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Reflections and Evaluations, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 862

Essay

Booking systems, just like other software applications, requires one to go through the entire system development lifecycle process for one to realize a comprehensive system. I established that such systems should be able to plug into existing central systems like the school management systems or more comprehensive enterprise resource planning systems. The existing systems would be a source of valuable information like students biodata, medical and disability reports, past academic record, discipline records, skills and talents in the extracurricular activities and any other information that can be used as building blocks to visualize the students’ skills, abilities and academic performance to be used in career assessment and counseling. One has to be prepared for a system that would be running on obsolete technology or emerging technologies, or others which would be running strictly on a Linux environment, which may be a pivotal challenge to a booking system developed for a windows environment. There was an incident where some modules of the central system wouldn’t be accessed on a mobile device. This required that one audits the existing systems before planning for the booking system.

The system development life cycle was more complicated than developing a bigger stand-alone system from the start. One had to start by collecting data from stakeholders who posed a real challenge in the process. Some who had a good understanding of the central systems had left the company and required a cautious follow-up, others had forgotten access passwords to key modules that would be necessary for integrating with the booking system. In contrast, others were outrightly hostile and resistant to change. These caused a lot of delays and frustrations during system development.

Many people will resist change, especially those unwilling to unlearn the old ways. This required concerted efforts from enforcing the change management policies to training and sensitization programs for the employees to buy-in. The security of the booking system was dependent on the security features of the existing system. Where there were previous reports of confidentiality breaches, students were unwilling to embrace the booking system. Some had the choice of their careers influenced by disability, gender, and medical limitations. They dreaded sharing such private information on a system that had been compromised before. This meant that the booking system wouldn’t achieve its objectives and required extra resources to convince the users of the safety of the entire system.

During the design stage, there had to be many drafts of prototypes to meet the user requirements and fit into the existing structures. Class diagrams, object diagrams, and flow charts had to be revised many times. The system was designed to be web-based. This required user portals to be developed in a manner as safe and straightforward to use. However, the portals turned out to be the weak links to other systems. In the cases where there wasn’t even a first line of defense from attacks like a firewall, our team had to go outside the scope and find creative ways to secure the portals. I learned that system development should go together with system security.

Setting aside resources for the booking system was a challenge. It was taken as a secondary project, which would add minimal value to the institution. Most of the staff did not dedicate their time to support the system development process. Our team was compelled to use secondary data collection methods like analysis and observation. Some of the staff were perceiving the whole process as disruptive and administrative staff in the department of guidance and counseling feared for job losses. We worked hard to let employees understand that a system won’t replace human beings, but would make their work easier.

During the process of implementation of the system, flaws were established in the existing system, but whenever they were pointed out, the vendors’ responses were cold. There was a wrong perception that our team focused on fault finding on their systems to discredit them and push them out of business. We had to be creative and manage the vendors’ and staffs’ expectations to earn their support and get invaluable information for seamless integration of the booking system with the existing system. The current physical infrastructure was not designed to meet all the requirements of ancillary systems like the booking system. There was an existing unstable virtual private network (VPN) with many times the systems running on local area networks. The internet bandwidth was low, and the connectivity unstable with no redundancy. This meant that online booking wouldn’t be available whenever this disruption or internet downtime was experienced.

From my experience, I have learned that systems are designed to support and make routines and process effective without getting tired and make hard work easy for the user. There are many systems on the shelves, and some are even open source. Some would come as emerging technologies looking effective but mostly untested. It is, therefore, advisable that before deploying any system, a professional and custom checklist is developed to guide on the requirements and key milestones to be fulfilled. Many times, it’s a challenging task for a developer to visualize what the client wants. Still, with innovation and creativity, a good developer will always deliver and exceed the client’s expectations.

 

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