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Information System Design & Analysis


Section 1: Product Discovery – Managing Requirements Analysis and Re-Engineering Introduction

S-Global, a software application services company, will be headquartered in Mumbai with offices in Europe, the Asia Pacific, and the U.S. The company’s goal is to design, develop, and produce an application that will allow surfers to track and monitor the height, velocity, direction, and duration of ideal waves for surfing. In addition, it will provide assistance while traveling, offer destination instructions, provide weather updates, aid in the prediction of tsunamis, thus allowing the surfer to be able to gain a better idea of where they might like to travel in order to find waves of the desired height, frequency, chop, etc. In order to accomplish this task, however, there are certain aspects that must be addressed, including the 20 key elements of a product realization process, the stages of product development, the development life cycle, dynamic vs. static innovation, individual variation during the development life cycle, the requirements of the project, user support and satisfaction, defining the standard documentation structure, agreeing to agree, and developing complimentary product models. An understanding of these terms and their relation to the product itself will allow the company to move forward with their plans.

20 Key Elements of a Product Realization Process

There are 20 key elements to any product realization process. They are: teams, communication, designing for manufacture, CAD systems, professional ethics, creative thinking, designing for performance, designing for reliability, designing for safety, concurrent engineering, drawing, designing for cost, applying statistics, reliability, geometric tolerance, value engineering, design reviews, manufacturing processes, systems perspectives, and designing for assembly. In order to address each of these different aspects, teams will be created within S-Global, each with their own set of responsibilities. One team will be responsible for the initial design, ensuring that reliability, safety, manufacture and assembly are covered in the initial design. The next team will be responsible for creating a prototype, ensuring that the software functions as intended. The third team will be responsible for testing the software to ensure its functionality. All three teams will work concurrently, communicating throughout the entire process to ensure that the software functions as intended.

The purpose and role of CAD systems within the manufacturing process is to ensure that the design issues are identified and fixed prior to the product being available for purchase. More specifically, the wireframes and screen mockups that are created in CAD systems work to ensure that the software not only functions as intended, but displays properly and is able to produce the desired functionality within the app prior to the app going live. Throughout the creation, design, and testing process, the CAD system will work to show what the app is intended to do and how it is intended to appear, ensuring that the programmers, designers, and testers are all able to work to realize the vision that has been conceptualized for the product itself.

Stages of Product Development

There are six primary stages in the development of a new product: idea generation and screening, concept development and testing, analysis, product development, market testing, and commercialization. The idea for the software has already been fully conceptualized and screened. Next, it will be time to work to test the development of the concept, determining if the application is truly feasible for creation. After that, the test results will be analyzed to determine whether or not any additional changes need to be made before the product is put into development. Market testing will be conducted to determine levels of effectiveness and customer satisfaction, which will be followed by full blown commercialization of the software.

The Development Life Cycle

The development life cycle differs slightly when dealing with software, such as the product being designed herein. The software development life cycle starts with analysis and definition, moves to testing, and then is implemented in beta format, wherein testing and analysis occurs again, repeating until the majority of bugs are removed from the code and the code is considered functional. In the case of the software being designed, the concept must first be analyzed and defined, looking at the exact functions to be included. These are then to be programmed, and tested and revised until the code functions smoothly.

Dynamic vs. Static Innovation

Dynamic and static innovations each have their own place within the creative world; dynamic innovations require constant adaptations and fluid changes to meet the needs of the situation, product, demographic, etc.; static innovations, on the other hand, determine the method of change to be addressed and stick with it, remaining inflexible. Perhaps one of the best methods by which do so is through the combination of internal and external knowledge and ideas in order to allow for increased innovation and flexibility in the design process. Static innovation may be viewed in terms of working to understand the evolution of the agile methodologies that are used to codify and address better methods of application development, while dynamic innovation has the potential to originate from discussions with the target market, allowing for a more thorough needs analysis of the product. When designing software and writing code, particularly for apps due to the speed at which they may be programmed and the frequency that they rise and fall out of fashion, it becomes essential to use dynamic innovation, as coding, programming, and content manipulation must remain fluid.

Individual Variation during the Development Life Cycle

Individual variation allows for product differentiation during the development life cycle of the product. As the software is developed, changes made to the coding and the functionality of the program will result in individual variations that will allow for different software versions with different levels of functionality to be produced.

Requirements

The requirements of the product are the components necessary to use the product itself. Requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • using a particular operating system
  • or needing a certain amount of memory.

Writing a good requirement list is sometimes equated to writing good code. With the appropriate coding in place within the program, the requirements come easily, however with less specific code, requirements for the product can become more complex. The requirements should be written at the start of the software development to ensure that the code supports those requirements, making the development of the software easier. These requirements will vary based on the detail and depth of the program written and will include user and system requirements, but they cannot be written until the full program’s coding has been completed. There are no requirements specific to system stakeholders. Purchased programs will come with their own sets of requirements for users and for hardware that must be followed.

