Case Study 1 – Stakeholder Analysis and Management
A manufacturing company had a system that collected all the safety and other test data and produced reports that were submitted to the government to gain approval to sell their product. The system was over 20 years old and was written in FORTRAN and assembly language. The users were perfectly happy with the system as it was. Upper-level management was concerned that the two people who were maintaining the system were getting on in years and would be retiring soon, leaving the company with no one to maintain the system. Without the system, the company could conceivably not be able to sell any new products. Clearly the problem did not belong to the users. They had no issues with a system that they had been using successfully for years. The assigned business analyst encountered resistance from the users that was supported by supervisory and union management. The users didn’t have the time to spend telling the business analysts what the system did and how it produced to reports for the government. The users did not need a new system or the trauma of change that comes with it. The two technicians maintaining the system were similarly too busy keeping the system running with changes to report formats and modifications to regulations and had long since lost touch with the programming and technology.
In this case, the specific problem owner was in the ranks of upper-level management and was not identified. The business analyst had orders from the top to define what the system did in such a way that the entire regulatory compliance system could be replaced by a new system written in Java or some other modern language with more modern technology. The users of the old system could care less about getting a new modern system, preferring the system they were used to, and were totally uncooperative. And there was a hard deadline: the day the last of the maintainers left the company for a well-earned retirement in the Florida Keys. If you were the business analyst in this situation, what would you do?
(Source: Blais 2012, p.116-117)
Analyse the above case study to answer the following questions.
- Where do the current users sit on the power/influence/interest diagram?
- Describe the strategy that you would apply to manage the stockholders in “uncooperative users” situation?
Hint: Read the materials in pages 106-114 of your textbook to work out the answers.
Case Study 2 – Business Case
Stylish Builders is a building company that designs and constructs residential houses for customers. They build houses with custom designs according to customer requirements. Their cost of building is substantially higher than that of volume builders who build houses based a fixed range of house models. The company comprise a number of departments such as finance, customer service, engineering & design, construction, logistics, marketing. Each department is headed by a manager who is responsible for managing performance of the employees in that department. There are one or more teams working in each department, each of the teams being led by a team leader. The departments like to work independently and focus on their departmental goals rather than the company goals giving rise to departmental silos. This situation has resulted in lack of coordination, collaboration and information sharing among the teams across departments. Recently they have been facing higher customer demands because of their brand reputation. Due to excessive customer demands, it is taking too long to complete jobs such designing buildings, signing contracts, and completing construction projects leading to a long backlog of tasks which could potentially undermine the company’s reputation.
The top management has recently launched a business improvement project to restructure the organisation, improve the business processes, and diversify employee skills so that the teams can work more efficiently towards achieving the company goal. A business analyst employed by the top management has come up with a business case which includes the following business improvement options.
- De-layer the organisation so that front-line staff has more autonomy in decision making.
- Removing silos in the company so that customer service, engineering & design, construction, logistics and marketing teams can collaborate and share information more easily without needing the approval of their managers.
- Launching a cloud-based ERP system to enhance collaboration and communication among the teams.
- Re-skilling the front-line staff to become generalists to work in many different roles as needs arise.
Analyse the above case study to answer the following questions.
- What tangible and intangible costs would the business improvement options involve? Discuss with brief explanations.
- If implemented successfully, what tangible and intangible benefits would the business improvement options deliver? Discuss with brief explanations.
- Identify the impacts of the business improvement options.
Hint: Read the materials in pages 170-175 of your textbook to work out the answers.
Case Study 3 – Analysing Requirements
Verbatim is an online retailer that sells products through their company website. Their website and internal IT system is outdated. Their customers now-a-days are finding it difficult to browse products and order them through the company website. Also there have been issues with delivering products on time to the customers. The retailer has employed a business analyst to understand the problems and find solutions for business improvement. The business analyst elicited requirements from various stakeholders and compiled a requirement list. Some of the requirements in the requirement list are as follows.
- Need to outsource the IT system.
- The product information on the website is outdated.
- The website must have customer registration, password change, and password recovery facility.
- Online transactions should take less time to process.
- The order fulfilment system must alert of the deliveries due in two days.
- The website must show up-to-date information.
Analyse the above requirements and check for irrelevant, overlapping, conflicting, duplicate and ambiguous requirements. Also check whether the requirements are outlining business requirements or solutions.
Based on your analysis, provide comments on the quality of each of these requirements.
- Read the materials in pages 196-200 of your textbook to work out the answers.