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Critical Thinking Paper Assignment

Introduction

The interview was successful, and it offered a platform to gather customers’ requirements for the required system. Indeed, the interview may be viewed as the preliminary study or requirement finding the stage for the system. The client required to create an automated system, tracking graduates from the point of entry into the school until the time they complete graduate school. The purpose of the system is to move away from using paper files to an automated system, which will serve as an information system for office staff dealing with graduate students. The requirements, gathered during the interview, indicate that the client wants a system, which would provide a central database to reduce the paperwork and store all files pertaining to a graduate school student. The database should contain admission papers, the program of study, thesis, dissertation, GMAT scores, as well as other forms that students fill throughout their stay in the institution. The most important business problem or system requirement is to have an automated graduate school student management system, which would be able to reduce or eliminate the paperwork. The information system developed for the client will be known as the graduate student’s management information system. The system will make access to student information much easier, as well as facilitate faster transactions in terms of retrieving student information and accessing student biodata.

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The Methodology Used to Develop the System

Indeed, for this system, I would prefer using a heavyweight methodology due to the nature of the problem, as well as the provided instructions. There are many heavy weigh approaches but I would use the modified waterfall methodology due to the problem’s nature (Beynon-Davies, 2009). The modified waterfall methodology is similar to classical waterfall methodology. However, it differs in terms of reiteration, which is quite important in developing such a system. The reason or purpose for choosing the modified waterfall methodology in developing this system is because the project can be divided into different sequential phases through which system components can be developed. This is an important aspect because the graduate student’s management information system is usually comprised of many different modules or components. In this case, the waterfall methodology will allow me to work with a team of information system developers and divide the process into components and thus work at a faster rate. Furthermore, the waterfall model is quite significant due to the emphasis, which is maintained on all steps of the system development life cycle.

The modified waterfall methodology is significant for this case because it allows feedback to the previous stages in the system development phases. The modified waterfall methodology has five significant phases, which include the feasibility study, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. The ability to move back and forth between these phases during the development process is quite significant, as it ensures that errors made in previous phases are adjusted, as the development process is ongoing. In this case, it will be possible to gradually improve the system and meet the client or business needs that were identified as system requirements (Post & Anderson, 2006). Additionally, the modified waterfall methodology is strategic, since it depicts the real environment scenario when creating the information system; thus, the team of developers who will be working on this system will be able to feel the system. Finally, the modified waterfall methodology will be important and strategic for the graduate student’s management information system, since the progress of the system is measurable, thus, the client will have a chance to monitor the progress of creating information system. As such, the client will work within his budget.

In applying the modified waterfall methodology to my problem, I would use the interview as the feasibility study, where I collected the system requirements and business problem that needs to be solved. In the analysis stage, I would go through the existing system, which is the paper files, to understand the information that is stored in different files and forms. The analysis would enable me to understand different forms that graduate students are required to fill out when applying to the institution as well as during their stay at school. Furthermore, I would use the existing system and measure it with the requirements that have been set by the client to understand whether there are any additional requirements that the client may have missed out during the interview (Beynon-Davies, 2009). In the design phase, I would use UML diagrams and data flow diagrams to first create the conceptual representation of the graduate student’s management information system. I would work with my team to begin the coding process, which would be creating the logical design in terms of developing different modules.

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The next step would involve implementing the system, providing it to the client to use and collect feedback in terms of whether it meets his expectations. At this point, I expect the iteration to start, since clients’ feedback on the system may require some changes to adjust to the clients’ needs. Finally, after satisfying the client’s requirements regarding the system, I would try to continually provide maintenance for the system and support, in case the graduate student’s management information system stops functioning. All these steps denote the approach towards problem solving, as well as utilization of the modified waterfall methodology. The interpretation of results will take place at the implementation stage (Post & Anderson, 2006). Any results, good or bad, will be known after delivering the system to the client and ensuring that the client runs the required tests. The client will test and confirm whether the graduate student’s management information system performs the required activities in the required manner. Therefore, testing and approval of the system falls under the client.

Relating the Graduate Student’s Management Information System with the Client’s Environment

The graduate student’s management information system is directly related to the client’s business environment, since it provides an automation solution which makes transactions, such as information access and information filling much easier. The system is directly related to the data entry aspect of the clients’ business, since the graduate student’s management information system provides storage, retrieval and entry of data. The institution will have an easier time performing these tasks and following up on the graduate students, since the system transforms these activities from paper use to automation. Furthermore, it eases the operational aspect of business, since now more individuals will be able to access graduate student information. Previously, the mode of access was restricted to viewing the file. In this case, it meant that all students or stakeholders who were interested in accessing student’s information had to visit the office to physically see the file and understand the students’ performance. Furthermore, it also meant that students had to spend more time trying to access individual files, since not all of the staff were available at the office. In this case, the service rate is only one student at a time (Cummings, 2006). However, the operational aspect has been improved greatly, since through the automated system, the information can be accessed from different points, thus users or stakeholders can access the information simultaneously, easing the aspect of time.

I expect the graduate student’s management information system to change the client’s business section in terms of record keeping and information storage. In this case, it will be easier and faster to serve students and other individuals interested in receiving graduate student information. The graduate student’s management information system will also change the operational environment in terms of facilitating remote access to information, as well as remote entry of information and data into the system. These factors will greatly facilitate the process and environment of service delivery within the organization, since the client will now work efficiently. Additionally, the graduate student’s management information system will also change the general outlook of the office, since there will be less paper work, resulting in a better usage of space in the office (Beynon-Davies, 2009). The general outlook of the office changes the operational environment for the client, since the staff will be motivated to use the information system and move with the changing technological trends. Most of the work will be performed on computers, as compared to performing functions on paper, thus the business will have to invest in computer devices.

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Conclusion

Interview with the client provided an opportunity to understand the system requirements, which is critical in any system development project. In this case, having the system requirements and understanding the business problem means that it will be possible to develop a graduate student’s management information system, which solves the business problem. The modified waterfall methodology is a unique approach, which will provide a development approach almost similar to the classical waterfall method but it will allow some room for iteration. Iteration will provide an opportunity for the development process to solve any problems that may arise in later stages after development. As such, the graduate student’s management information system will change the operational environment for the client.

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