Provide some examples of quality problems in information systems development projects and discuss how these quality problems can be avoided.
In information systems development projects, various quality-related issues can occur; these happen due to trying to meet schedules, budget requirements, personnel constraints, and with improper planning. Some quality problems one could face are addressing the wrong issue, neglected context, improperly performed system design or analysis, delivering a subpar product that doesn’t meet all expectations, making shortcuts in code that leave gaps in security, not performing documentation on work completed, and failing to address a product’s connectivity with other systems.
To combat the abovementioned issues, there are several things one can do to help ensure the high-quality of a project. For example, understanding the environment in which projects operate in will provide the necessary background information for a system. Will the information system communicate with other existing systems? If so, will an update to one of those existing systems negatively impact the project’s system? Who will be using the project’s system? Who will be maintaining it? Next, the project manager holds a vital role in ensuring that a project’s product functions as intended; they must adequately plan for all project phases, ensure there is enough time to complete each stage without causing unnecessary time-constraints or budgeting worries, as well as enforce quality testing throughout the project’s life span (Fuller, Valacich, George, Schneider, 2019). Finally, as changes to code in a sophisticated information system is significantly easier before it goes live, any issues with security, connectivity with other systems, documentation, or usability, should be found and fixed during the project. Scrambling to make changes near the end of a project’s completion can provide employees the environment in which they may take shortcuts to meet the deadline, thus affecting the quality of the results.
Discuss how the team will monitor and control all project costs.
A project is anything but set in stone, especially when concerning budgets. Our best judgments on what the project will cost during each project phase can quickly go out the window once problems arise with code, connectivity with other systems, hardware/software constraints, and changes to personnel. To help ensure a team can monitor and control project costs, a system of checks and balances, so to speak, should be implemented at both the beginning and end of each project phase. The initial project cost estimation might change throughout the project, but the only way to combat it is to ensure cost management exists continuously; an excellent method to achieve this is with consistent budget meetings and proper documentation. Stakeholders need to be aware of new changes and estimations of the budget in reference to the initial budget estimation. Adapting to change is far more efficient than reacting to it, thus ensuring that the project’s quality is not hindered by the stress of needing to cut corners to meet budget goals.
Discuss how a project team can know if their project delivers good quality.
Similar to the steps involved in managing a project’s cost, a project team should, at all project stages, know and test the quality of their project. For example, for an information system project like developing a customer service management ticketing system for customers, an excellent method of quality control is to have select customer service agents, as well as an employee taking on the role of a ‘customer,’ continuously test the functionality and usability of the project. As the system is tested, proper documentation shall be required, highlighting what each phase’s changes did to the system. Did the introduction of a live chat widget slow down the website for the customer, or did the window get in the way of an important link? Did the inclusion of a system to suggest help center links when typing in a chat window negatively impact the flow of the communication between the customer and the agent? The only way to ensure that the result of a project is of high quality is to ensure throughout the lifecycle of the project, that the system maintains its ability to meet all expectations; this includes expectations from stakeholders, security, budgets, time-constraints, usability for customers, and ease of maintenance for those in charge of it.
Fuller, M. A., Valacich, J. S., George, J. F., & Schneider, C. (2019). Information Systems Project Management: A Process Approach, Edition 2.0. Prospect Press, Inc.
Categories: Group Theory