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Title: The chapter will address the following questions:

  • The chapter will address the following questions
  • How do you perform the six guidelines for doing
    effective listening?
  • What are the four speaking styles and what are
    the situations where you would use each?
  • What are examples of both benefit terms and loss
    terms, and what are the responses that they would
    elicit from the audience?
  • What are body language and proxemics and why does
    a systems analyst care about them?

  • The chapter will address the following questions
  • What are the procedures to be able to prepare
    for, conduct, and follow up on meetings, formal
    presentations and project walkthroughs?
  • What are the proper methods in writing business
    and technical reports?

Communicating With People
  • Introduction
  • The systems analyst must have good if not
    impeccable communications skills.
  • The systems analysts best chance for success,
    to rise up the corporate ladder is to possess
    outstanding communication skills.

Communicating With People
  • Introduction
  • Don Walton, a consultant on communications,
    quotes the CEO and chairman of The Prudential
    Insurance Company of America in his book, Are You
  • Starting my Prudential career as an agent, I
    understood quickly that although people may
    listen, they dont always here. I had to make
    sure, therefore that my presentations were clear,
    concise, and to the point. In addition, I
    taught myself to listen and understand others,
    another crucial point in making sales.Clear
    communication is an important component of any
    career foundation. I have seen bright, ambitious
    people fail simply because they were unable to
    understand the importance of this. The person
    who has the ability to make his or her point
    simply and effectively, while clearly
    understanding what is being said by others, will
    have the best chance of success in a society and
    business environment as complex and
    multi-dimensional as ours.

Communicating With People
  • Introduction
  • One of the earliest recorded stories of
    communication problems - The Tower of Babel.
  • Once upon a time all the world spoke a single
    language and used the same words. As men
    journeyed in the east, they came upon a plain in
    the land of Shinar and settled there. They said
    to one another, Come, let us make bricks and
    bake them hard'' they used bricks for stone and
    bitumen for mortar. Come,'' they said, let us
    build ourselves a city and a tower with its top
    in the heavens, and make a name for ourselves or
    we shall ever be dispersed all over the earth.''
    Then the Lord came down to see the city and tower
    which mortal men had built, and he said, Here
    they are, one people with a single language, and
    now they have started to do this henceforward
    nothing they have a mind to do will be beyond
    their reach. Come, let us go down there and
    confuse their speech, so that they will not
    understand what they say to one another.'' So the
    Lord dispersed them from there all over the
    earth, and they left off building the city. That
    is why it is called Babel, because the Lord there
    made a babble of the language of all the world
    from that place the Lord scattered men all over
    the face of the earth.

Communicating With People
  • Four Audiences for Interpersonal Communication
    during Systems Projects
  • For years English and communications scholars
    have told us that the secret of effective oral
    and written communications is to know the
  • Who is the audience during a systems development
  • There are at least four distinct groups
  • System designers, other analysts and information
    systems specialists.
  • System builders, the programmers and technical
    specialists who will actually construct the
  • System users, the people whose day-to-day jobs
    will be affected, directly or indirectly, by the
    new system.
  • System owners, who in addition to possibly being
    system users, sponsor the project and approve
    systems expenditures.

Communicating With People
  • Listening
  • The skill of listening may be the most important.
  • For a systems analyst to be successful in working
    with customers or users trying to solve their
    system problems, they must be able to listen to
    their problems understand what they are asking
    them to do.
  • As Thomas Gildersleeve states in his book,
    Successful Data Processing System Analysis, you
    must make a distinction between hearing and
  • To hear is to recognize that someone is
    speaking, To listen is to understand what the
    speaker wants to communicate.

Communicating With People
  • Guidelines in Effective Listening
  • Approach the Session with a Positive Attitude
  • No matter what your feelings are for the person
    you are working with, or the project as whole,
    approaching it with a negative attitude is
    fighting a losing battle.
  • Set the Other Person at Ease
  • Its no secret that one of the best ways to open a
    person up to talking is presenting a nice,
    cheerful attitude.
  • A good approach is to start by talking about the
    persons interest or hobbies. Showing an interest
    in their personal life sometimes can serve as an
    ice breaker and put them more at an ease.

