Personnel Estimates

The stockroom personnel will also need information about the business. Each design describes output to be produced by the system, such as inventory reports, sales analyses, purchasing summaries, and invoices. The systems analysts will actually decide which outputs to use, as well as how to produce them.

Analysis specifies what the system should do. Design states how to accomplish the objective. Notice that each of the processes mentioned involves people. Managers and employees have good ideas about what works and what does not, about what flows smoothly and what causes problems, about where change is needed and where it is not, and especially about where change will be accepted and where it will not. Despite technology, people are still the keys that make the organizations work. Thus, communicating and dealing with people are very important parts of the systems analyst’s job.

In many organizations, steering (also called operating committees, operating councils, or project selection boards) supervise the review of project proposal. The steering committee typically consists of key managers from various departments of the organization, as well as members of the information systems group. However, systems specialists do not dominate the committee. The information systems steering committee referred to in “The Good Old Days of Information Systems”.

A typical seven to ten – person committee would consist of the following membership:

  1. Upper – management members:

Executive Vice president

Vice President for manufacturing

  1. Departmental management:

Manager of retail marketing

Credit manager

  1. Technical managers:

Manager of research and development

Quality control coordinator

  1. Information system group:

Data processing manager

Senior systems analyst

The committee receives proposals and evaluated them. The major responsibility of the committee is to make a decision, which often requires more information than the proposal provides, therefore, a preliminary investigation, is often requested to gather those details.

The steering – committee method brings high respectability and visibility to the review of project proposals. The committee consists of managers with the responsibility and the authority to decide which projects are in the best interest of the entire firm.

Because several levels of management are included on the committee, members can have informed discussions on matters relating to day – to – day operations (treating patients, ordering materials, or hiring staff members) and long – range plans (new facilities, new programs) that many have a bearing on the project request. The managers provide practical information and insight about operations and long – term development. Systems specialists on the committee provide technical and developmental information that is useful in reaching decisions about project management.

The steering committee approach is often favored because systems projects are business investments. Management, not systems analysts or designers, selects projects for development, decisions are made on the basis of the cost of the project, its benefit to the organization, and the feasibility of accomplishing the development within the limits of information systems technology in the organization.

This is the method used by Peter Wallington’s employer in “The Good Old Days of Information systems”.

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