System development plan for bead bar Essay

System development plan for bead bar

Purpose The purpose of this essay is to illustrate the creation of a system development plan for Bead Bar based on adopted systems development life cycle (SDLC) phases used in the current state of information system technology.

Objective The objectives of this essay are to: (a) define the purpose of the systems development project and its alignment with Bead Bar’s goals; (b) outline the steps and tasks required in each phase of the SDLC for the project; and (c) create guidelines for a systems review and maintenance schedule.

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Company business Malaga (2005) writes of Bead Bar—a company that specializes in allowing customers to create their own bead jewelry. Its business process is as simple as allowing its customers to sit at a bar in any one of its various studios using materials provided (beads, wire, and string) to create necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry” (p. 2).

Organization Bead Bar has grown from its inception in 1998 and now has three divisions, namely: (1) studios, (2) franchises, and (3) Bead Bar on Board. The studio division oversees the company’s six bead bar studios … there are now two studios in New York City, one on Long Island, one in Washington, D.C., and one in Boston, Massachusetts. The franchise division sells a complete beading supply package to businesses that want to open their own bead studio. The division is responsible for fulfilling franchisees’ supply requirements. There are currently five franchises (Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; and Miami, Florida). Bead Bar on Board is a special bead bar designed for cruise ships. The bar is portable and can be placed on deck or in a lounge. The company has 15 full-time employees and about 20 part-time employees who work in the studios helping customers and working the cash register. Annual revenues for the past three years have averaged $1.5 million (p. 2).

The company’s senior staff The Bead Bar senior staff includes the: (a) President and Owner; (b) Vice President of Studios; (c) Vice President of Franchises; (d) Vice President of Bead Bar on Board; (e) Chief Financial Officer; (f) Vice President of Marketing and Sales; (g) Vice President of Operations and Purchasing; and (h) Director of Human Resources (p. 2).

The current situation and associated problem of the company Bead Bar “still uses paper-based forms. Bead Bar is now large enough that the paper-based system is inefficient and has caused some problems, including lost orders, incorrect invoicing, and fulfillment delays. To solve these problems and bring the company into the digital world, [the President and Owner of the company] … hired an [external IT consultant]” to study the current situation of the company and to provide a system development plan to effectively address the current problems and concerns (p. 2).

The system development project for Bead Bar During the initial meeting of the IT consultant with the chief executive of Bead Bar, the consultant gave some insight about the current affairs of information technology that benefits many companies today of varied sizes including Bead Bar. The consultant briefed the President about the “features of the digital world” along with its “impact on business” and corresponding “role of information,” namely: (a) globalization—creates a global marketplace but also global competition: internet has enabled global communication; (b) digitization of goods—it changes the structure of certain industries by allowing producers and consumers to bypass traditional intermediaries: the internet allows the distribution of digitized goods; (c) speed—consumers and business partners expect rapid transactions: computer networks and the Internet allow businesses to provide instant access to information, product and services; (d) the merger of products and services—it can require consumers to purchase both products and services: many information technologies are based on the merger of precuts and services; (e) the role of ideas—the companies must protect their ideas and know when they are infringing on others’ ideas: patents and copyrights are the basis of many widely used information technologies; (f) new markets and pricing—digital markets create new business opportunities: information technologies are required to create information technologies (Malaga, 2005, p. 3). The President expressed her interest on the project; subsequently, the consultant informed the company chief of the stages or phases of the IT project for Bead Bar delineated below.

System Design and Development Life Cycle (SDLC) overview

Farlex, Inc. (2007) quotes the US Department of Justice about the latter’s definition of Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as a “software development process, although it is also a distinct process independent of software or other Information Technology considerations.” Furthermore, SDLC is “used by a systems analyst to develop an information system, including requirements, validation, training, and user ownership through investigation, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. SDLC is also known as information systems development or application development. An SDLC should result in a high quality system that meets or exceeds customer expectations, within time and cost estimates, works effectively and efficiently in the current and planned information technology infrastructure, and is cheap to maintain and cost-effective to enhance. SDLC is a systematic approach to problem solving and is composed of several phases, each comprised of multiple steps.”

Farlex, Inc. (2007) further writes of “six official phases” and “general phases” of

Table 1. The Six Official Phases of SDLC (Farlex, Inc., 2007)
Table 2. The General Phases of SDLC (Farlex, Inc., 2007)
(1) preliminary investigation
(1) feasibility study
(2) system analysis
(2) analysis
(3) system design
(3) design
(4) system development
(4) implementation/ development
(5) system implementation
(5) testing/implementation
(6) system maintenance
(6) evaluation/maintenance

