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Agile Project Management for End User Information Systems Development

Agile Project Management for End User Information Systems Development

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Published by Angela Chock
This is a brief research report investigating the agile method and its application to end user information systems development.
This is a brief research report investigating the agile method and its application to end user information systems development.

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Published by: Angela Chock on Oct 08, 2009
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Agile Project Management for End User InformationSystems DevelopmentAngela Marie Leilani ChockDecember 18, 2007University of Maryland, University College
 
What is End User Information Systems Development?
There are many ways to define end user information systems development. Originally,end user applications were created to optimize workplace performance for individual,groups, and departments. The development process for end user applications includedimplementing, managing, and supporting computing in the workplace by the end user rather than technical professionals in the information systems (IS) department (Regan &O’Connor, 2004).The Organizational Systems Research Association (OSRA) defined enduser information systems (EUIS) as the application of information technologies tosupport business processes and individual performance with the objective of improvingoverall organizational effectiveness in direct support of business goals andstrategies(Regan & O’Connor, 2004). Other definitions of end user computing included“the use of computers by knowledge workers without the direct intervention of  professional systems analysts and programmers” (Regan & O’Connor, 2004). In thisreport, end user information systems and end user applications are defined as informationtechnology solutions applied to solve organizational and business problems or improveworkplace productivity.When end users create or modify software artifacts to perform their specific businessfunctions and tasks, they tend to use available software applications tailored to their needs (Costabile, et. al, 2004). These “tailoring” activities and decisions include:1.)Customization – The users set parameters and choose among alternative behaviors (presentation or interaction mechanisms) to customize or  personalize their applications (Costabile, et. al, 2004).2.)End User Programming – The users create or modify a software artifact usinga programming paradigm (Costabile, et. al, 2004). Visual programming andmacro creation are an example of this type of activity (Costabile, et. al, 2004).3.)Simplified Software Development Lifecycle – End user developers tend tofavor a more simplified software development lifecycle and make trade-off decisions between ease of use and expressiveness over complexity (Costabile,et. al, 2004).4.)“Less is More” Planning – Users tend to keep the system easy to learn andeasy to work with only a limited number of features. Only those features thatare absolutely essential are available at certain intervals in the developmentlifecycle for users to evaluate (Costabile, et. al, 2004). The system evolvesover time and new functionalities are included on an as needed basis(Costabile, et. al, 2004).
 
End User Information Systems (EUIS): A Field Of Study
End user development is a very important topic in today’s work environment.As a field of study, EUIS is relatively new. It is distinguished from other forms of computing because of the emphasis placed on the application of information technologyto the needs of individuals, groups, and departments. EUIS is an interdisciplinary fieldthat combines organizational development theory with information technology. Itencompasses the following broad areas (Regan & O’Connor, 2004):
Productivity tools for knowledge workers
Work group computing
End user development
End user training
End user support – a help desk, information center 
Knowledge management/performance support
Human factors and ergonomics
Business process and job re-design
Change management
Project ManagementEUIS is highly interactive and evolves from loosely structured text, data analysis, andcommunication requirements (Regan & O’Connor, 2004). It requires flexibility for handling exceptions and changes which makes it appropriate for individual anddepartmental processing. It meets users need for a quick response and offers cost-effective solutions for applications that do not have volumes high enough to warrant theexpense (Regan & O’Connor, 2004).
The Scope of the Report
This report will focus primarily on the nature of EUIS development and the mostappropriate method to manage a EUIS project. The remainder of the report is organizedwith a discussion on the growth and maturity stages of EUIS development, decisionsregarding expansion or control of EUIS projects, and the application of agile methods for managing EUIS projects.

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