The preliminary investigation often called the feasibility study or system survey is the initial investigation of the problem. It consists of the groundwork necessary to determine whether the project should be pursued or not. As a system analyst, it is required to determine what the problem is and what to do about it. The net result will be a rough plan for proceeding with the project and investigation of software for analysis is the essential part.
Investigation of software for analysis
Before deciding whether to proceed, the analyst must be able to describe the problem. To do this, the analyst will work with the users. One of the tools will be an organization’s chart, which is a hierarchical drawing showing the organization’s management by name and title.
Many organizations already have such a chart. If the chart does not exist, the analyst must ask some questions and then make the chart. To work effectively within the organization, the analyst needs to understand what are the lines of authority through the formal communication channels.
The initial aim of the analyst is to define the problem. The analyst and the users must come to an agreement on these points-analyst must agree on the nature of the problem and then designate a limited scope. In the process, the analyst will also determine the objectives of the project.
Nature of the problem
Sometimes what appears to be the problem turns out to be, on a closer look, only a symptom. For example, suppose the analyst is examining customer complaints about late deliveries. The brief study may reveal that the problem is not in the shopping department, but in the original ordering processes.
The scope of the problem
It is very difficult to establish the scope of the problem because problems tend to expand if there is no firm boundary. Limitations are also necessary to stay within the eventual budget and schedule.
In the beginning, the analyst and user must agree on the scope of the project: what the new or revised system is supposed to do and not to do. If the scope is too narrow, it may not meet user needs.
Objectives of the problem
The analyst will soon come to understand what the user needs, that is, what the user thinks the system should be able to do. An analyst may want to express these needs as objectives.
For instance, the analyst must examine the objectives for the process and has two met with the people who run the existing system or those who already know what such a system must do.
In the next phase of system analysis, the analyst will produce a more specific list of system requirements based on these objectives.
A feasible project can be completed successfully. Feasibility has three dimensions:
- Operational and
- Economic feasibility
Technically Feasible project can be accomplished with existing and proven technology.
The Operationally Feasible project can be accomplished with the organization’s available facilities.
At the end of the preliminary investigation, the project leader has to write a project proposal that introduces:
- Nature of the existing system’s problem
- Explanation of the proposed solution
- Direct and indirect benefits of the proposed system
- Details of the proposed project plan
- Conclusion with recommendation
At this point, management is to consider one of the three choices:
- Drop the matter
- Fix the problem immediately, if it is simple or
- Authorize the analyst to go on to the next phase for a closer look.
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