Communicating With People
  • Guidelines in Effective Listening
  • Let Them Know You Are Listening
  • Make it a habit to always maintain eye contact
    when listening and use a response such as a head
    nod or a uh-huh to indicate that you
    acknowledge what the other person is saying.
  • Always maintain good posture and even sit on the
    edge of your seat and lean forward.
  • Ask Questions
  • To make sure you clearly understand what the
    person is saying or to clarify a point, ask a
    question to help you understand.
  • This will show that you are listening and will
    also give the other person the opportunity to
    expand on the answer.

Communicating With People
  • Guidelines in Effective Listening
  • Dont Assume Anything
  • One of the worst things to do is to get in a
    hurry and be impatient with the speaker.
  • For example
  • You assume you know what the other person is
    going to say so you cut in and finish the
    sentence for them, possibly, missing entirely
    what the person was going to say, plus irritating
    the them in the process.
  • You interrupt or stop the speaker because you may
    have already heard that information before or you
    believe it is not applicable to what you are
    doing, thus risking missing a valuable piece of

Communicating With People
  • Guidelines in Effective Listening
  • Dont Assume Anything
  • Art Linkletter learned this lesson on his popular
    television show, Kid Say The Darndest Things
    when he asked a child a philosophical question
  • On my show I once had a child tell me he wanted
    to be an airline pilot. I asked him what hed do
    if all the engines stopped out over the Pacific
    Ocean. He said First I would tell everyone to
    fasten their seatbelts, and then Id find my
    parachute and jump out.
  • While the audience rocked with laughter, I kept
    my attention on the young man to see if he was
    being a smart alec. The tears that sprang into
    his eyes alerted me to his chagrin more than
    anything he could have said, so I asked him why
    hed do such a thing. His answer revealed the
    sound logic of a child Im going for gasIm
    coming back!

Communicating With People
  • Guidelines in Effective Listening
  • Take Notes
  • The process of taking notes serves two purposes.
  • By jotting down brief notes while the other
    person is speaking, gives them the impression
    that what they have to say is important enough
    that you want to write it down.
  • It helps you remember the major points of the
    meeting when you reference your notes at a later

Communicating With People
  • Speaking
  • Systems analysts need to be able to speak
    effectively in their work to be successful.
  • To be effective speaker is to deliver a clear and
    concise message which is received and understood
    for its intended purpose, minimizing the risk of
    creating misunderstandings with your words.
  • An Effective Speaking approach
  • Before speaking, organize thoughts to think about
    what the purpose for speaking is, what is the
    main point, who is the intended audience and what
    are the desired results.
  • During speaking obtain feedback via oral response
    or body language to see if the message is being
    received and the desired results are being
  • If not, you have the opportunity to alternate
    your approach and try again.

Communicating With People
  • Speaking
  • Keep in mind that different situations may call
    for different speaking styles, just as different
    business writings call for different writing
  • There are four identified speaking styles
  • Expressive style. Spontaneous, conversational,
    and uninhibited. We use this style when we are
    expressing our feelings, joking around,
    complaining, being intimate or socializing.
  • Directive style. Authoritative and judgmental.
    We use this style to give orders, give
    instruction, exert leadership, pass judgment, or
    state our opinions.
  • Problem-solving style. Rational, objective,
    unbiased, and bland. This is the style most used
    in business dealings.
  • Meta style. Used to discuss the communications
    process itself. Meta language enables us to talk
    about our interactions.

Communicating With People
  • Use of Words Turn-ons and Turnoffs
  • Choosing the right words is important, especially
    to the systems analyst who must effectively
    communicate with a diverse group of system users,
    owners, and builders.
  • There are two identified categories of terms that
    influence managers benefit terms and loss terms.
  • Benefit terms are words or phrases that evoke
    positive responses from the audience. Benefit
    terms can be used very effectively to sell
    proposed changes. Managers will usually accept
    ideas that produce benefit terms.
  • Examples are increase productivity, increase
    sales, and reduce cost.

