Discuss Common Criteria for Deciding Whether to Buy or Build a Software Solution. How Should Managers Choose Whether to Use Off-the-Shelf Software? Which Criteria Would Be Among the Most Important?

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  • Topic: Project management, Systems Development Life Cycle, Management
  • Pages : 6 (1964 words )
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  • Published : February 12, 2011
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Discuss common criteria for deciding whether to buy or build a software solution. How should managers choose whether to use off-the-shelf software? Which criteria would be among the most important?

Common criteria for deciding whether to buy or build a software solution would be to take a look at the System Development Life Cycle; Planning, Analysis, Design, and Implementation. Planning or initiation include a business problem, request for proposal, request for quote, and proposal/quote ie. first go/no go decision. Analysis or logistics of implementation include business requirements, technical requirements, and data requirements, and GAP analysis which helps a company compare actual performance with potential performance. Design includes logical/physical, technical specs, process flow/data flow, system architecture, data design, screen layouts, and navigation map/flow. Once these criteria are examined and the complexity is determined, a decision can then be made to buy or build a software solution. Implementation is turning it into a working system that has been tested and put into use including documentation, training procedures, support capabilities, and associated updates. A manager’s selection for off-the-shelf software can be established by deciding if the criteria of cost, functionality, vendor support, viability of vendor, flexibility, documentation, response time, and ease of installation will be greater and a smoother transition than producing an in-house software solution. The two most important aspects of purchasing an off-the-shelf software are vendor support and vendor viability. If a manager chose to produce in-house software, the support is a constant in that the programmers who created the software are available at any time, and know the ‘in’s and out’s of the software’, whereas if there is no vendor support from the purchased software you are taking a gamble which may prove unwise, and the credibility of the manager is no longer. Cost, functionality, flexibility, and documentation are criteria that depends primarily on the specific situation, ie. budget, and needs.

Discuss the four phases involved in managing a project. Compare and contrast these phases with the SDLC. Explain any differences.

Managing projects of all shapes and sizes requires a fluid, nonlinear framework that has applications across all essential elements of project planning. The four-phase process that suggests how to allow for readjustment between the phases are initiate, plan, execute, and evaluate. Initiate, this first project management phase, the preliminary work is done to clarify the problem or opportunity and how a solution would look. All interested parties are consulted and the project scope – what is in and what is out – is clarified as well as initial costs and timelines. Plan, determines whether the proposed project will be of real benefit to the organization. If it is, the project is approved and more detailed planning starts. Business benefits, project objectives, requirements, governance, scope and project management methods are agreed. The Project Manager draws up the detailed project schedule and task and budget allocations. Execute, project stakeholders are interviewed to ascertain the detailed requirements, possible solutions are discussed and decided upon. Next, the solution is designed, built and finally implemented. Project management activities in this phase also include managing the project budget and schedule, reporting project progress, communicating with stakeholders and responding to project risks, issues and proposed changes. Evaluate, The purpose of this final phase is to determine whether the project was a success and what was learned can be gleaned and applied to future projects ie., did the project deliver on time, within budget and to scope and quality requirements? Comparing the four phases in managing a project; initiate, plan, execute, evaluate with the SDLC phases; Plan,...
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