Table 3. Systems Life Cycle (UK Version) (Farlex, Inc., 2007)
(1) Terms Of Reference — the management will decide what capabilities and objectives they wish the new system to incorporate;
(2) Feasibility Study — asks whether the managements’ concept of their desired new system is actually an achievable, realistic goal, in-terms of money, time and end result difference to the original system. Often, it may be decided to simply update an existing system, rather than to completely replace one;
(3) Fact Finding and Recording — how is the current system used? Often questionnaires are used here, but also just monitoring (watching) the staff to see how they work is better, as people will often be reluctant to be entirely honest through embarrassment about the parts of the existing system they have trouble with and find difficult if merely asked;
(4) Analysis — free from any cost or realisticality constraints, this stage lets minds run wild as ‘wonder systems’ can be thought-up, though all must incorporate everything asked for by the management in the Terms Of Reference section;
(5) Design — designers will produce one or more ‘models’ of what they see a system eventually looking like, with ideas from the analysis section either used or discarded. A document will be produced with a description of the system, but nothing is specific — they might say ‘touchscreen’ or ‘GUI operating system’, but not mention any specific brands;
(6) System Specification — having generically decided on which software packages to use and hardware to incorporate, you now have to be very specific, choosing exact models, brands and suppliers for each software application and hardware device;
(7) Implementation and Review — set-up and install the new system (including writing any custom (bespoke) code required), train staff to use it and then monitor how it operates for initial problems, and then regularly maintain thereafter. During this stage, any old system that was in-use will usually be discarded once the new one has proved it is reliable and as usable.

Table 4. Phases of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) (Satzinger, Jackson, ; Burd, 2004).
Phase 1: Project planning (initiate, ensure feasibility, plan schedule, obtain approval for project)
Phase II: Analysis (understand business needs and processing requirements)
Phase III: Design (define solution system based on requirements and analysis decisions)
Phase IVL Implementation (construction, testing, user training, and installation of new system)
Phase VI: Support (keep system running and improve)

SDLC shown in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively while Table 3 shows a UK version of a 7-phase SDLC.

On the other hand, Satzinger, Jackson, and Burd (2004) present a six-phase SDLC

Table 5. SDLC and problem-solving (Satzinger, Jackson, ; Burd, 2004).
Similar to problem-solving approach
1.        Organization recognizes problem (Project Planning)
2.        Project team investigates, understands problem and solution requirements (Analysis)
3.        Solution is specified in detail (Design)
4.        System that solves problem built and installed (Implementation)
5.        System used, maintained, and enhanced to continue to provide intended benefits (Support)
shown in Table 4. Satzinger, Jackson, and Burd (2004) view SDLC as being “similar to problem-solving approach” shown in Table 5. The five overviews of SDLC are all focused on one aim: toward the development of a “system” the objective of which is solving information-related organizational problems along with commercial/business and technical considerations.

Steps and tasks required in the system design and development project adopted for Bead Bar This paper adopts the 7-phase Systems Life Cycle (UK Version) model provided by Farlex, Inc. (2007) shown in Table 3 above in the system design and development for Bead Bar.

Phase I: Terms Of Reference  Terms Of Reference (TOR) is related to a “commercial” term called “Letter of Intent” or “Expression of Intent” undertaken by a party offered with a service or a particular product (in this paper, Bead Bar) by a service provider (in this paper, the “IT consultant”). A TOR is implied after the IT consultant made the presentation about the features of the digital world (see above). The TOR usually contains two broad aspects: the Technical aspect or specification—which identifies the needs of the customer or client and the Commercial aspect which specifies the pricing structure of work or services done for the customer or client.

Phase II: Feasibility Study The scope or extent of the IT project or system design and development aimed by the company’s senior management is company-wide and a complete transformation from a paper-based management information system into an all-electronic digital information system as indicated in the assessment of current situation and problem statement above. The feasibility study considers the two aspects covered in the TOR—Technical and Commercial.

Phase III: Fact Finding and Recording During the fact finding and recording phase of the undertaking, the systems analyst/consultant usually starts from the organizational structure or chart of Bead Bar. The information gathered about the organization structure of Bead Bar is that the company is composed of these key functional organizations, namely: Finance (CFO), Human Resource (HR), Marketing, Operations, Information System (CIO) (Malaga, 2007, p. 11). Following are the information gathered from the heads of functional organizations. Their responses indicate how the transformation undertaking would affect their jobs and organizations.

President and Owner: “I never considered that my business combines both a product and service. This combination is our main selling point…. We provide our customers with the ability to make their own high-quality bead jewelry.”

VP of Studios: “The information on patents and copyrights may prove important for us. Our employees are good at coming up with new designs…. We should use copyrights and patents to protect our especially clever designs.”

VP of Franchises: “For me, the idea of trademarks is the most interesting. We franchise the Bead Bar concept and name.”

VP of Bead Bar on Board: “Globalization is interesting to me because the customers I meet on cruise ships come from all over the world. If we understood their culture better, we might be able to do more business. Virtual organizations are also of interest, since I do much of my work away from the office.”

Chief Financial Officer: “As you know, I would like to telecommute. I think this would give me more time with my baby and still allow me to be productive. However, I am concerned about being left out of the loop if I’m not physically present at the office.”

