• The process of system planning is a critical activity in the life of a project. Here, we have focused on determining requirements and gathering information about the existing system.
  • The system planning process involves several key steps to ensure that a system is carefully thought out, well-defined, and aligned with the goals and objectives of the organization. These steps are as follows –

Steps of the System Planning Process:

There are the following types of System Planning Processes –

(A) Fact Finding Techniques

  • Fact Finding Techniques predominantly applied to the existing system mainly but also to new systems.
  • In fact-finding techniques, System analysts collect data related to the existing system, including the data related to the organization or existing system, staff, documents used, and formats used in the input and output processes. This information is obtained through various fact-finding techniques such as interviews, group discussions, site visits, presentations, and questionnaires.
  • Need for Fact-Finding
    • Normally, every business or existing organization has its own rules and procedures to run and manage it. When this existing system needs to be developed, the systems analyst needs to know the system’s requirements. Depending on these requirements, the system has to be developed and hence requires fact-finding.
  • There are several fact-finding techniques used to collect facts/factual data related to the existing system. These are –

(I) Interviews

      • The personal interview is a recognized and most important fact-finding technique, where
        the systems analyst gathers information from individuals through face-to-face interaction.
      • Interviews are used to find the facts, verify facts, clarify facts, get the customer involved, identify the system requirements, and know all options.
      • The interview is usually conducted by the systems analyst.
      • To conduct an interview, the interviewer must have a personality that helps him/her to be social with strangers or different types of people.
      • Always and for all situations, interviews are not appropriate fact-finding methods.
      • Conducting an Interview is an art. The success of an interview depends on selecting the individual, preparing for the interview, creating a situation in which the answers offered are reliable, and creating a situation in which opinions can be given without any fear of being criticized by others.
      • By studying the organization chart, the analyst can confidently schedule interviews with key personnel involved with the system. Of course, there should be preliminary interviews. Later he will conduct a detailed interview with all the people who actually operate the system. In this following question involved-
        • Who is involved with what you do?
        • What do you do?
        • Where do you do it?
        • When do you do it?
        • Why do you do it the way you do?
        • How do you do it?
        • Do you have suggestions for change?
      • Interviews help gather vital facts about existing problems, such as lack of quality control or sufficient security, etc.
      • Analysts use interviews to learn the system details. Interviews allow analysts to learn more about the nature of the project request and the reason for submitting it.
      • An interview should provide details that further the project and show whether assistance is merited economically, operationally, and technically.
      • The system analyst should prepare properly for the interview. S/he should select the place of interview, and the time of the interview in such a way that there will be minimal interruption. Always, it is important to make an appointment with the interviewee but Time to be spent during the interview varies from project to project. The higher the management level of the interviewee, the less time to be scheduled for the interview.
      • Advantages
        • Interviews permit the systems analyst to get individual’s views and get the specific problem work-wise and operation-wise.
        • Interviews allow the systems analyst to obtain a better clarity of the problem due to feedback from the interviewees.
        • In the process of interviews, the interviewer has time and scope to motivate the interviewee to respond freely and openly.
        • Interviews allow the systems analyst to understand the user requirements and to know the problems faced by the user with the current system.
        • It is an effective technique to gather information about complex existing systems.
      • Disadvantages
        • Interviews are very time-consuming.
        • The success of interviews, in most cases, depends on the systems analyst’s interpersonal relationship skills.
        • Sometimes, interviews may be impractical due to the location of interviewees.
      • Types of Interviews
        • There are two types of interviews: – Structured and Unstructured.
        • In structured interviews, there is a specific set of questions to be asked to an interviewee.
        • In the case of unstructured interviews, there are few specific questions pertaining to an interviewee. Unstructured interviews are conducted with only a general goal or subject in mind.
      • Guidelines for Conducting Interviews
        • For a successful interview, the following steps to be followed are given below:-


During the introduction, the analyst introduces himself by focusing on the purpose of the interview and the confidential nature of the interview. Also, this is the phase wherein first impressions are formed and pave the way for the success of the remaining part of the interview.

Asking questions

Questions should be asked exactly as these are worded in the case of structured interviews. Rewording may modify or bias the response. Always, questions have to be asked in the same sequence as prepared.

Recording the interview

Record of the interview must be kept mentioning the source of the data and its time of collection. Sometimes, the analyst cannot remember the source of the data which may be attributed to invalid sources.

Doing a final check

After the interview has been completed, the deliberations made during the interview should be put in the form of a report. The report of the interview has to be sent to the interviewee for his/her signature. If any discrepancies are found or any modifications are to be done, these can be done at this point of time.

