In this milestone, you will prepare a Request for System Services Form, which is the trigger for the Preliminary Investigation Phase. Also, you will use fact-finding techniques to extract and analyze information from an interview to determine project scope, level of management commitment, and project feasibility for the Equipment Check-Out System (ECS). With these facts and facts obtained from the Case Background, you will have the necessary information to complete the Problem Statement Matrix. Refer to the ECS Case Introduction in the Case Project page.
After completing this milestone, you should be able to:
• Complete a Request for System Services form, which triggers the preliminary investigation phase.
• Analyze a user interview and extract pertinent facts, which can be used to assess project feasibility.
• Complete a “Problem Statement Matrix documenting the problems, opportunities, or directives of the project.
Before starting this milestone, the following topics should be covered:
• The scope definition phase — Chapters 3 and 5
• Project management (optional) — Chapter 4
The Maintenance Department receives computing support from the GB Manufacturing Information Systems Services Department (ISS). You are to assume that you work as a systems analyst with ISS.
You have been asked by Dan Stantz to analyze and design the Equipment Depot system to manage equipment check-in and check-out. In this assignment you first need to assist Dan Stantz in preparing a “Request for Systems Services.” Secondly, by analyzing the interview transcripts, you will determine the feasibility of the project, level of management commitment, and project scope by using fact-finding techniques and the necessary communication skills to compose the “Problem Statement Matrix.”
Mr. Stantz was gracious enough to allow us to record our interview session, and Exhibit 1.1 is a copy of the transcripts. Refer to the “Case Background” above and to the interview transcript in Exhibit 1.1 for the information necessary to complete the following activities.
1. To complete the Request for System Services Form, use information from the
case background. Make assumptions where necessary.
2. To complete the Problem Statement Matrix Form, use the interview with Dan
Stantz and the case background for the basis of your information. Make assumptions where necessary. Place yourself in the shoes of Mr. Stantz. Which problems do you believe have the highest visibility, and how should they be ranked? Try to determine the annual benefits. State assumptions and be prepared to justify your answers! Finally, what would be your proposed solution based on the facts you know now?
Deliverable format and software to be used are according to your instructor’s specifications. Deliverables should be neatly packaged in a binder, separated with a tab divider labeled “Milestone 1”.
References and Templates
• ECS Case Introduction (link found on Course Project Week 2 iLab page)
• Request for System Services Template (link found on Week 2 iLab page)
• Problem Statement Matrix Template (link found on Week 2 iLab page)
• Transcripts of Interview with Dan Stantz – Exhibit 1.1 (below)
Request for System Services: Due: __/__/__
Problem Statement Matrix: Due: __/__/__
For the advanced option, prepare a Project Feasibility Assessment Report. A template for this report can be downloaded from the textbook website. Use the information provided by the case background, the user interview, and the completed problem statement matrix. Be sure to include a Statement of Work and Gantt charts for the project schedules. Information on the Statement of Work and Gantt charts can be found in Chapter 4 of the SADM 7th ed. textbook.
Project Feasibility Assessment Report: Due: __/__/__
Milestone’s Point Value: _______
The following is a copy of the transcripts of an interview between Mr. Dan Stantz and you, a systems analyst with GB Manufacturing Information Systems Services (ISS). This initial interview is conducted with a goal of obtaining facts about the problems and opportunities that have triggered the equipment check-out project request, plus other general information that could be used to prepare the “Problem Statement Matrix.”
You have scheduled a meeting to discuss the equipment check-out project with Dan Stantz, Equipment Manager. The meeting is being held at 8:00 AM in Mr. Stantz’s office.
Dan: Good morning!
Dan: I am glad we could finally get together. I’m sorry we had trouble finding a time
we could both meet and discuss my project. It’s been chaotic around here.
You: No problem. Hopefully this meeting won’t take too much of your time.
Dan: I would like to have been able to provide more time to discuss the equipment
check-out project. Unfortunately I will have to rush off to a 9:00 meeting with my
boss Bill Venkman and his boss, Fred Murray (Vice President of Physical
You: An hour should be more than enough time. The intent of this meeting was for me
to simply get an overall understanding of the equipment check-out project.
Dan: Sounds good. Where should we begin?
You: Let’s start with the minutes from your management retreat. Thanks for faxing a
copy of that document to me after our phone call to set up this meeting. The
minutes stated that your top priority is to improve the Equipment Depot and
Dan: That’s correct, except the number one priority is the Equipment Depot operation.
We would like to focus on tackling that area first.
You: Good. I wasn’t too sure if you wanted this project to address both areas. Well
then, why don’t you tell me a little about the Equipment Depot . . . just exactly
what is an Equipment Depot?
