Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
Develop an information system model for a system of your own choice. The aim is to get you to apply many of the system analysis and modelling techniques discussed and illustrated in lectures and tutorials to a real, or at least realistic, case of non-trivial but still reasonable and do-able complexity.
Choosing your system As stated in the Introduction, the choice of which system to analyse and model is up to you. However, here are some rough guidelines to assist you in your choice: 1 Try to choose a system for an area or application about which you know a considerable amount or about which you are in a position to find out what you need to know. Examples might be a system related to your current work (if you are presently employed) or previous work experience, a hobby or interest that you have, or perhaps a system that you or a colleague or friend needs. My experience in running earlier versions of this course shows unambiguously that this assignment will work best (and you will learn the most from it) if you choose to analyse and develop a model for a system that relates to the “real” world in some way, rather than one that is completely fictional and invented entirely “within your own head”. 2 Try to choose a system of a reasonable size and level of complexity. This will probably be hard to judge initially, but it is generally better to choose a system that is more likely to turn out to be too big or complex rather than one that may turn out to be too small or simple. The reason for this is that, if your choice does turn out to be too big or complex, you can always reduce the scope of your intended system or choose to model only part of it. On the other hand, if your choice turns out to be too simple and small to form a useful assignment exercise, it is generally harder to expand it to make it more suitable as a worthwhile learning experience as well as the basis for an acceptable assignment submission. Although we won’t discuss these metrics until mid-way through the course (so they will be less useful to you at the beginning), one useful indicator of size and complexity of a project is the number of entities in its data model. If this turns out to be somewhere around 6-8 for your project then you probably have a suitably sized system for this assignment, although these numbers should definitely not be treated as hard limits. However, if the number of entities in your data model is significantly fewer than 6 then the model is probably too small and simple to be a useful learning exercise; and if it is many more than 8 then it is probably starting to get too large to feasibly tackle. Another indicator is the number of levels you find yourself going down to in your DFD hierarchy. If this is more than two for the first few processes you decompose, and there are more than about seven processes on your level 0 diagram, then your chosen system is highly likely to be too big and you may have to reduce its scope or simply leave parts of the model incomplete.
Your tasks and deliverables:
Your first deliverable for the assignment is a project proposal. In this, you are to outline the system you intend to analyse in your project, making sure you include enough background and other information to enable your reader to gain a good understanding what the system and project are going to be about. What you provide here will eventually form the basis for the first section of your final assignment report.