(II) Group Discussions

      • In this method, a group of staff members are invited who are expected to be well-versed in their own wings of the organization. The analysts will have a discussion with the members for their views and responses to various queries posed by them.
      • In this process, individuals from different sections gather together and discuss the problem at hand. Ultimately, they come to an optimum solution.
      • In this process, the problems of all sections are taken care of in most of the cases, solutions are found which are acceptable to everyone.
      • The main disadvantage of this process is that it is very difficult to get all the concerned people together at a time. But, the major advantage is that a mutually acceptable solution can be found.

(III) Site Visits

      • In this, the engineers of the development organization visit the sites. Usually, the systems analysts visit sites to get first-hand information on the workings of the system.
      • In this technique, the systems analyst watches the activities of different staff members to learn about the system.
      • When there is confusion about the validity of data collected from other sources, the systems analyst uses the method of site visits.
      • The main objective of the site visit is to examine the existing system closely and record the activities of the system.
      • Site visits are to be conducted where the workload is normal.
      • After studying the work and normal workload, systems analysts can observe the work at peak hours to see the effect caused by increased volumes. The systems analyst should collect the input /output form, and documents at the time of his/her visit.
      • Advantages
        • The process of recording facts on-site visits is highly reliable. Sometimes, site visits take place to clear doubts and check the validity of the data.
        •  Site visits are inexpensive when compared to other fact-finding techniques.
        • In this technique, the systems analyst will be able to see the processes in the organization firsthand.
        • The systems analyst can easily understand the complex processes in the organization.
      • Disadvantages
        • People usually feel uncomfortable when being watched; they may unwillingly perform their work differently when being observed.
        • Due to interruptions in the task being observed, the information that is collected may be inaccurate.
        • Site visits are done during a specific period and during that period, complexities existing in the system may not be experienced.
        • There may be scheduling problems for the systems analysts when the activities take place during odd hours.
        • Sometimes, people may be more careful to adopt the exact procedure which they
          do not typically follow.
      • Guidelines for a site visit
        • The following guidelines need to be followed at the time of observation and site visit:-
          1. Keep a low profile at the time of the site visit.
          2. Take necessary permissions from appropriate officials to conduct site visits.
          3. Inform the individuals who will be observed at the time of the site visit.
          4. Take notes of the study of the site visit immediately.
          5. Do not make any assumptions.

(IV) Presentations

      • It is another way of finding the facts and collecting data.
      • Presentation is the way by which the systems analyst gathers first-hand knowledge of the project.
      • Here, the customer/client makes a presentation of their existing system or about the organization. Participants in the meeting are representatives from the IT company and key personnel of the client organization. When a company needs to develop a software project, it may present its requirements for IOE (interest of expression) from the interested IT Company. In that case, the client presents his/her requirements. Based on the requirements, the IT companies make prototypes and show the demo of the prototype.
      • It is very difficult to obtain information in detail from a presentation. But, information available through presentation is supposed to be sufficient to develop a prototype.
      • Presentation is made by the concerned department in consultation with other departments and senior officials.

(V) Questionnaires

      • Questionnaires are special-purpose documents that allow the analyst to collect information and opinion from respondents.
      • By using questionnaires, it is possible to collect responses or opinions from a large number of people. This is the only way to get a response from a large audience.
      • Advantages
        • It is an inexpensive means of collecting data from a large group of individuals.
        • It requires less skill and experience to administer questionnaires.
        • Proper formulation and interaction with respondents lead to unbiased responses from the customers.
        • Customers can complete it at their convenience.
        • Responses can be tabulated and analyzed quickly.
      • Disadvantages
        • Sometimes, the number of respondents is low.
        • There is no guarantee that the respondents will answer all the questions.
        • Sometimes, the individual may misunderstand the question. In that situation, the analyst may not get a correct answer.
      • Types of questionnaires
        • There are two types of questionnaires:-
          1. Free-formed questionnaires are questionnaires where questions are mentioned along with blank spaces for responses.
          2. Fixed-formed questionnaires are questionnaires that consist of multiple choices and the respondent can select only from the choices provided. The following are various types of Fixed-format questions: –
            1. True / False or Yes/No type questions: Questions whose response will be one of the choices: strongly agree, agree, and disagree.
            2. Ranking-type questions (ranking items in order of importance): -Multiple choice questions (select one response or all the relevant responses).

(VI) Reviewing Organization Documents

      • The analyst conducting the investigation first learns about the investigation involved in, or affected by the project.
      • The procedure clearly defines various important steps involved in receiving, managing, and dispensing stock.

