The Mywick Residential Rental Property Management System Case

Topics: Renting, Property, Leasing Pages: 14 (5183 words) Published: January 9, 2011
This paper describes a project suitable for use in an upper division course requiring the completion of analysis, design and implementation of a software system. It is especially useful for illustrating multiple cycles through the development process, as well as for integrating key concepts from a number of fundamental knowledge clusters in a typical undergraduate IS program of study. These knowledge clusters include database management, project management, programming principles, and system analysis and design. In the pilot class, students employed use case analysis as well as standard object-oriented techniques such as class diagrams and sequence diagrams. Students followed a modified version of the Team Software Process, with special attention paid to the postmortem following each of two cycles. Teaching tools included the use of a special email address allowing students to converse with the "client." Keywords: iterative development, team process, software development, object-oriented analysis and design, database application, programming, and triage 1. BACKGROUND

The Mywick Residential Rental Property Management System case was designed for use in a capstone project course for undergraduate information systems (IS) majors. As such it is particularly useful in classes where a completed team software system is required. It was designed to elicit the development of a front-end data entry and reporting system, as well as a companion back-end database system. Students are expected to engage in analysis, design, and implementation using object-oriented techniques (Dennis, 2002). This case is also useful in teaching the need to set system priorities. The concept of triage (Yourdon, 1999) is better understood within the context of a case requiring that choices be made. While oriented towards a completed system, this case may also be useful in a standard database or system analysis and design course where students do not actually implement or write code. 2. THE CASE

2.1 Context
Ms. Jane Mywick is a real estate owner who has owned and rented residential units of duplexes and 4-plexes to individuals and to families for about 15 years. She currently owns 12 properties, each with 2-4 units. She expects that her real estate holdings may grow to as many as 15 properties, but very gradually over several years. Her tenants tend to be of modest income, many of whom receive rent subsidy from federal agencies or other resources, such as parents. Her philosophy towards collection of rent tends to emphasize collecting the rent for the current month, encouraging tenants to pay their rent on time and to avoid falling behind. Most of what follows has been gleaned from a single interview with Ms. Mywick. Follow-up questions may be sent by each team's leader to Ms. Mywick. 2.2 Problem Statement

Management of residential rental property requires tracking several aspects of income and expenses by tenant, by unit, by property and in aggregate. Ms. Mywick currently uses Quick Books to track expenses, but rents are tracked manually. As a result, she is unable to see where she stands with respect to unpaid rents and total income for tax filing. Several off-the-shelf rental property management packages are currently available but most try to satisfy all possible property management requirements. The result is a product that is overly complex for Ms. Mywick's purposes and actually adds to her work load. For example, several are oriented around an on-site property manager who enters payments and issues receipts on the spot. Ms. Mywick is an absentee property  manager who receives checks from tenants via regular mail. Also Ms. Mywick often receives partial payments for rent. So Ms. Mywick would like for you to develop a system to track rents. In the past, Ms. Mywick has tried several methods for tracking rents including paper grids, one per unit, and a similar approach in Excel where one spreadsheet was generated for each unit....
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