Informationsystems play a critical role in the modern business environment.There are several factors that influence how a business organizationwill benefit from an information system. One of the most importantfactors is the management of information system development project.This paper looks at the different aspects of information systemdevelopment that can have an influence on the significance of thesystem on a business organization. Some of the important aspects ofinformation system development project include involvement of thebusiness user in the development cycles, appropriate developmentmethodologies and aligning the development project with theorganizational goals and strategies.
Involvementof business user in information system development
Involvementof the business user in the information system development cycle hassignificant impacts on the project success. It is one of theessential ingredients for success because of the user input in allstages of system development. Studies have identified several reasonswhy a business user should be involved in the development cycles. Thefirst cycle of information system development is conducting afeasibility study and designing the information system. At thisstage, the business user can be involved in the identification of theexisting problems as well as the specific requirements of the newsystem. Since the system developers may not be familiar with theinformation systems in the organization, they may not be able toidentify the specific needs of the new systems relative to the oldsystem. Understanding the old system and its challenges in order todevelop solutions using the new system would require the developersto involve the business users (Sun, 2013). The project managersshould develop communication systems that facilitate the exchange ofinformation between the end user and the system developers at theinitial stages of system development. The end users can also beinvolved in the development cycle in making the methodologies easier.For example, the system developers can involve the business users inenhancing accessibility and certification of data and informationfrom secondary sources. The ease of user requirement identificationand the use of more appropriate methodologies are directly influencedby the level of end user involvement. Thus, the business user can beinvolved in the identification and selection of design methods andvalidate the functionality of the system (Ashmore, 2015).
Thebusiness user can also be involved in the organization of the systemfeatures into dialog boxes and menus. The user can play an importantrole in balancing between the simplification and workability aspectsof the system with the technical aspects. Traditionally, informationsystems development cycles did not consider basic aspects of userworking habits and how the system is applied in a specificenvironment by a specific user. Consequently, the business user wasleft struggling to find ways of manipulating the new system to makeit more reliable and easy to use (Sun, 2013). The user can beinvolved in the development cycle by incorporating his or her viewsand specific requirements. This eliminates possible conflicts betweenthe system developers and the end users due to the functionality ofthe new system. Additionally, the system development team is able touse information and data from the business user, understand the needsof the users and ensures that the users will not have challengesusing the new system. Another way through which the business user canbe involved in the development process is facilitating theunderstanding of the lexicon of the system. This is important if thesystem developer comes from outside the system environment because itensures that the same language is used in the new system. Usually,the business users are considered to be experts in the currentsystem, despite their lack of system development skills. In order tolearn the ordinary language which is essential in the functionalityof the system and its environment, the developer needs the inputs ofthe end user (Sun, 2013).
Thebusiness user should also be involved in the implementation andmaintenance phase of the system development. Generally, informationsystem development teams test a new system several times before theproject is considered to be complete. This ensures that system isworking as desired. However, the final word on the acceptability ofthe new system comes from the end user. The developers need to keepthe business user in the loop during the implementation and testingstages to incorporate their views and thoughts about the system. Moreimportantly, system development team has the responsibility ofproviding training to the business user (Sun, 2013).
Roleof software development methodologies in enhancing benefits
Theinformation system development methodologies adopted by thedevelopment team can be beneficial to the organization as well as thedevelopment of the project. This is because the ingredients ofsuccess or failure are determined by the software developmentmethodologies. The methodology influences the roles andcollaborations between the organization and the development team aswell as the role of end users and other stakeholders in thedevelopment cycles. The project management techniques and stylesadopted by the project manager are also determined by themethodology. The overall quality of the information system isdetermined by the methodology adopted. For example, a methodologythat does not incorporate unit tests, functionality tests and theinput of multiple stakeholders is likely to suffer from qualityissues. On the other hand, a test driven methodology is beneficial toboth the project and the organization because it results into ahigher quality system (Ashmore, 2015).
Agilemethodologies have been preferred in modern system developmentbecause they are more beneficial to the project and the organizationscompared to the traditional waterfall methodologies. The methodologyenables the system development team to evolve constantly with thechanging technical and functionality environment while focusing onthe overall organizational strategy. The benefits of the agilemethodology are based on the fact that it provides opportunities forthe development team to engage all the stakeholders in the project(Ashmore, 2015). The user is constantly involved in all stages ofthe system development creating opportunities for predictability ofdelivery and increased transparency. The agile methodology focuses onbusiness value and the real end users of the information system.Consequently, it is beneficial to the developers as well as theclients (Moran, 2015).
Aligninginformation system development projects to business strategies andgoals
Thedevelopment of an information system is influenced by theorganization demands and aims at supporting other systems that play arole in the achievement of the overall business goals and strategies.The basic question in system development is how the system willsupport the organization capability and business strategies(Issa-Salwe and Aloufi, 2011). Therefore, the project manager and thesystem development team have the responsibility of ensuring that thesystem is tied to the goals and objectives of the organization. Thebusiness strategy can be viewed as the long-term business plan thatthe organization seeks to achieve. Alignment of the systemdevelopment project to the business strategy of the organization canbe described as attempts that guarantee the system fits or isintegrated into the business strategy. This alignment is importantbecause it ensures that the system has contributed to the achievementof the goals and thus the success of the organization (Kekwaletswe &Mathebula, 2014).
Tofacilitate the alignment of the information system developmentproject with the overall business strategy in an organization, theproject manager should be involved in the business planning process.This will enable the business strategy to reap the maximum benefitsof the information system. For example, the planning team will beable to know the possible solutions that the system is likely toprovide. Additionally, a business executive should be involved inthe information system development project to align the system to thebusiness objectives and strategies. During the initial stages of thesystem development project, the project manager or the IT managershould be able to demonstrate how the system is connected to thebusiness strategy and goals in the organization (Issa-Salwe et al,2010). Constant review of the project plan is necessary to ensurethat it adapt to the changes in the organizational and businessenvironment. The planning of the project should ensure that theproject team works towards the achievement of the businessobjectives. For example, the project manager can set team target andperformance measures at different stages of the system development.It is important to note that the implementation of an informationsystem may require changes in operational structures and cultures inthe organization. However, this should be congruent to the businessstrategy (Issa-Salwe et al, 2010).
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