(B) Feasibility Study

  • A feasibility study is a comprehensive analysis conducted by a system analyst to evaluate the practicality, viability, and potential success of a proposed project, venture, or initiative.
  • It involves assessing various factors, including technical, economic, legal, operational, and environmental considerations, to determine whether the project is feasible and worth pursuing.
  • This study should be done throughout the life cycle. In a project, at one point of time, it may seem that the project is feasible. But, after proceeding one or two phases, it may become infeasible. So, it is necessary to evaluate the feasibility of a project at the earliest possible time.
  • The feasibility study starts from the preliminary investigation phase. At this stage, the analyst estimates the urgency of the project and estimates the development cost.
Types of Feasibility Study

There are the following types of feasibility studies –

  • Technical Feasibility
  • Operational Feasibility
  • Economic/Financial Feasibility
  • Legal and Regulatory Feasibility
  • Technology and System Feasibility
  • Market Feasibility
  • Social Feasibility
  • Environmental Feasibility
  • Geo Location Feasibility
  • Schedule Feasibility
  • Resource Feasibility
  • Cultural Feasibility

Technical Feasibility

  • Technical feasibility is concerned with the availability of hardware and software required for the development of the system, to see compatibility and maturity of the technology proposed to be used, and to see the availability of the required technical manpower to develop the system.
  • At this stage, the analyst has to see or identify the proposed technology, its maturity, and its ability or scope to solve the problem. If the technology is mature, if it has a large customer base, it will be preferable to use it as a large customer base already exists and problems that stem from its usage may be less when compared to other technologies that don’t have a significant customer base. Some companies want to use the state of art new technology irrespective of the size of the customer base.
  • The technological feasibility also includes the availability of technical expertise. In this case, Software and Hardware are available. However, it may be difficult to find skilled manpower.

Operational Feasibility

  • Operational feasibility is all about problems that may arise during operations. There are two aspects related to this issue: (i) What is the probability that the solution developed may not be put to use or may not work? (ii) What is the inclination of the management and end users towards the solution?
  • In Operational feasibility, the system needs to provide adequate, timely, accurate, and useful information. It should be able to supply all the useful and required information to all levels and categories of users. It should be fast enough to give the required output to the users.
  • A software system must operate accurately. i.e., the degree to which the software performs its required functions and gives desired output correctly.
  • In this, there should be adequate security for information and data. It should be able to protect itself from fraud.

Economic Feasibility

  • It is the measure of the cost-effectiveness of the project.
  • The economic feasibility is nothing but judging whether the possible benefit of solving the problems is worthwhile or not.
  • At the feasibility study level, it is impossible to estimate the cost because the customer’s requirements and alternative solutions have not been identified at this stage.
  • In economic feasibility, a cost-benefit analysis will be done. 

Legal Feasibility

  • Legal feasibility studies issues arising out of the need for the development of the system. The possible considerations might include copyright law, labor law, antitrust legislation, foreign trade, regulation, etc.
  • A contractual obligation may include the number of users who will be able to use the software. There may be multiple user’s licenses, single-user licenses, etc.
  • Legal feasibility plays a major role in formulating contracts between vendors and users.
  • Another important legal aspect is that whenever an IT company and the user company do not belong to the same country then the tax laws, foreign currency transfer regulations, etc., have to be taken care of.

(C) Cost Benefits Analysis

  • When the specific requirements and solutions have been identified, the analyst weighs the cost and benefits of all requirements and solutions, this is called “cost-benefit analysis”.

There are different types of costs associated with the Cost Benefits Analysis work.

  • Types of Costs:

    • There are two types of costs associated with a project:
      • System Development Costs:
        • It is the costs involved with the development of the system.
        • System development cost can be estimated at the time of planning the system and it should be refined in different phases of the project.
        • System development cost is a one-time cost.
      • Maintenance and Operation Costs:
        • It is the costs associated with the operation and maintenance of the system.
        • Maintenance and operation costs are to be estimated beforehand. At the same time, these estimations are bound to change as the requirements change during the development process. After the implementation, these costs may increase or decrease depending on the nature of updations done to the system.
        • Maintenance and operating costs are recurring costs.
    • Other types of costs are also considered in cost-benefit analysis such as
      • The Cost of Human Resources:- This includes the salaries of system analysts, software engineers, programmers, data entry operators, and operational, and clerical staff.
      • Cost of infrastructure:- The cost of infrastructure including those of computers, cables, software, etc.
      • Cost of training:- It includes both the developing staff and operating staff who need to be trained in new technologies and new systems. So, the training cost has to be considered for calculating the cost of the system.
    • There are two components in economic feasibility: costs and benefits.
      • The cost consists of tangible hardware, software costs, cost of human resources, and some intangible costs.



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