A Systems Analysis, Design, and Development Case Study: Williams Bros. Appliances Inventory & Point-of-Sale System

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case is Systems Analysis, Design, and Development. For Systems Analysis and Design students, this case provides a realistic, and fairly common, scenario that will require developing process and data models as well as user interface designs for the client. Furthermore, students in a Systems Development capstone course can use this scenario to develop an entire application from the ground up. The case has a difficulty level between three and four, appropriate for junior and senior level students. As a Systems Analysis and Design project, it will require approximately 12-15 hours to complete, outside of the normal course time to discuss process modeling, data modeling, and user interface design. As a Systems Development capstone project, it will require approximately 20-25 hours to complete. Students can examine Interview Notes and realistic document images. Teaching notes are also provided, with a proposed solution using UML.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Dr. Thomas Waggoner, an information systems professor at the local university, has just received a phone call from his friend, Ted Williams, co-owner with his brother Will of Williams Bros. Appliances in River Falls, Iowa. Ted is extremely frustrated with their current slow, manual method of processing sales and tracking inventory, and is afraid that they are losing sales because of it. Ted explains what he needs and Dr. Waggoner thinks that this will be a great project for his students. He makes an appointment with Ted to get a better understanding of the initial requirements. He then begins organizing the students in his Systems Analysis and Design class and his capstone class in System Development to see if they can develop a solution for the Williams Bros'.

TEACHING NOTES CASE PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this case study is to provide an opportunity for students to apply systems analysis and design theory and modeling techniques in a semi-realistic environment. Furthermore, it offers students in a system development course an opportunity to experience a situation very similar to what they might see in a consulting engagement. The interview notes and supporting documents provided in the case offer an added sense of reality.

METHODOLOGY

This case is based on the author's own consulting experiences. The system was developed for an appliance store very similar to the one discussed, the names and identifying information having been changed. This particular consulting engagement offers students a small but realistic opportunity to analyze, design, and develop an inventory and point of sale system for an organization that should be somewhat familiar to them. This case study has been used by the author in a systems analysis and design course with great success.

TEACHING SUGGESTIONS

This case is designed to be a major project for the semester. In my systems development courses a group of 4-5 students would work on a project of this size for most of the semester, with the requirement that it had to be completed in order to receive credit for the class. …