In corporate America projects are implemented on a regular basis. With implementing these projects there is a grave possibility that they may not be successful. In conducting any successful project it takes some type of organizational skills. Successfulness of a project can be jeopardized by a lack of planning, not enough funds to complete it, or the materials needed to complete it may not be readily available. In order for a project to be a success everything about the business must be evaluated to understand how well the system works.
This paper will which information gathering methods can be used in analyzing the requirements, classifying which business process mapping methods should be used in analysis, discussing which business process mapping tools to use in documenting analysis, indicate how the analyst would know if these methods and tools were effecting in understanding requirements, and explaining how prototyping tools could be used to confirm these requirements. Information Gathering Methods When completing an assessment of a business system a solution to a problem that may exist will not be fixed without knowing what the desired outcome needs to be.
Gathering information correctly can be the difference between a projects success or failure. Gathering information allows a complete picture of the situation to be painted. Different techniques are available to perform this phase of the assessment. One technique is to conduct one-on-one interviews. Sitting down with the business execs and management to find out what the needs and expectations for the system are presents a productive start in the right direction. During this type of interview open-ended questions should be asked to get the person being interviewed talking.
Probing questions can later be asked to understand their requirements as well. This means avoiding questions that can be answered using short answers such as yes or no. Another method that can be used is group interviews. Getting people in a group that are in the same level or play the same role in the company can get the information needed in a shorter period of time. JAD sessions are also a good method to use. Joint Application Development sessions the participants stay in session until a complete set of requirements are agreed upon. Questionnaires are a more informal approach to information gathering.
These are good to use when information is being gathered from individuals in other locations, or that have a minor input in the overall requirements. Brainstorming can be used in some instances. Solutions to problems that are present are created as a group of ideas. The assessor may get together and began to creatively brainstorm ideas of what the solution could be. Afterwards the ideas of prioritized and presented for selection. Remember when doing an assessment having more than enough information is better than having less than adequate data.
Business Process Mapping Methods Process mapping represents the work process in a visual sense. Before a process can be improved it must be understood. Process mapping also identifies problem areas and opportunities for process improvements. Process maps are good way to reduce cycle time, avoid rework, and prevent errors (“Simple Process Mapping Techniques”, 2012). The type of mapping that is used will depend on what is trying to be accomplished. Flowcharts present one process mapping method that can be used. If a simple layout is required than a flowchart should be used.
Flowcharts are used to visualize something graphically which in turn may be a more effective tool. Flowcharts are used to explain a process clearly using symbols and text at a single glance. Another type of mapping that can be utilized is hierarchical process mapping. This type of mapping differs from others because it shows relationships with a supporting process. This form also provides links for presenting process records. Some people may believe that this type of mapping is more complicated. It creates a visual version of the work flow that occurs within a process.
This process can either be operational or business. This is presented in a top-to-bottom diagram. It depicts the process in more detailed as the user moves through the different levels (Pojasek, 2005. ) Business Mapping Tools Business mapping tools should be efficient an able to accommodate online cooperation. Online association allows others to give their input without having to physically be there in the same location. This can help the company save time and money. A mapping tool should also have sufficient room for checks and balances. This means that what may be good for one department may not be good for another.
A good mapping tool must be able to incorporate process for each department, but also make sure that the process will be good for the entire company. Some companies use mapping tools to find areas for improvement within their business system. Companies use business process mapping tools to mechanize accessible functions, increasing efficiency and uniformity across different departments that utilize the business system. There is also some software that can help the systems of different departments be able to communicate with each other and share information (“Wisegeek”, 2003-2012).
Microsoft Visio is one tool that is able to create the charts and diagrams to map out the process. People seem to be able to relate to picture more than to paragraphs of writings. Microsoft Excel also has the tools need to create efficient diagrams and charts to use. Understanding the Effectiveness of Methods and Tools The analyst would know if these methods and tools were effective in understanding requirements by presenting what was found in the assessment to the company execs. If the information present is approved than it is clear that the analyst understands the requirements.
Another way that the analyst can determine if the tools and methods are effective is by participating in a group forum. With the forum the information can be presented to representatives of each department to see if what is taking place in their departments is what was found after the assessment was completed. If everything pans out this also means that the assessment was a success. Use of Prototyping Tools Prototyping tools could be used to confirm that these requirements are correct after the assessment is completed. Prototyping is a modern technique for gathering requirements.
This allows preliminary requirements that are used to create an initial version of the solution. Therefore conducting a preliminary investigation before getting into details with the assessment can allow the analyst to see if the requirements are necessary. When conducting an assessment steps need to be followed to be successful. An analyst needs to make sure that they gather the information needed to understand what is required as well as be able to map out the process to follow. Once this has been done the analyst can hope to have a clear understanding of the enterprise level business systems of the company.
10 techniques for gathering requirements. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-techniques-for-gathering-requirements/287 Pojasek, R. B. (2005). Understanding Processes with Hierarchical Process Mapping. Retrieved from http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic545849.files/Process%20Mapping.pdf Simple Process Mapping Techniques. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/13268201/Simple-Process-Mapping-Techniques Wisegeek. (2003-2012). Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-business-process-mapping-tools.htm Ecology and Society. (2007). Retrieved on October 19, 2012 from http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol12/iss2/art3/ Piitro, D. D. (2002). An Ecological Basis for Managing Giant Sequoia Ecosystems. Retrieved on October 19, 2012 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/4n9m366xrment92j/