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Feasibility Analysis for a Software Project

Dr. Pedro Mejia Alvarez
Seccion de Computacion, CINVESTAV-IPN

Feasibility Analysis
“A measure of how beneficial or practical the development of a software system will be to an organization. This analysis recurs throughout the life cycle.”

Feasibility Checkpoints
“creeping commitment approach”
Existing System Planned Project

Planning

Support

Analysis

Production System

Business Requirements

Implementation

Technical Design

Design

Existing System

Planning

Planned Project

Support

Analysis

Production System

Business Requirements Implementation Design

Technical Design

Feasibility Checkpoints

• systems analysis -- study
– urgency? rough cost estimate

• systems analysis -- definition
– clearer scope, refined cost estimate

• systems design -- selection
– adjust scope, schedule, costs

• systems design -- procurement
– option check before letting contracts

• systems design -- detail design
– one last chance to cancel or downsize

Existing System

Planning

Planned Project

Support

Analysis

Production System

Business Requirements Implementation Design

Technical Design

Feasibility Analysis

• Technical
– can system be developed?

• Operational
– can organization absorb the change?

• Economic
– what is business justification?

• Schedule
– can system be implemented in time available?

People People Technology Technology

Technical Feasibility

• Is the technology or solution practical? • Do we currently possess the necessary technology? • Do we possess the necessary technical expertise?

People People

Operational Feasibility

• Is the problem worth solving? • Will the solution to the problem work? • How do the end-users and managers feel about the problem (or solution)?

People People

Schedule Feasibility

• Can the project deadlines be met? • What will it cost to accelerate development?

Economic Analysis
• Cost estimates
– acquisition or development costs – operation and maintenance costs

• Benefit estimates
– tangible benefits – intangible benefits

Estimating Costs
• acquisition or development (one time) • operation and support (ongoing) • in these expense categories
– – – – personnel hours computer usage media and supplies equipment and software

Estimating Acquisition Cost
• Shop the Vendors (informal) • Request for Proposal (RFP) • Request for Quote (RFQ)

Estimating Development Cost
• break project up into tasks
– estimate SDLC tasks independently

• use life cycle cost model
– e.g., 1-3-3-3 model

• take advantage of analogy/experience
– how much have similar projects cost?

• calculate function point metric
– estimate “size” of project from inputs, outputs, etc. – apply productivity rate

Estimating Operation and Support
• • • • client/user personnel technical personnel media and supplies equipment and software support
– repair – enhancement

Estimating Tangible Benefits
• reduced costs
– manual operations – computer operations – programmed decisions

• increased revenue
– – – – – new services differentiated product faster delivery better quality larger market share

Estimating Intangible Benefits
• information quality
– – – – precision timeliness integration presentation

• job satisfaction
– participative design – job enrichment – improved tools

• external standing
– responsiveness – corporate image

Economic Analysis (continued)
• traditional capital planning techniques apply
– payback analysis – return on investment – net present value

Jna 19 a u ry 9 6

Payback Analysis
• determines how long it will take for accrued benefits to overtake accrued and continuing costs
– most companies want quick payback – 3-5 years is typical

%

Return on Investment (ROI)

• determines the lifetime profitability of different investments
– ROI = (benefits - costs) / costs) – Annual ROI is common measure

Net Present Value (NPV)
• determines the lifetime profitability of different investments
– NPV = discounted benefits - discounted costs – Preferred technique in many organizations

Feasibility Matrix
Characteristics Option 1
(mainframe)

Option 2
(surround)

Option 3
(client server)

Technical Operational

Low risk, No problems Strong user resistence

Moderate risk, Some IS staff are ready High user acceptance $180,000 3.2 years Aug 95

High risk, IS staff needs more training High user acceptance $320,000 3 years Oct 95

Economic (NPV) $220,000 2.5 years (Payback) Schedule Jun 95

Benefit Profile Chart (for documenting intangibles)
Better Communication Current Market Information Better Teamwork Higher User Satisfaction x x Some Improvement x Significant Improvement New Benefit

x