Modern Systems Analysis and Design, 3/e
Jeffrey A. Hoffer, Joey F. George, Joseph S. Valacich

Essay Questions   from the Companion Website (

Chapter 1: The Systems Development Environment 1. Identify the components of a computer-based information system. 2. Identify two advantages of prototyping. 3. Identify four disadvantages of RAD. 4. What are the key differences between the process-oriented and data-oriented approaches? 5. How can IS development productivity be improved? 6. Identify six characteristics of successful teams. 7. What are the three main DSS components? 8. Identify four individuals that may be involved in systems development. 9. Identify the six phases of the SDLC. 10. What is object-oriented analysis and design? An object? An object class?
Chapter 3: Managing the Information Systems Project 1. What is a project? Who is a project manager? 2. Why are projects undertaken? 3. Identify and briefly discuss the four project management phases. 4. What are the activities associated with project execution? 5. What are the activities associated with project closedown? 6. What are the activities associated with project planning? 7. Define work breakdown structure. 8. What are the characteristics of a task? 9. What is a Gantt chart? What is a PERT chart? Which would most likely be used for information systems development? 10. Identify five project team communication methods.
Chapter 6: Initiating and Planning Systems Development Projects 1. Briefly list the six feasibility categories. 2. Differentiate between tangible and intangible benefits. Provide three examples of each. 3. What is a one-time cost? Provide five examples. 4. What is a recurring cost? Provide five examples. 5. Briefly identify the two major activities that occur during project initiation and planning. 6. Identify five guidelines for better cost estimating. 7. Assume a proposed system has a useful life of 5 years, one-time costs of $25,000, recurring costs of $10,000 per year, and tangible benefits of $18,000 per year. If the cost of capital is 14 percent, what is the overall NPV? Overall ROI? Breakeven point? 8. Assume a proposed system has a useful life of 5 years, one-time costs of $500,000, recurring costs of $80,000 per year, and tangible benefits of $190,000 per year. If the cost of capital is 12 percent, what is the overall NPV? Overall ROI? Breakeven point? 9. Identify five potential consequences of not assessing and managing risks. 10. Identify six activities for which a walkthrough may prove beneficial.
Chapter 7: Determining System Requirements 1. What are the primary deliverables for requirements determination? 2. What are the guidelines for effective interviewing? What is involved? 3. What are open-ended questions and closed-ended questions? Provide two advantages of each. 4. Provide an example of an open-ended question. Provide an example of a closed-ended question. 5. List the four methods for selecting questionnaire respondents. 6. Compare the usefulness of interviews and questionnaires. 7. What is a formal system? What is an informal system? 8. Identify eight things document analysis can tell you about new system requirements. 9. When is prototyping most useful for requirements determination? 10. When trying to identify activities for radical change, what are the three questions an analyst should ask?
Chapter 8: Structuring System Requirements: Process Modeling 1. What is a data flow diagram? Why is it beneficial? 2. Identify the deliverables for process modeling. 3. What is a source/sink? Provide three examples of a source/sink. What should you not consider about a source/sink? 4. What is a context diagram? What is a primitive data flow diagram? 5. Discuss coupling. How can you decouple processes? 6. Identify three rules governing processes on data flow diagrams. 7. Identify four rules governing data flow on data flow diagrams. 8. What is balancing? 9. What is the focus of a functional hierarchy diagram? How does it differ from a data flow diagram? 10. When compared to Oracle's process models, identify seven characteristics of a DFD.
Chapter 9: Structuring System Requirements: Logic Modeling 1. Briefly describe three logic modeling deliverables. 2. Discuss the criteria for deciding among Structured English, decision tables, and decision trees. 3. When choosing between decision tables and decision trees, when are decision trees the better choice? 4. When choosing between decision tables and decision trees, when are decision tables the better choice? 5. Your instructor has finished grading his first set of test papers. Prepare a Structured English representation for the process of assigning grades to these papers.
Chapter 10: Structuring System Requirements: Conceptual Data Modeling 1. Identify the conceptual modeling deliverables. 2. Discuss the relationship between data modeling and the systems development life cycle. 3. Briefly discuss the data modeling perspectives. 4. When analysts interview system users and business managers, what categories of information are they seeking? 5. Differentiate entity, entity type, and entity instance. 6. What is cardinality? What is minimum cardinality? What is maximum cardinality? 7. What is an entity-relationship diagram? 8. Identify four identifier selection rules. 9. How can CASE tools benefit conceptual data modeling? 10. Provide two examples each of an entity, attribute, and relationship.
Chapter 11: Selecting the Best Alternative Design Strategy 1. What processes are involved in shaping alternative system design strategies? 2. When identifying possible solutions, how do analysts systematically organize the information they have collected? 3. Identify four features that should be considered for a new system. Provide a specific example of each. 4. Identify five constraints on systems development. Provide an example of each. 5. Define outsourcing. Provide three reasons for outsourcing. 6. Based on 1999 revenue, identify the top five global software companies. What is their specialization? 7. Identify four advantages to running your new system on an existing platform. 8. Identify three reasons for purchasing new hardware and software. 9. What is a request for proposal? 10. At the end of alternative generation and selection, how is the Baseline Project Plan modified?