Dan: First of all, we have close to 200 maintenance employees. These employees are
assigned to certain buildings or plants. Some of the employees are carpenters,
electricians, plumbers, and other types of skilled workers. Each new employee is
initially provided with a toolbox and a minimal number of tools. Those tools are
theirs to keep. At the end of the year, we give them a token amount of money and
if they need to replace those tools they can. Otherwise they can keep the money.
You: That sounds like a sweet deal.
Dan: We’ve found that if you give them ownership, they are more careful and
responsible with the equipment. Anyhow, as I said, they are provided with the
basic everyday tools such as hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, and the like,
depending on their skill. But many jobs they are asked to do require additional
tools. That is where the Equipment Depot comes into the picture.
You: The Equipment Depot operates as a store where the employees go to buy
Dan: Not exactly. The employees don’t buy the equipment. They check the equipment
out from the Equipment Depot and return it when the job is completed.
You: That sounds like a busy operation for the Equipment Depot staff.
Dan: Oh it is! Of course, not every employee needs to go to the depot every day and for
every job to get special equipment. Currently, I have three employees working for
me in the Equipment Depot. They are able to handle things pretty well, although
the beginning and ending of the work day can bring some pretty long lines of
You: Can you tell me the names of your staff? I will likely need to talk to them at some
point in time.
Dan: Sure. Janine Peck, Oscar Barrett, and S.P. Marsh each cover one shift. Those
three and I are responsible for the Equipment Depot and its $1 million inventory.
You: A million! That is a lot of hammers and screwdrivers.
Dan: Remember these aren’t hammers and screwdrivers. Small tools are provided in the
maintenance toolboxes. These are more expensive pieces of equipment. For
example, air compressors, generators, dremmels, reciprocating saws, etc. – special
items that either are needed only on occasions or are too expensive to lose!
You: I see. Tell me about the problems. Are the employees losing too many pieces of
Dan: We estimate that more than $50,000 in equipment is lost, stolen, or damaged each
You: Wow! So that’s why this project is top priority. Do you have any idea what
percent is lost, and what percent is stolen or damaged?
Dan: No, we don’t. I’ve seen a couple of pieces of our equipment show up at flea
markets, and we’ve caught a couple employees taking equipment home with them
. . . but no, we can’t say one way or the other for sure.
You: Tell me about your current system.
Dan: The current manual system has been in operation for over 20 years. The current
system functioned well in the earlier years. However, as GB Manufacturing has
grown in the number of buildings and maintenance employees, the system has
become inefficient and incapable of handling the growth. I should point out that
we no longer subcontract some of our work out to outside contractors.
You: I was about to ask about that.
Dan: Anyhow, along with that growth is the growth in the volume of equipment check-
ins and check-outs and volume of equipment inventory.
You: So what are you envisioning for the new system?
Dan: Obviously I would like a new system that can handle this growth. I am
envisioning a system that will permit my Equipment Depot staff to be able to
answer numerous inquiries related to the availability of equipment, the location of
a specific piece of equipment, and an up-to-date account of what equipment
employees should have in their possession.
You: I see. You want a system that not only monitors check-in and check-out, but you
also want the system to literally track the equipment.
Dan: That’s right. Heck, if an employee wants to check out an air compressor and we
don’t have one in stock, I would like my staff to be able to locate one or more of
our compressors. Find out which employees have the compressors and when they
expect to be done with them. If needed, we can check it out to another employee
and instruct that person to go to the job site to pick up the equipment. The last
thing I want my people to do is purchase new equipment when they don’t have to.
That gets expensive.
You: Okay, thanks. I think I’ve got the picture. It is getting close to your next meeting
and I think I have a pretty good understanding of this project. Are there any last
things you would like to discuss about the project?
Dan: Yes, there is one last thing. Maintenance has taken great pride in its training of
employees and its emphasis on safety. I would like the new system to place a
check-out restriction on certain equipment. This restriction would not allow
employees who do not possess a certain skill class to check out the equipment.
It’s for their safety. For example, I don’t want my carpenters checking out tools
that only electricians should operate. Someone could get hurt if they don’t know
how to operate the equipment.
You: Thank you for your time. I had better let you get ready for your meeting. By the
way, is there a deadline that you targeted for this project, and is there a budget?
Dan: I would like to have the new system tomorrow! Seriously, I would like to have
something in six months. As for a budget, no we haven’t established a budget. I
was hoping that you could tell us what it would cost. I would then talk to my boss
about getting funding.
You: Good enough. I will be getting back to you soon.