1) Briefly describe the elements of a business case for a new information systems project under the SDLC methodology.
The primary purpose for implementing a new information system project is to meet the customer expectations regarding the scope and requirements of the project while also completing the project within the schedule allotted and the budgetary constraints outlined in the cost estimates. This is accomplished by following effective and efficient business practices to not only ensure best practices are being followed but provide an environment that is best suited for project success. The SDLC methodology provides a very deliberate process built around the core functionalities outlined in information system development. The benefit of utilizing the SDLC methodology revolves around providing a structured environment to define the project, gather requirements, analyze and design the solution, build, implement, train and sustain the system. Each phase incorporates a level of management and control to ensure quality and the successful development and implementation of the requirements for the project.
2) Describe the role of the vendor for each of the three phases of the purchasing life cycle.
The vendor plays a very distinct and important role in the purchasing lifecycle. The three phases revolve around researching the item which will be purchased, deciding the vendor to provide that product or service and finally making the purchase. The vendor is there to provide a specific product or service and the role of the vendor in the first phase is to showcase their goods and services as to show the buyer that their product/service meets or exceeds the needs of the client. Once this phase is completed and the vendor is actually in the running for the contract or purchase they must compete with other vendors providing the same or similar goods or services. At this point the vendor must show how their product provides a competitive advantage or other advantageous reason for the client to select their product. During the final phase where the client selects the product there is a role that needs to be filled by the vendor regarding support, implementation and sustainment efforts that could be necessary for a successful project implementation.
3) What are the trade-offs in a make-or-buy decision?
When deciding to either design and implement a system solution or purchase the solution from a vendor can be a daunting task and understanding the trade-offs are imperative. The initial trade-off is the risk/reward of ownership. If developed in-house the product is the owned solely by the company and this allows for customized software that is designed specifically for the company’s requirements. Another trade-off is the cost which is the total acquisition cost of the product. This is the cost to implement through the entire SDLC process. The schedule and time allotted for the project is also a trade-off. The in-house development could take much longer than an out of the box solution designed by a company solely focused on developing that specific type of software solution.
4) Describe the importance of documentation under an SDLC methodology.
Documentation during the SDLC methodology is critical to the success of the project. Each phase of the lifecycle require specific inputs and outputs to push through the tollgates and progress the effort toward completion. The documentation shows what efforts have been accomplished and how they were completed. This provides the baseline for future development and facilitates the testing and implementation of the new information system. When designing the information system the design and build of the system must be replicated in multiple instances in order to develop, test, accept and move the system into a production environment. Without documentation resources would be wasted on recreation of requirements, errors would occur and there would not be a standardized implementation across the information technology environments which would lead to missed requirements and faulty test results.
5) What is an RFP, and what critical tasks does it facilitate in the purchasing process?
A RFP, or request for proposal, is a request from the buyer to a set of vendors establishing a communication between parties and allows information to be traded between the supplier and buyer. This is normally a solicitation for a quote or estimate on a preliminary set of requirements set forth by the buyers. This established a framework for what the buyers want to purchase and what the vendor can provide as well as the schedule and cost associated with meeting the requirements of the buyer. This opens up the communication, establishes the requirements for procurement, allows a response on those requirements from the vendor and sets the stage for the evaluation and selection process for vendor selection.
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