Communicating With People
  • Use of Words Turn-ons and Turnoffs
  • There are two identified categories of terms that
    influence managers benefit terms and loss terms.
  • Loss terms are words or phrases that evoke
    negative responses from the audience. Loss terms
    can also be used very effectively to sell
    proposed changes. Managers will usually accept
    ideas that eliminate loss terms.
  • Examples are higher costs, excessive waste, and
    higher taxes.
  • Avoid turn-off words or phrases such as jargon.
  • These can kill projects by changing the
    attitudes and opinions of management.
  • Avoid red-flag terms that attack people's
    performance or threaten their job.

Communicating With People
  • Electronic Mail
  • One of the newer forms of interpersonal
    communication of particular importance to the
    systems analyst is electronic mail (E-mail).
  • Electronic mail gives us the ability to create,
    edit, send, and receive information
    electronically, usually using some type of
    computer network.
  • The advantages are as follows
  • A person can send messages to and receive
    messages from someone almost instantaneously
    practically anywhere in the world (provided both
    people are linked together by some type of
    computer network). These messages can be read,
    stored, printed, edited, or deleted.
  • Once the mail system software and computer
    network are in place, the actual cost of sending
    a message is very small.

Communicating With People
  • Electronic Mail
  • The disadvantages are as follows
  • The sheer volume of electronic mail an individual
    receives may be overwhelming.
  • Because it is so quick and easy to create a
    response to an electronic mail message and
    because mail users sometimes forget that they are
    communicating with another person via a machine,
    not with the machine directly, electronic mail
    messages are sometimes blunt, tactless, or
  • Personal privacy is another concern.
  • Electronic mail deprives its users of some of the
    richness of other forms of communication, such as
    tone of voice, facial expression, body language,

Communicating With People
  • Body Language and Proxemics
  • Body language is all of the information being
    communicated by an individual other than their
    spoken words. Body language is a form of
    nonverbal communications that we all use and are
    usually unaware of.
  • Why should the analyst be concerned with body
  • Research studies have determined a startling fact
    of a person's total feelings, only 7 percent
    are communicated verbally (in words), 38 percent
    are communicated by the tone of voice used, and
    55 percent of those feelings are communicated by
    facial and body expressions.
  • If you only listen to someone's words, you are
    missing most of what they have to say!

Communicating With People
  • Body Language and Proxemics
  • We will focus on just three aspects of body
    language facial disclosure, eye contact, and
  • Facial disclosure means you can sometimes
    understand how a person feels by watching the
    expressions on their faces.
  • Many common emotions have easily recognizable
    facial expressions associated with them.
  • However, you need to be aware that the face is
    one of the most controlled parts of the body.
  • Some people who are aware that their expressions
    often reveal what they are thinking are very good
    at disguising their faces.

Communicating With People
  • Body Language and Proxemics
  • Eye contact is the least controlled part of the
  • A continual lack of eye contact may indicate
  • A normal glance is usually from three to five
    seconds in length however, direct eye contact
    time should increase with distance.
  • As an analyst, you need to be careful not to use
    excessive eye contact with a threatened user so
    that you won't further intimidate them.
  • Direct eye contact can cause strong feelings,
    either positive or negative, in other people.
  • If eyes are the window to the soul,'' be sure
    to search for any information they may provide.

Communicating With People
  • Body Language and Proxemics
  • Posture is the least controlled aspect of the
    body, even less than the face or voice.
  • Body posture holds a wealth of information for
    the astute analyst.
  • Members of a group who are in agreement tend to
    display the same posture.
  • A good analyst will watch the audience for
    changes in posture that could indicate anxiety,
    disagreement, or boredom.
  • An analyst should normally maintain an open
    body position signaling approachability,
    acceptance, and receptiveness.
  • In special circumstances, the analyst may choose
    to use a confrontation angle of head on or at a
    90 angle to another person in order to establish
    control and dominance.

