SECTION AOVERVIEWThe children support agency (CSA) is a national charity organization based in the UK that cares for young people. CSA works in areas of housing, family support, education and training, and tackling crime. CSA has a head office in central London and 19 area offices spread across 3 geographical regions namely northern, southwest and southeast. Nationally CSA runs 60 different projects in the various area offices, some projects are large or small looking after a significant number of young people, resources and budget, while others small. All projects are funded by outside bodies either by government or trusts. Each project has a contract which identifies the budget, time, number of staff involved and deliverables.
All projects have to produce regular monitoring reports for the funding bodies. Each project has a lead worker tasked in overseeing and managing the project or projects, and each region is managed by a regional director which is responsible for developing new projects, sorting out the contracts with funding bodies and indentifying project deliverables. The head administration is carried out by the Senior Executive Groups (SEG) which is supervised by a board of trustees. The current information system provisions for CSA are all off-the-shelf software packages which have no link to each other, the head office has separate financial and human resource software’s, and the Bridlington Area office has a database.RECOMMENDATIONWhy DSDM Atern is an appropriate choice of method to be used for the CSA system What is DSDM Atern?The Dynamic System Development Method Atern (DSDM Atern) is a Rapid Application Development method with an agile project delivery framework that uses incremental prototyping, which was launched at the Cafe Royale in London on 24 April 2007 by the by the Dynamic Systems Development Consortium (DSDM).THE LIFE CYCLE OF DSDM ATERNDSDM is based on eight principles which are as followsFocus on the business needDeliver on timeCollaborateNever compromise qualityBuild incrementally from firm foundationsDevelop iterativelyCommunicate continuously and clearlyDemonstrate controlThe principles are supported by four key areas:Process, People, Products, PracticesAnd the Techniques implemented by DSDM Atern to aid the development process are Facilitated WorkshopsMoSCoW PrioritisationIterative Development (Prototyping)Time-boxingModellingReasons to clarify DSDM Atern as the appropriate method for CSA Management information SystemHigh-level business requirements are defined: DSDM Atern makes it imperative that the high-level business requirements are defined at the outset, therefore the core functions of CSA based on the high-level business requirements are delivered quickly and the future features will be delivered in regular/iterative intervals; as in the case of CSA the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is delivered.
The functionality of the CSA system will be reasonably visible at the user interface: DSDM Atern ensures that the users are to be involved throughout the development process; they must be able to verify that the software is performing the right actions through prototyping, without having to understand the technicalities of what is happening behind the user interface. Because most of the CSA staff lack any interest in IT support; an interface that includes reports as well as screens or indeed any other way of showing the end-user what is happeninginside the system will be indispensable. The CSA system will be delivered on time: by the use of techniques employed by DSDM Atern such as time-boxing; resources and time are fixed with an immovable deadline. With the aid of MoSCoW prioritization of scope into musts, shoulds, coulds and won’t haves to adjust the development deliverable to meet the stated time constraint. The CSA system application is not potentially large: The CSA system is will be used by just the staff of CSA to produce reports, manage staff and children information and monitoring by top management. Just the Staff uses the system, no excessive requests by external users. The system has a limited number of users.
DSDM Atern being a rapid application development method (RAD) is best suited for small or medium sized systems which CSA is. Decision-makings can be made rapidly: by application of techniques used by DSDM Atern such as Facilitated Workshops; decisions can be made rapidly the team members instead of going through any management processes/red-tapes to get approved. As the CSA is a highly bureaucratic organization with a Senior Group of Executives (SEG) and a board of trustees. The CSA system is not computationally complex: The functionality of CSA system will support reports generation, staff and children information management. No complex algorithms to calculate the climate or support space exploration.
Therefore the CSA system development will take full advantage of Rapid Application development.JUSTIFICATIONDSDM Atern addresses the most common failures of information systems projects, including exceeding budgets, missing deadlines, and lack of user involvement and top-management commitment. DSDM Atern focuses on delivery of the business solution, rather than just team activity. It makes steps to ensure the feasibility and business sense of a project before it is created.
It stresses cooperation and collaboration between all interested parties. DSDM Atern makes heavy use of prototyping to make sure interested parties have a clear picture of all aspects of the system. All people in the development work collaboratively to deliver the optimum solution.
DSDM Atern allows the project to decide for itself how the products are built or what they should look like, allowing products to be tailored to mostenvironments. DSDM Atern assures increased client confidence through the constant involvement of all parties throughout the project and ensures that there are no last minute surprises or costly reworking of functionality. A drawback of DSDM Atern is that it cannot be a success if the team is not sufficiently motivated or are unable to work cohesively together and also the development process can spiral out-of-control if the principles and philosophies of DSDM Atern are not strictly adhered to. CONCLUSIONThe CSA Management Information system with the use of DSDM Atern Methodology will be delivered on time and on budget. Delivering highly demonstrable user interfaces with reduced software testing and minimal software defects. Reduction of unnecessary processes and documentation, Providing an early return on investment and reduced risk.