Metrics

The following metrics have been identified for the success and design of the development phase:

  • By week one the basic design of the app will be formulated
  • By the end of week three the program for the app will be completed
  • By the end of week 5, the design and layout of the app will be completed
  • By the end of week 6 the alpha test will be completed
  • By the end of week 7 the bugs identified in the alpha test will be resolved
  • By the end of week 8 the beta test will be completed and the app will be ready for the market.

User Support and Satisfaction

User support and satisfaction refers to both the level of satisfaction that users have with the product and the amount of support given to users by the company for the product itself. The levels of user support should be clearly defined prior to the distribution and commercialization of the product, and market testing will allow developers to know their beta testers level of satisfaction to determine what, if any, changes should be made before commercialization of the product.

Defining a Standard Documentation Structure

The documentation structure used by the company should be uniform, defining all of the elements and even the documentation type used in the creation of material. For example, if the company starts with PDFs, they should continue to use PDFs for all their documentation, as opposed to requiring the use of multiple formatting types. For S-Global, PDFs will be used as standard due to their ability to be password locked and to reduce the amount of manipulation possible by others. Standard documentation is essential as it ensures a uniformity across the system and an ease of access. Without standard documentation, all users may not be able to access all necessary information and content may become difficult to read.

Agreeing to Agree

The process of agreeing to agree means that individuals are agreeing just for the sake of agreeing, regardless of their personal beliefs or opinions on the matter. In order to work to reduce this likelihood at S-Global, an open door communication policy will be put into place. This will allow individuals to speak their minds freely without fear of repercussion while at the same time working to ensure that something does not get added or removed from the software just because underlings are concerned that to speak up will cost them their position. Such a policy will work to ensure that the app retains its functionality and its appreciation within the body public as opposed to pacifying an individual on the development team, for example.

Developing Complimentary Product Models

Complimentary products are those that serve to compliment the initial product, offering increased value through the purchase of multiple products designed to work in tandem. The creation of complimentary business models, models designed to work to address the needs of the customers through the provision of additional products and services, will be developed as the software itself is developed, with new ideas being conceptualized and implemented as the design process is completed.

Section II – Process Design & Creation – Managing Detailed Architecture

Introduction

When working to setup a company and design a product, it is necessary to specify how the product itself will be created, looking at the different aspects of hardware, software, and other assets needed to finish the development of the product. Aspects like adaptability, architecture, hardware, software, tradeoffs, product interfaces, third party participation, security, production flexibility, outsourcing, production planning, scheduling, and purchasing, and timeframes will be discussed.

Process Design & Creation

Adaptability

In order for a product to become truly successful, it must be adaptable; when looking at the concept of adaptability in terms of the design of a piece of software, this refers to the potential of the product to be utilized on multiple platforms. Given the different aspects of surfing and fitness that this program will address, there are many different ways in which it may be adapted to offer increased customer beneficence. For example, the software may be adapted for use inside of wearable tech, products that may be worn that incorporate some technological aspect into their design. Other forms of adaptability include the ability to use the software on different devices or the ability to use the software on Android or Windows OS platforms.

Architecture

Software architecture encompasses all of the “structure or structures of the system, which comprise software elements, the externally visible properties of those elements, and the relationships among them”. Key components include building the software to change as opposed to building it to last, modeling the software in such a way as risk is reduced, and ensuring that the design is flexible, allowing for ease of modification to take advantage of future trends. Keeping these various aspects in mind, and in light of climate and landscape changes, it is essential to ensure that the software may be updated frequently, that there is a system in place for automatic updating, and that each of the different aspects of the software are fully integrated. The nature of the application being successful will require consideration in terms of scalability. If the app does not scale, the likelihood of individuals being willing to continue to utilize the software will decrease. Likewise, if the scale is too great, the functionality of the app will decrease, also resulting in a decline in customer base. Peak loads need to be taken into account, particularly in regard to times when weather conditions are ideal for surfing and the servers will need to be able to handle the excess load. Consideration must be made for peak times at all times as the weather cannot be predicted so far in advance as to designate specific peak times.

Hardware

As the initial design is just for the software application itself, there is no hardware that will need to be developed; however, certain hardware will be needed for the development of the software including, but not limited to: computers to program the code, two of each of the different devices that the software will be initially written for (i.e. if the software is written for Android first then two Android smart phones would be necessary), and other associated office products.