Communicating With People
  • Body Language and Proxemics
  • Individuals also communicate via proxemics.
  • Proxemics is the relationship between people and
    the space around them. Proxemics is a factor in
    communications that can be controlled by the
    knowledgeable analyst.
  • People still tend to be very territorial about
    their space.
  • A good analyst is aware of four spatial zones
  • Intimate zone -- closer than 1.5 feet.
  • Personal zone -- from 1.5 feet to 4 feet.
  • Social zone -- from 4 feet to 12 feet.
  • Public zone -- beyond 12 feet.

Communicating With People
  • Body Language and Proxemics
  • Certain types of communications take place only
    in some of these spatial zones.
  • For example, an analyst conducts most interviews
    with system users in the personal zone.
  • But the analyst may need to move back to the
    social zone if the user displays any signs (body
    language) of being uncomfortable.
  • Sometimes increasing eye contact can make up for
    a long distance that can't be changed.
  • Many people use the fringes of the social zone as
    a respect'' distance.

  • Introduction
  • During the course of a systems development
    project, many meetings are usually held.
  • A meeting is an attempt to accomplish an
    objective as a result of discussion under
    leadership. Some possible meeting objectives are
    listed in the margin.
  • The ability to coordinate or participate in a
    meeting is critical to the success of any

  • Preparing for a Meeting
  • Meetings are also very expensive because they
    require several people to dedicate time that
    could be better spent on other productive work.
  • The more individuals involved in a meeting, the
    more the meeting costs.
  • But because meetings are an essential form of
    communication, we must strive to offset the
    meeting costs by maximizing benefits (in terms of
    project progress) realized during the meeting.

  • Preparing for a Meeting
  • Step 1 Determine the Need for and Purpose of the
  • Every meeting should have a well-defined purpose
    that can be communicated to its participants.
  • Meetings without a well-defined purpose are
    rarely productive.
  • The purpose of every meeting should be attainable
    within 60 to 90 minutes, because longer meetings
    tend to become unproductive.
  • When necessary, longer meetings are possible if
    they are divided into well-defined submeetings
    that are separated by breaks that allow people to
    catch up on their normal responsibilities.

  • Preparing for a Meeting
  • Step 2 Schedule the Meeting and Arrange for
  • After deciding the purpose of the meeting,
    determine who should attend.
  • The proper participants should be chosen to
    ensure that the purpose of the meeting can be
  • Some research indicates that the most creative
    problem solving and decision making is done in
    small, odd-numbered groups.

  • Preparing for a Meeting
  • Step 2 Schedule the Meeting and Arrange for
  • The date and time for the meeting will be subject
    to the availability of the meeting room and the
    prior commitments of the various participants.
  • Morning meetings are generally better than
    afternoon meetings because the participants are
    fresh and not yet caught up in the workday's
  • It is best to avoid scheduling meetings in the
    late afternoon (when people are anxious to go
    home), before lunch, before holidays, or on the
    same day as other meetings involving the same

  • Preparing for a Meeting
  • Step 2 Schedule the Meeting and Arrange for
  • The meeting location is very important.
  • Seating arrangement is particularly important.
  • If leader-to-group interaction is required, the
    group should face the leader but not necessarily
    other members of the group.
  • If group-to-group interaction is needed, the team
    members, including the leader, should all face
    one another.
  • Make sure that any necessary visual aids (flip
    charts, overhead projectors, chalk, and so forth)
    are also available in the room.

  • Preparing for a Meeting
  • Step 3 Prepare an Agenda
  • A written agenda for the meeting should be
    distributed well in advance of the meeting.
  • The agenda confirms the date, time, location, and
    duration of the meeting.
  • It states the meeting's purpose and offers a
    tentative timetable for discussion and questions.
  • If participants should bring specific materials
    with them or review specific documents prior to
    the meeting, specify this in the agenda.
  • The agenda may include any supplements for
    example, reports, documentation, or memoranda
    that the participants will need to refer to or
    study before or during the meeting.

