Overview of Approach to Management Information System (MIS) Design A classical systems and software engineering approach is recommended to assure the development of a management information system that is fully responsive to a client's performance objectives and resource constraints. This approach includes the following major components: o Systems analysis, which includes information needs assessment, requirements analysis, and requirements specification o Systems design, which includes synthesis of alternatives, cost-effectiveness analysis of alternatives, specification of criteria for selecting a preferred alternative, selection of a preferred alternative, top-level design, and detailed design o Systems implementation, which includes forms development, specification of data collection and entry procedures, development of editing and quality control procedures, software coding and testing, development of training materials and training, integration of the software components with other system components (e.g., personnel, communications, data transfer and assembly, report preparation and distribution, feedback), and system-level testing o Systems operation and support, which includes not only routine operating procedures but also provision for on-going system financing and management, quality control, software maintenance and updating, personnel training, and system maintenance and improvement (including periodic review of system performance and diagnosis and correction of problems) While the preceding system development phases are completed in sequence, there is some time overlap between them. The following paragraphs discuss aspects of each of the above major components. Our approach to management information system design is based on the modern
software/system engineering discipline, which consists of structured analysis and structured design (top-down design). (See the list of references for several books on the modern systems and software engineering discipline.) The first step in an MIS development task is the development of an MIS management plan, which describes the major tasks and schedule of work for the MIS activity.
Systems analysis includes a review of the present information system to assess its capabilities and shortcomings; specification of system goals, objectives, and constraints; a survey of potential system users to assess their information needs; identification and analysis of alternative system concepts; specification a system concept; and system requirements analysis and specification. This phase includes an analysis of major system functions and the development of a system architecture (identification of the major system components and their interrelationships). Heavy emphasis is placed on end-user requirements. It is essential to involve the end-user in the system requirements activity, to insure the development of a system that is fully...