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Stages of project development

The construction of a new information system follows five stages, each of these stages are linked and form the development process of the new system.

The stages:

Whilst the "design as you go" approach may work on small or very simple projects, it can be a disaster for more complicated projects. In order to overcome this problem a methodical and structured process is needed. These five stages of planning designing and implementation of a new system are set out below.

Understanding the problem The first stage of the process, understanding the purpose and identifying changes that may be made to an existing system. Identify and communicate with participants in the current system. Suggest the use of a requirements prototype to clarify participants understanding.
Planning The second stage involves the conducting of feasibility studies (economic, technical and operational). The nature of the problem is clearly described in a report and recommendations are made to management as to whether the proposed solution is practicable. A project plan is developed.
Designing This third stage involves the documentation of the development of a solution to the new system. A prototype may be used to help clarify the solution to the participant. System design tools can also be used to explain the solution, for example; context diagrams, data flow diagrams, decision trees, decision tables, data dictionaries, storyboards.
Implementing This stage involves the acquistion of information technology and making it operational. Additionally, decisions are made on how the new system will be implemented. An implementation plan is developed setting out clearly:
  • support for the participants of the new system through training,
  • methods of testing the new system,
  • how data will be converted for the new system,
  • the process for conversion from the old system to the newly designed system, and
  • steps in an operation manual/s.
Testing, evaluating and maintaining This stage is the most important; users begin to use the new system and the performance of which is tested against the design specifications. The maintenance of the new system is important through the training of participants and the reviewing of the operation manual/s. Modifications may be made to parts of the system if problems are identified.
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