VP of Marketing and Sales: “Developing a virtual organization with companies we work with on marketing material would be a big help to me. I often have to travel to Manhattan to meet with them.”

VP of Operations and Purchasing: “We purchase beads from around the world, so I am interested in global issues. I frequently import beads and have to deal with customs and other international regulations on a regular basis. I wonder if information systems will be able to help me.”

Director of Human Resources: “If Meredith decides to allow some of our employees to telecommute, we’ll need to develop new human resources policies. I also need to check that employees’ home offices meet basic health and safety regulations” (Malaga, 2007, p. 23).

Phase IV: Analysis After the gathering of high-level needs/expectations from the functional organizational heads, the next step is to “fit in” the needs of the users (all levels of the organization) into two broad standardized information systems, namely: (a) Administrative Information Systems (AIS) and (b) Functional information Systems (FIS) (Malaga, 2007, pp. 12-13).

The AIS is composed of “seven types of administrative information,” namely: (1) transaction processing systems (TPS); (2) office automation systems (OAS); (3) knowledge work systems (KWS); (4) management information systems (MIS); (5) decision support systems (DSS); (6) executive information systems (EIS); and (7) interorganizational systems (IOS). The FIS is composed of four “functional information systems [that] supports … business units,” namely: (1) Finance and Accounting Systems; (2) Marketing and Sales Systems; (3) Manufacturing and Operations Systems; and (4) Human Resources Management Systems (Malaga, 2007, pp. 14-15).

Phase V: Design Figure 6 shows the structure and interaction of various information systems. This is the interactive structure design of the network system planned for Bead Bar.

Figure 6. Integrated Administrative, Functional, and Enterprise Resource Planning Design (Malaga, 2007).

Phase VI: System Specification The various heads of the functional organizations expressed their individual desires to participate and commit to the planned digital transformation of the entire company. The system specifications are aligned with the requirements of these organization heads shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7. High-Level System Specifications
Functional Org.
Expressed needs
Hardware Spec
Software Spec
Office of the President ; Owner
Should we just buy it at a store or do we need to hire a computer programmer?
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite
VP of Studios
I need software that can help manage … inventory and employees [and] help schedule and track employees
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite
VP of Franchises
“Computers are a mystery to me. I just need something that is easy to use.”
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite
VP of Bead Bar on Board
“I deal with a lot of people at the cruise lines. Presentations are a large part of my job. Maybe there is software that can help me keep track of all these people and make more interesting presentations.”
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite
Chief Financial Officer
“My primary interest is financial. I know I need spreadsheet software, but I also need software to help with our taxes.”
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite, Oracle Financials
VP of Marketing and Sales
“Now that we have computers, I can develop marketing materials. I need software that allows me to manipulate digital pictures and produce direct mail pieces.”
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite
VP of Operations and Purchasing
“As the person responsible for operations, my staff will need to perform computer maintenance tasks and install new software.”
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite, Warehousing applications
Director of Human Resources
“I don’t … know what I need. What can software do to help with my job? Can we use it to manage employee benefits?”
Laptop, Intranet, Internet
MS Office Suite, SQL+, PeopleSoft

Phase VII: Implementation and Review System analysts, computer programmers, data entry personnel, CIO, and other IS personnel including identified users work together in the development of specific applications, writing of programs, entering of required data or “populating” the databases that need to provide required data for information-generation purposes, among other. Following the construction of data/information systems and network, schedule company-wide orientation and training follow. After the orientation and training, system test is initiated followed by “debugging” as necessary. Upon the completion of specified system operations period, full system implementation will replace the old system; certain “bugs” will appear along the way; “debugging” activities follow; necessary system changes are expected (see Malaga, 2007, pp.62-86).

Guidelines for a systems review and maintenance schedule After the turnover of the system design and development plan by the IT consultant to the CIO of Bead Bar, it will then become the responsibility of the CIO to establish guidelines for system review and maintenance schedule with the assistance of the IS Manager. One indispensable the reality of system transformation is “resistance to change” which resides in every person in an organization. Awad (1988) provides these reasons for IS failure, namely: (a) poorly defined user requirements; (b) lack of user participation; (c) inexperienced analysts or programmers; (d) inadequate user training; (e) uncooperative user staff; and (f) deficient hardware or software, or both (pp. 419-420). A quarterly system review is recommended especially during the first and second year of the system; and a monthly schedule maintenance service to all areas in which information system have been installed.


Satzinger, J. W., Jackson, R. B., ; Burd, S. D. (May 13, 2004). Systems Analysis and Design in a Changing World. (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Course Technology. [ISBN: 0-619-21325-6]

Awad, E. M. (1988). Management Information Systems Concepts, Structure, and Applications. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin/Cummins Publishing Company, Inc.

Farlex, Inc. (2007). Systems Development Life Cycle. The Free Dictionary. (March 16, 2007).

Malaga, R. A. (2005). Information Systems Technology. Canada: Prentice Hall. [ISBN: 0130497509]

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