  • Conducting a Meeting
  • Try to start on time, but do not start the
    meeting until everyone is present.
  • If an important participant is more than 15
    minutes late, then consider canceling the
  • Discourage interruptions and delays, such as
    phone calls.
  • Have enough copies of handouts for all
  • Review the agenda so that the discussion items
    become group property.
  • Cover each item on the agenda according to the
    timetable developed when the meeting was
  • The group leader should ensure that no one person
    or subgroup dominates or is left out of the

  • Conducting a Meeting
  • Decisions should be made by consensus opinion or
    majority vote. One rule is always in order
  • Stay on the agenda and end on time!
  • If you do not finish discussing all items on the
    agenda, schedule another meeting.
  • Sometimes, the purpose of a meeting is to
    generate possible ideas to solve a problem. One
    approach is called brainstorming.
  • Brainstorming is a technique for generating ideas
    during group meetings. Participants are
    encouraged to generate as many ideas as possible
    in a short period of time without any analysis
    until all the ideas have been exhausted.

  • Conducting a Meeting
  • Brainstorming is a formal technique that requires
  • These guidelines should be followed to ensure
    effective brainstorming
  • Isolate the appropriate people in a place that
    will be free from distractions and interruptions.
  • Make sure that everyone understands the purpose
    of the meeting (to generate ideas to solve the
    problem) and focus on the problem(s).
  • Appoint one person to record ideas. This person
    should use a flip chart, chalkboard, or overhead
    projector that can be viewed by the entire group.

  • Conducting a Meeting
  • These guidelines should be followed to ensure
    effective brainstorming
  • Remind everyone of the brainstorming rules
  • Be spontaneous. Call out ideas as fast as they
  • Absolutely no criticism, analysis, or evaluation
    of any kind is permitted while the ideas are
    being generated. Any idea may be useful, if only
    to spark another idea.
  • Emphasize quantity of ideas, not necessarily

  • Conducting a Meeting
  • These guidelines should be followed to ensure
    effective brainstorming
  • Within a specified time period, team members call
    out their ideas as quickly as they can think of
  • After the group has run out of ideas and all
    ideas have been recorded, then and only then
    should the ideas be analyzed and evaluated.
  • Refine, combine, and improve the ideas that were
    generated earlier.

  • Following Up on a a Meeting
  • As soon as possible after the meeting is over,
    the minutes of the meeting should be published.
  • The minutes are a brief, written summary of what
    happened during the meeting -- items discussed,
    decisions made, and items for future
  • The minutes are usually prepared by the recording
    secretary, a team member designated by the group

Formal Presentations
  • Introduction
  • In order to communicate information to the many
    different people involved in a systems
    development project, a systems analyst is
    frequently required to make a formal
  • Formal presentations are special meetings used to
    sell new ideas and gain approval for new systems.
    They may also be used for any of the purposes in
    the margin. In many cases, a formal presentation
    may set up or supplement a more detailed written
  • Effective and successful presentations require
    three critical ingredients preparation,
    preparation, and preparation.

Formal Presentations
  • Introduction
  • Formal Presentation Advantages
  • Immediate feedback and spontaneous responses.
  • The audience can respond to the presenter, who
    can use emphasis, timed pauses, and body language
    to convey messages not possible with the written
  • Formal Presentation Disadvantages
  • The material presented is easily forgotten
    because the words are spoken and the visual aids
    are transient.
  • That's why presentations are often followed by a
    written report, either summarized or detailed.

Formal Presentations
  • Preparing for the Formal Presentation
  • As mentioned earlier, it is particularly
    important to know your audience.
  • The systems analyst is frequently thought of as
    the dreaded agent of change in an organization.
  • As Machiavelli wrote in his classic book The
  • There is nothing more difficult to carry out,
    nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a
    new order of things. For the reformer has enemies
    in all who profit by the old order, and only
    lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit
    from the new order, this lukewarmness arising
    partly from fear of their adversaries and
    partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do
    not believe in anything new until they have had
    actual experience of it.
  • People tend to be opposed to change.

Formal Presentations
  • Preparing for the Formal Presentation
  • A successful analyst must be an effective
  • To effectively present and sell change, you must
    be confident in your ideas and have the facts to
    back them up.
  • Step 1 Define your expectations of the
    presentation for instance, that you are seeking
    approval to continue the project, that you are
    trying to confirm facts, and so forth.
  • A presentation is a summary of your ideas and
    proposals that is directed toward your
  • Step 2 Organize your presentation around the
    allotted time (usually 30 to 60 minutes).

