for current system design • Rules for processing data

  13. Analyzing Procedures and Other Documents • Four types of useful documents • Written work procedures • Describes how a job is performed • Includes data and information used and created in the process of performing the job or task • Business form • Explicitly indicate data flow in or out of a system • Report • Enables the analyst to work backwards from the report to the data that generated it • Description of current information system

  14. What is Prototyping? • The prototyping approach is an iterative process involving a close working relationship between the designer and the users. • Prototyping is an engineering technique used to develop partial, but functional versions of a system or applications. When extended to system design and construction, a prototype can evolve into the final, implemented system.

  15. Two ‘flavors’ of prototyping are applicable to systems analysis: • Feasibility prototyping is used to test the feasibility of a specific technology that might be applied to the business problem. • Discovery prototyping (sometimes called requirements prototyping) is used to ‘discover’ the users’ business requirements by having them react to a ‘quick-and-dirty’ implementation of those requirements.

  16. How you work with Prototyping Tools? • Prototypes can be quickly developed using many of the 4GLs and object-oriented programming languages available today. • Prototypes can be built for simple outputs, computer dialogues, key functions, entire subsystems, or even the entire system.

  17. Each prototype system is reviewed by end-users and management, who make recommendations about requirements, methods, and formats. • The prototype is then corrected, enhanced, or refined to reflect the new requirements. • The revision and review process continues until the prototype is accepted.

  18. Fact-Finding Ethics • More often than not during your fact finding exercises you may come across or be analyzing information which is sensitive in nature. • The analyst must take great care to protect the data they have been entrusted with. • Washington, D.C. is the home of the Computer Ethics Institute, a nonprofit research, education and policy study organization. • It strives to make people more aware of computer ethics and to use computers more responsibly. • One of their primary goals is to make computer ethics part of the standard school curriculum and to promote more awareness they have published The Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics.

  19. A Fact-Finding Strategy • Always be to collect as many facts as possible before using interviews (from existing documents, forms, reports, and files). • If appropriate, observe the system in action. • Given all the facts that you've already collected, design and distribute questionnaires to clear up things you don't fully understand. • Conduct your interviews (or group work sessions, such as JAD or RAD). • Follow up.

  20. Group Project • Objectives • Milestone 1 (if not done yet) • Plan for future activities • What are the business processes we are dealing with? And how do they work? • Do we have enough info? • Do we need interviews?