I have been fascinated by the content of this course and especially by the quality of the book written by Kendal and Kendal, (2014). Before completing this course, I used to think that a system analyst is involved at some specific point or stage in the production process. But after reading the course material, participating in the class discussions and completing the class assignments I have realized the importance of the function of a system analyst at each and every step of the organizational activities. The sixteen chapter were full of quality information that is definitely helpful for me in my professional life. Following is an account of the different sections of the book and my self-reflection accordingly.
The course started with a focus on the development methodologies. At this stage I was made aware of the importance of the use of technologies by the system analyst to provide his/her input to the relevant staff members of the organization. There are multiple ecommerce and web systems available to help system analyst gather desired information. I believe that as a system analyst, I will be a support expert and an agent of change who can think critically and suggest innovative changes that have a positive influence on the end product or service. I came across the concept of object oriented system analysis design which I believe is important to divide different large activities into meaningful chunks and then perform them.
Flow diagrams are important to show the flow of activities in an organization. This, I believe would help me understand in identifying the loopholes and spaces for my input to improve the overall system. As a system analyst, I believe I should be able to know different project management techniques. I would focus on reading research related to the technological advancements taking place in the software and hardware fields that could improve the project progress. As a system analyst, I must be able to do a meaningful cost and benefits analysis during the project related to the production of goods for consumers.
One of the most important duties of a system analyst is to be able to devise different techniques to gather information from the users to make a perfect analysis of the overall system and suggest improvements. I have personally come to realize that when we talk about the end user, it’s not just the customer, it could well be the employees of the organization. They also require continuous improvement to the business process to work efficiently and productively. So their input is also of the utmost importance. I also believe that the application of prototyping techniques would be crucial if I work as a system analyst or perform any other duties in the production cycle.
In the following discussion, I have focused on the four subject areas that stood out in my mind during the course and I plan to focus on further learning them and use them to further my professional career.
Data flow diagrams are not only necessary to understand the movement of system technical resources, they also provide an understanding of the movement of the human resource. The subject of the DFDs caught my attention as I was able to see the big picture of the organizational activities in a big picture. Without them, I believe a person would have to go through tons of information to reach to a point where one can claim that he/she is fully aware of what exact activities are happening in the business life cycle of the organization. DFDs are easy to understand. For example, if you want to know the direction of an activity, look at the direction of the arrow that is associated with that specific activity (Entity & Entity, 2002). They will be helpful in my professional life I believe with respect to understand the function of different resources.
Web Forms for user feedback
This topic was one of the great interest foe me in this course. I believe that there is a great need for system analysts to be able to use these web forms to know about the needs and expectations of the users. These users can either be the customers of the end product or the staff that is an important part of the production cycle. The system analyst can use either of Likert scales or open ended questioner to get quantitative or qualitative data to made decisions related to their suggestions for system improvement. Web form is one of the best way to communicate with end users in the present internet era (Jarrett & Gaffney, 2009).
STROBE (Structured Observation of the Environment)
Before this case I was not fully aware of the importance of the environment in which different duties were performed and different decisions were made. After studying STROBE or Structured Observation of the Environment technique, I have become very interested in know more about the environmental factors. I now know that in my professional life, I will take into consideration the environmental variables like the location of the office, external objects, office lighting, temperature etc.
Technologies are becoming an important aspect of the decision. STROBE also observes and takes into consideration the different kinds of technologies that are a part of the decision making environment.
Total Quality Approach to Software Design
Software design seems to be a one person job from the outside but when you look deep into it, it becomes evident that this is a process that involves different team members. Managing these teams is of the utmost importance aspect of the whole process of software design and development. Total quality approach has multiple implications in case of software development and design (Parzinger & Nath, 2000). I believe that as a future system analyst, I would use the structures walkthrough approach where I would follow all the resources involved in the software design process especially the end users and the web design developers and incorporate all the principles of the total quality approach.