Formal Presentations
  • Preparing for the Formal Presentation
  • Step 3 Prepare visual aids such as predrawn flip
    charts, overhead slides, Microsoft Powerpoint
    slides and the like to support your position.
  • Just like a written paragraph, each visual aid
    should convey a single idea.
  • To hold your audience's attention, consider
    distributing photocopies of the visual aids at
    the start of the presentation.
  • This way, the audience doesn't have to take as
    many notes
  • Step 4 Practice the presentation in front of the
    most critical audience you can assemble.
  • Have somebody raise criticisms and objections.
  • Practice your responses to these issues.

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Formal Presentations
  • Conducting the Formal Presentation
  • The following are guidelines that may improve the
    actual presentation
  • Dress professionally. The way you dress
    influences people.
  • Avoid using the word I when making the
    presentation. Use you' and we to assign
    ownership of the proposed system to management.
  • Maintain eye contact with the group and keep an
    air of confidence. If you don't show management
    that you believe in your proposal, why should
    they believe in it?
  • Be aware of your own mannerisms. Some of the most
    common mannerisms include using too many hand
    gestures, pacing, and repeatedly saying you
    know'' or okay.''

Formal Presentations
  • Conducting the Formal Presentation
  • Ways to Keep the Audience Listening
  • Stop talking. The silence can be deafening.
  • Ask a question, and let someone in the audience
    answer it.
  • Try a little humor. Everybody likes to laugh.
    Tell a joke on yourself.
  • Use some props. Use some type of visual aid to
    make your point clearer.
  • Change your voice level. By making your voice
    louder or softer, you force the audience to
    listen more closely or make it easier for them to
  • Do something totally unexpected. Drop a book,
    toss your notes, jingle your keys.

Formal Presentations
  • Conducting the Formal Presentation
  • Answering Questions
  • Sometimes answering questions after a
    presentation may be difficult and frustrating.
  • We suggest the following guidelines when
    answering questions
  • Always answer questions seriously, even if you
    feel that it is a silly question.
  • Answer both the individual who asked the question
    and the entire audience.
  • Summarize your answers.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend answering any
    one question.
  • Be honest.

Formal Presentations
  • Following Up the Formal Presentation
  • It is extremely important to follow up a formal
    presentation because the spoken work and
    impressive visual aids used in a presentation do
    not usually leave a lasting impression.
  • For this reason, most presentations are followed
    by written reports of some kind that provide the
    audience with a more permanent copy of the
    information that was communicated.

Project Walkthroughs
  • Introduction
  • A special type of meeting conducted by the
    analyst is called a project walkthrough.
  • The project walkthrough is a peer group review of
    systems development documentation. Walkthroughs
    may be used to verify almost any type of detailed
    documentation such as ERDs, DFDs and program
  • Peer group review tend to identify errors that go
    unnoticed by the analyst who prepared the

Project Walkthroughs
  • Who Should Participate in the Walkthrough?
  • A walkthrough group should consist of seven or
    fewer participants.
  • All members of the walkthrough must be treated
    as equals.
  • The analyst who prepared the documentation to be
    reviewed should present that documentation to the
    group during the walkthrough.
  • Another analyst or key system user should be
    appointed as walkthrough coordinator.
  • The coordinator schedules the walkthrough and
    ensures that each participant gets the
    documentation well before the meeting date.
  • The coordinator also makes sure that the
    walkthrough is properly conducted and mediates
    disputes and problems that may arise during the

Project Walkthroughs
  • Who Should Participate in the Walkthrough?
  • The coordinator has the authority to ask
    participants to stop a disagreement and move on.
  • The coordinator designates a walkthrough recorder
    to take notes during the walkthrough.
  • The remaining participants include system users,
    analysts, or specialists who evaluate the
  • Walkthroughs should never last more than 90

Project Walkthroughs
  • Conducting a Walkthrough
  • All participants must agree to follow the same
    set of rules and procedures.
  • The basic purpose of the walkthrough is error
    detection, not error correction.
  • The analyst who is presenting the documentation
    should seek only whatever clarification is needed
    to correct the errors.
  • The analysts should never argue with the
    reviewers' comments.
  • A defensive attitude inhibits constructive
  • Reviewers should be encouraged to offer at least
    one positive and one negative comment in order to
    guarantee that the walkthrough is not superficial.

