What Is Systems Analysis?

I am a junior Systems Analyst. I want to know more about systems requirement analysis.

What are the most common questions one should ask during system requirement analysis with a client?

Since I am relatively new to this field, I have no clue about it. Can any one help me?

If you can send across any tips, questions or even links that might be useful for me, it will help me.

How To Become A Systems Analyst

It is highly important that solutions provided by a business meet the goals of its stakeholders with complete accuracy, if that business or company wants to stay ahead of competition.

The Requirement elicitation and analysis phase gives a platform for the company to understand what exactly the stakeholders want.

Hence, requirement elicitation or system requirement analysis is one of the most important phases in a Systems Analysis process.

This is because the entire solution that a Systems Analyst comes up with will be based on the requirements of stakeholders which are understood during this phase.

Therefore, getting the right requirements is important to provide the right solutions. Bear in mind that oly the right kind of questions will determine the overall outcome.

Though the right questions generally depend on the scope of solution sought by the stakeholders, there are some generic questions that a Systems Analyst can ask to conduct a successful requirement elicitation.

A system requirement analysis is more than asking a few questions.
The first thing to do is understand the scope of the project.

Then, a Systems Analyst should put in a lot of thoughtful effort to identify the right stakeholders for the elicitation.

Stakeholders can include end users, suppliers, the project manager, quality analysis, regulators, project sponsors, operational support, domain subject matter experts, and implementation subject matter experts.

Once that is done, it is important to identify the right methods or techniques to be employed during elicitation, to get the most out of the effort with maximum accuracy.

Some systems analysis techniques include:

  1. Brainstorming — it provides an equal opportunity for all stakeholders to throw in their ideas.
  2. Document analysis — going through business documents such as business plans, market studies, contracts, requests for proposal, statements of work, memos, existing guidelines, procedures, training guides, competing product literature, published comparative product reviews, problem reports, and customer suggestion logs can help you get a clear picture of what is required.
  3. Interviews — Gives a great opportunity to get most out of the stakeholders that really matter, through active conversation and rational discussion.

There are many other techniques such as questionnaires, surveys, and conducting workshops. Since your concern is more about the general questions asked, let me not delve too deep into what requirement elicitation is.

Some of the questions that systems analysts ask can be classified under the following categories:
Ask questions about the stakeholders
The purpose is to confirm the business needs described in the project scope. Ask questions like:

  • Brief me about your organization?
  • Where are all of the organizations located?
  • What is the management organizational structure like?
  • What are the existing business processes and business rules of your organization?
  • Who are the owners of the processes?
  • What are the process measurements used?
  • Tell me about your customers and what services/products do you provide?
  • What are the parameters used to measure your success?
  • What according to you is one thing that will increase your success?
  • What is the one thing that will make your organizations successful?
  • How do you rate the risk on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?

Ask questions concerning the end users of the system

The objective here is to identify solution requirements based on what the users require. Ask questions like:

  • Brief me about your responsibilities in the organization.
  • Describe your responsibilities and areas of business decisions you are involved in.
  • Who are the people you often interact with to fulfill your responsibilities?
  • The type of information you use in the job and what formats do you use?
  • What are the system requirements used for carryout your tasks? Any alerts required in case of any events? What are they? Any new alerts required?
  • Tell me how do you measure your success?
  • What are the obstacles or things that help you to work?
  • What are the skills set required to fulfill the tasks?
  • What changes do you require from the existing system for better performance?
  • Describe the issues that challenge your organization.
  • What areas of improvement you have seen.

Ask questions about the situational conditions:
Situational conditions that should be kept in mind and complement system capabilities. Ask questions like:

  • How do you want the system to perform/respond?
  • What is the number of users who will need the system at a time?
  • How should the system be made available? Web-based?
  • What kind of system speed do you expect?
  • What environmental conditions such as heat, cold, power, etc. should we take into consideration?
  • What type of documentation and training is needed for the system? How?
  • What about the system security? The levels of user control? And other features?

Ask questions about legacy systems
This will help smooth the transition between the legacy systems and the new system implementation.

  1. Do you want the legacy system to continue even after the new system implementation? For how long?
  2. What changes do you expect in the new system as compared to the legacy system, in terms of business rules?

Ask questions concerning improvements

  1. What are the project risks according to you?
  2. What is the impact of the project on the business?
  3. What more do you expect if there is more funding?
  4. What is the frequency of updates needed regarding the project progress?

Please note that these questions only point to how requirements are gathered through interview. Use your analytical skills and formulate questions that will help you understand the requirements well


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