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BY: CAJURAO, JASPER

STRUCTURED SYSTEMS ANALYSIS METHODOLOGY For many years systems analysts applied the scientific method to problem solving in a traditional way, defining the outputs of a system and describing how the information would be processed. This could be a difficult and time-consuming effort because it required spending many hours preparing flow charts and writing lengthy textual descriptions of the information-handling process. Flow charts were a major tool of the systems analyst for many years. This was an unstructured way of describing steps in a solution. Virtually all problems were perceived as being sequential and linear in nature. The traditional systems analysis methodology became inadequate, however, as businesses and organizations undertook solving more complex and interrelated problems. The task of describing all inputs, outputs, processing steps and contacts with vendors , customers, programmers, managers, and others, using only flowcharts and textual narratives was too difficult. A new method for solving system problems and describing their solutions was developed by Larry Constantine, Edward Yourdon, Chris Gane, Trish Sarson, and others. This methodology, known as structured systems analysis, replaced lengthy textual descriptions with diagrams that substituted words for figures and flowlines for written narratives. Structured analysis enabled analysts to visualize a system graphically, as an interrelated group of elements, rather than merely as a sequence of steps. Thus, it became possible to visualize an overall system and its structure in a clearer form. Structured systems analysis has become the preferred method of analyzing and describing systems.

Figure 3.5 Structured systems analysis

SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT LIFE CYCLE (SDLC) Systems analysts have refined the scientific method into a logical strategy that can be applied to many kinds of problems. The five phases are somewhat arbitrary and often overlap. Some analysts prefer to view the process as having six or more phases.

The Systems development life cycle (SDLC), or Software development process in systems engineering, information systems and software engineering, is a process of creating or altering information systems, and the models and methodologies that people use to develop these systems. In software engineering the SDLC concept underpins many kinds of software development methodologies. These methodologies form the framework for planning and controlling the creation of an information system: the software development process. History The systems life cycle (SLC) is a methodology used to describe the process for building information systems, intended to develop information systems in a very deliberate, structured and methodical way, reiterating each stage of the life cycle. The systems development life cycle, according to Elliott & Strachan & Radford (2004), "originated in the 1960's,to develop large scale functional business systems in an age of large scale business conglomerates. Information systems activities revolved around heavy data processing and number crunching routines". Several systems development frameworks have been partly based on SDLC, such as the structured systems analysis and design method(SSADM) produced for the UK government Office of Government Commerce in the 1980s. Ever since, according to Elliott (2004), "the traditional life cycle approaches to systems development have been increasingly replaced with alternative approaches and frameworks, which attempted to overcome some of the inherent deficiencies of the traditional SDLC".

PLANNING PHASE In the planning phase, analysts recognize, diagnose, and define the problem. During this phase, they may conduct a study to assess and overall scope of the problem and determine whether more money and time should be expended in solving it. They prepare a plan of attack and select the individuals who will direct a project or serve on a committee. This phase lays the groundwork for further study and the stages that will follow. ANALYSIS PHASE During the analysis phase, the analyst reviews data and information on the in-placesystem. He or she takes measurements, conducts audits, gathers information, interviews individuals, samples work, and documents the kinds and types of information to be processed by the system. The objective is to clearly understand the present system, learn what is needed, and discover the shortcomings or faults that must be corrected or modified.