Project Walkthroughs
  • Conducting a Walkthrough
  • After the walkthrough, the coordinator should ask
    the reviewers for a recommendation. There are
    three possible alternatives
  • Accept the documentation in its present form.
  • Accept the documentation with the revisions
  • Request another walkthrough because a large
    number of errors were found or because criticisms
    created controversy.

Project Walkthroughs
  • Following Up on the Walkthrough
  • The walkthrough should be promptly followed by a
    written report from the coordinator.
  • The report contains a management summary that
    states what was reviewed, when the walkthrough
    occurred, who attended, and the final

Written Reports
  • Introduction
  • The business and technical report is the primary
    method used by analysts to communicate
    information about a systems development project.
  • The purpose of the report is to either inform or
    persuade, possibly both.

Written Reports
  • Business and Technical Reports
  • Systems Planning Reports
  • While studying the business mission, the analyst
    will usually prepare a planning project charter
    for review, correction, and approval by the
    appropriate managers and staff.
  • During the definition phase, the analyst must
    prepare and present the information architecture
    and plan.
  • This architecture and plan must be approved by
    both information systems manager and staff and
    system owners and users.
  • The evaluation phase, results in several
    important reports, including the business area
    plan, planned database and/or network development
    projects, and planned application development

Written Reports
  • Business and Technical Reports
  • Systems Analysis Reports
  • After the survey phase, the analyst normally
    prepares a preliminary feasibility assessment and
    a statement of project scope, both of which are
    presented to a steering committee who make a
    decision concerning the continuation or
    cancellation of the project.
  • During the study phase, the analyst prepares and
    presents a business problem statement and new
    system objectives to verify with system users
    their understanding of the current system and
    analyses of problems, limitations, and
    constraints in that system.

Written Reports
  • Business and Technical Reports
  • Systems Analysis Reports
  • The definition phase, results in a business
    requirements statement.
  • This specification document is often large and
    complex and is rarely written up as a single
    report to system users and owners.
  • It is best reviewed in walkthroughs (in small
    pieces) with users and maintained as a reference
    for analysts and programmers.

Written Reports
  • Business and Technical Reports
  • Systems Design Reports
  • The next formal report, the systems proposal, is
    generated after the selection phase has been
  • This report combines an outline of the system
    user requirements from the definition phase with
    the detailed feasibility analysis of alternative
    solutions that fulfill those requirements.
  • The report concludes with a recommended or
    proposed solution.
  • This report is normally preceded or followed by a
    presentation to those managers and executives who
    will decide on the proposal.

Written Reports
  • Business and Technical Reports
  • Systems Design Reports
  • The design phase results in detailed design
    specifications that are often organized into a
    technical design report.
  • This report is quite detailed and is primarily
    intended for information systems professionals.
  • It tends to be quite a large report because it
    contains numerous forms, charts, and technical
  • The acquisition phase can generate several
  • The most important report the request for
    proposals is used to communicate requirements
    to prospective vendors who may respond with
    specific proposals.
  • Especially when the selection decision involves
    significant expenditures, the analyst may have to
    write a report that defends the recommended
    proposal to management.

Written Reports
  • Business and Technical Reports
  • Systems Implementation Reports
  • In a sense, the most important report is written
    during the construction and delivery phases.
  • The user's manual and reference guide.
  • This document explains how to use the computer
    system (such as what keys to push, how to react
    to certain messages, and where to get help).
  • In addition to computer manuals, the analyst may
    rewrite the standard operating procedures for the
  • A standard operating procedure explains both the
    noncomputer and computer tasks and policies for
    the new system.