Chapter 12: Designing Databases 1. Identify the five purposes of database design. 2. What are the four steps used to transform an E-R diagram into normalized relations? 3. When selecting a data type, what are the four objectives you should keep in mind? 4. List four popular data integrity control methods. 5. What is a null value? Should primary keys be null? 6. When designing physical tables, what goals should be kept in mind? 7. Identify three situations when denormalization should be considered. 8. Identify three guidelines for selecting indexes for relational databases. 9. Identify three techniques used for file restoration. 10. Identify three ways that data security is built into a file.
Chapter 13: Designing Forms and Reports 1. What is a form? What is a report? Provide two examples of each. 2. Briefly describe a design specification. 3. What is meant by template-based HTML? 4. When is highlighting a valuable technique? 5. When developing Web pages, why would you use lightweight graphics? 6. How can you avoid displaying long lists as long Web pages? 7. How can you avoid having outdated information on a Web page? 8. When designing forms and reports, what are four characteristics for consideration? 9. How can you assess usability? 10. Identify six benefits from using color.
Chapter 14: Designing Interfaces and Dialogues 1. List the functional capabilities necessary for providing a smooth and easy navigation within a form. 2. When structuring data entry fields, what are the major guidelines you should keep in mind? 3. What are the three types of system feedback? 4. Why have hypertext-based help systems become the standard environment for most commercial operating environments? 5. What is meant by the term 'cookie crumbs'? 6. Identify the two rules that comprise the first step to becoming an effective GUI designer. 7. What is the deliverable for the system interface and dialogue design stage? What are its main sections? 8. Identify the three major steps for designing dialogues. 9. What is dialogue diagramming? Briefly describe the construction of a dialogue diagram. 10. When designing the interface and dialogues of Websites, how can you avoid buttons that provide no click feedback?
Chapter 15: Finalizing Design Specifications 1. What is pseudocode? What functions does it serve? 2. Differentiate between a data couple and a flag. Provide an example of each. How are each represented on a structure chart? 3. What is a module? How is it represented on a structure chart? 4. What does a "hat" represent on a structure chart? What is its purpose? 5. How is repetition diagrammed in a structure chart? How is selection diagrammed in a structure chart? 6. What is a throwaway prototype? Why is it developed? 7. What is eXtreme programming? Identify two of its unique characteristics. 8. What is the Planning Game? Who are its participants? What are its major phases? 9. What is the Iteration Planning Game? Who are the participants? 10. Identify and define the characteristics of quality requirements.
Chapter 16: Designing Distributed and Internet Systems 1. What is a file server? Identify three limitations to using file servers on a local area network. 2. As they relate to client/server architectures, briefly discuss the three general components to any information system. 3. What types of issues may develop when vendors migrate their relational DBMSs and other LAN-based technologies to client/server environments? 4. Identify six approaches to designing client/server architectures. 5. Why is site consistency important? Identify two approaches for enforcing site consistency. 6. Briefly identify three design issues related to site management. 7. What are the guidelines for link titles? 8. Discuss context development. 9. What is a data warehouse? What is a data mart? 10. As it relates to an Internet site, what is customization? Provide an example.
Chapter 17: System Implementation 1. When testing information systems, what two things should be kept in mind? 2. Identify six topics that might be covered during training. 3. List seven methods of training. 4. List four common methods for automating support. 5. Identify six areas in which information center staff might provide assistance. 6. Identify and describe the basic types of documentation. 7. Identify the generic life-cycle phases and the generic documents that correspond to each phase. 8. How is the coding and testing process unique for eXtreme programming? 9. What are the deliverables for coding, testing, and installation? 10. When is a master test plan developed? What information does it contain?
Chapter 18: Maintaining Information Systems 1. What is maintenance? Identify four types of maintenance. 2. Describe four types of maintenance. 3. Identify six factors that influence the maintainability of the system. 4. To measure system effectiveness, what three factors should be measured? 5. Identify and discuss the two kinds of configuration tools. 6. What is the primary objective of using CASE and other automated tools during maintenance? Identify two CASE tools that help meet this objective. 7. What is the most common maintenance issue for any Website? How can this maintenance problem be addressed? 8. How can you manage maintenance personnel? What are the advantages to each approach? 9. How can you control maintenance requests? 10. Compare the maintenance activities to the SDLC.
Chapter 19: Rapid Application Development 1. Identify Martin's four necessary pillars for the RAD approach. 2. What are the four phases of James Martin's RAD approach? 3. Identify five advantages associated with the RAD approach. 4. Identify five disadvantages associated with the RAD approach. 5. How does the RAD SDLC correspond to the standard SDLC?
Chapter 20: Object-Oriented Analysis and Design 1. What is an association? What is meant by the degree of association relationship? 2. What is multiplicity? 3. What is generalization? How is it indicated on a class diagram? 4. How can semantic constraints be expressed among subclasses? 5. What does a state diagram illustrate? 6. What is meant by aggregation? How is it illustrated on a class diagram? 7. What is a component diagram? What is a deployment diagram? 8. What are the deliverables from object-oriented modeling? 9. What is an interaction diagram? Identify two types of interaction diagrams. 10. Briefly describe the object-oriented life cycle.