Software

C# will be used as the programming language that will be used by the Mac and the Android coders hired for the completion of this product; in order to write the program, however the programmers will need some form of word processing software in which to write the code, a program to compile the code and unpack the code on the device that the code has been written for, and access to the necessary software that the program will connect to in order to display the information requested, such as maps, weather, wave variations, and the like.

Tradeoffs

While during the course of any project it is necessary to realize that there will be certain tradeoffs, such as the tradeoff between quality and cost, or time and quantity, based on the type of product being designed and produced and the timeline that has been tentatively set for the completion of the initial software offering, it does not appear that there will be any tradeoffs at the current time. If there is a tradeoff, it may be the removal of the calorie counter, due to the many other devices that have this offering, for the desire to stay on the identified timeline.

Product Interfaces

The product interface, given that the first developed application will be a mobile application, will be through the use of touch screen technologies; technologies that are already incorporated into most mobile devices and all newly produced mobile devices. The utilization of a preexisting technology for the product interface works to reduce the overall amount of product development time due to the fact that the coding already exists for the different platforms, requiring the specific code for the application itself to be input for direct correlation.

Third Party Participation

Third party participation refers to the participation of other individuals and companies outside of S-Global. At this time, it is anticipated that a strategic relationship will be present with VodaFone, Google, and Apple for the use of their value added services, specifically for the use of downloading software from networks and to be purchased through their stores.

Security

The program will be secured against intrusion within the code itself, and the program must be purchased in order to function as it will be necessary for individuals to log in to access the different databases and systems, connecting their specific account to the software, thus ensuring that the software cannot be downloaded and used illegally without serious modification to the code and to the database to which the software connects. The databases will be created by the coders at the time the code is written. Servers must be purchased and it is recommended that c-Panel/WHM be used as the control panel. The coders will have access to the databases they have created and have access to the code of the software written. Network administrators will be responsible for and have access to the servers themselves, the control panels, the databases, and will be responsible for the basic security of the servers themselves, which will include ensuring that the servers, their drivers, hardware, control panels, and access levels all remain up to date and that only those who should have access will have access to the servers themselves. Furthermore, these are the only individuals who will have access to the software, databases, and servers themselves, with their level of access being dependent on their necessity.

Production Flexibility

The production of the software is somewhat flexible, as when designing any new form of software it is well known that issues may arise during the coding process and the manner in which the code interacts with the different databases that it is designed to connect to. As such, the timeline for the completion of the production of the product is deemed tentative, or flexible. While every effort will be made in order to ensure that the timeline is met, it is understood that production will be flexible due to unforeseen bugs within the code.

Outsourcing

At this time there are no plans to outsource the development of the software to any other companies, countries, or individuals. All production design will be done in house, with distribution being accomplished through the different partnerships with online application purchasing programs as previously identified.

Production Planning, Scheduling, and Purchasing

Production planning refers to the plan that is set in place for production of the application. Scheduling refers to the schedule that has been set forth to produce the product, and purchasing refers to the materials that must be purchased for production to commence. It is necessary to have realistic goals in relation to each of these different aspects as a result of the fact that certain items may not be immediately acquired, etc. Having reasonable expectations is essential in product production. At this time it is expected that the first application will be available for purchase within 7-8 months. With this timeline in mind at 4 months in to the project, when there is a good indication that the completion of the code remains on schedule, the production planning team shall start to coordinate the release of the product to the sites that will sell the software app; as the only item to be produced is the application itself, the traditional concerns associated with production are not present. The production planning team will be responsible for scheduling the rollout and release of the app and working to drum up additional support for the app through a targeted marketing campaign. Again, as the product is a coded application, there will be little purchasing that will be necessary in the completion of the project, however any purchasing needed by the coders or developers will need to be brought to the attention of the production team within a reasonable time frame.

Backups

Server backups will be setup by the network admins and will be on an automated schedule, stored in a remote location to ensure that should something happen at the primary data center, the backup content is still available. The company will look into whether they want the servers stored in one of their other facilities, whether they wish to use a traditional hosting provider to back up the content, or whether they wish to rely on one of the many cloud services offered in order to ensure that their data remains secure and confidential and safe. Backups will be taken during development of the application and will be taken on a daily basis once the application goes live. This ensures that all testing, debugging, etc. will not cause a loss of potentially valuable code while at the same time working to ensure the company’s investment.

Conclusion

In working to understand the different aspects of product discovery, the management of resources and requirements, potential re-engineering, process design, and process creation, it is possible to not only manage the production of the product successfully, but to stay within the designated time frames for the completion and production of the product. Software design is not always easy, but the management thereof goes smoother than the production of many other products that require the physical manufacture of goods. With the appropriate management, the key component necessary for ensuring the successful completion of the project, it is anticipated that the application will be available for purchase before year’s end.

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