Written Reports
  • Length of a Written Report
  • The written report is the most abused method used
    by analysts to communicate with system users.
  • The following are guidelines to restrict report
  • To executive-level managers one or two pages.
  • To middle-level managers three to five pages.
  • To supervisory-level managers less than ten
  • To clerk-level personnel less than fifty pages.
  • It is possible to organize a larger report to
    include subreports for managers who are at
    different levels.
  • These subreports are usually included as early
    sections in the report and summarize the report,
    focusing on the bottom line What's wrong? What
    do you suggest? What do you want?

Written Reports
  • Organizing the Written Report
  • Every report consists of both primary and
    secondary elements.
  • Primary elements present the actual information
    that the report is intended to convey. Examples
    include the introduction and the conclusion.
  • Secondary elements package the report so the
    reader can easily identify the report and its
    primary elements. Secondary elements also add a
    professional polish to the report.

Written Reports
  • Organizing the Written Report
  • Primary Elements
  • Primary elements can be organized in one of two
    formats factual and administrative.
  • The factual format is very traditional and best
    suited to readers who are interested in facts and
    details as well as conclusions.
  • We would use this format to specify detailed
    requirements and design specifications to system
  • This format is not appropriate for most managers
    and executives.

Written Reports
  • Organizing the Written Report
  • Primary Elements
  • Primary elements can be organized in one of two
    formats factual and administrative. (continued)
  • The administrative format is a modern,
    result-oriented format preferred by many managers
    and executives.
  • This format is designed for readers who are
    interested in results, not facts.
  • This format presents conclusions or
    recommendations first.
  • Readers can read the report straight through,
    until the point at which the level of detail
    exceeds their interest.

Written Reports
  • Organizing the Written Report
  • Primary Elements
  • Both formats include some common elements.
  • The introduction should include four components
    purpose of the report, statement of the problem,
    scope of the project, and a narrative explanation
    of the contents of the report.
  • The methods and procedures section should briefly
    explain how the information contained in the
    report was developed for example, how the study
    was performed or how the new system will be
  • The bulk of the report will be in the facts
  • This section should be named to describe the type
    of factual data to be presented (e.g., Existing
    Systems Description, Analysis of Alternative
    Solutions, or Design Specifications).
  • The conclusion should briefly summarize the
    report, verifying the problem statement,
    findings, and recommendations.

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Written Reports
  • Organizing the Written Report
  • Secondary Elements
  • No report should be distributed without a letter
    of transmittal to the recipient.
  • This letter should be clearly visible, not inside
    the cover of the report.
  • A letter of transmittal states what type of
    action is needed on the report.
  • It can also call attention to any features of the
    project or report that deserve special attention.
  • In addition, it is an appropriate place to
    acknowledge the help youve received from various

Written Reports
  • Organizing the Written Report
  • Secondary Elements
  • The abstract or executive summary is a one- or
    two-page summary of the entire report.
  • It helps the reader decide if the report
    contains information they need to know.
  • It can also serve as the highest level summary
  • Virtually every manager reads these summaries.
  • Most managers will read on, possibly skipping the
    detailed facts and appendices.

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Written Reports
  • Writing the Business or Technical Report
  • Writing can greatly influence career paths in any
  • The following are some writing guidelines
  • Paragraphs should convey a single idea.
  • They should flow nicely, one to the next.
  • Poor paragraph structure can almost always be
    traced to outlining deficiencies.
  • Sentences should not be too complex.
  • The average sentence length should not exceed 20
  • Studies suggest that sentences longer than 20
    words are difficult to read and understand.

Written Reports
  • Writing the Business or Technical Report
  • Writing can greatly influence career paths in any
  • The following are some writing guidelines
  • Write in the active voice.
  • The passive voice becomes wordy and boring when
    used consistently.
  • Eliminate jargon, big words, and deadwood.
  • For example, replace DBMS with database
    management system, substitute so for
    accordingly, try useful instead of
    advantageous, and use clearly instead of it
    is clear that.

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  • Introduction
  • Communicating With People
  • Meetings
  • Formal Presentations
  • Project Walkthroughs
  • Written Reports
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