Over the years, two main ways of viewing and analyzing systems have given insights into solving issues within the organizational context and these are the Soft System Methodology (SSM) and tStructured System Analysis and Design Method (SSADM), which I will be discussing in this write-up.
Firstly, SSM was established since the 1970s by the reputable Professor Peter Checkland. (Checkland and Poulter, 2006) SSM places importance on human involvement and conduct as part of systems examination to find requirements from and anticipate reactions to modifications that match the analysis and design a system development process as follows:
· Determine problem situation
· Define problem situation through rich pictures
· Define problem situation through root definitions using CATWOE.
Fig 1.1 CATWOE explanation (Checkland and Poulter, 2006)
EXPLANATION OF VARIABLES
Clients affected by system and its activities
Actors who perform activities within the system
Transformation that takes place in the system
Weltanschauung (Worldview) or assumptions made about system
Owner or person to whom the system is accountable
Environment or wider system of which problem situation is a part
· Build a conceptual model for each root definition and define how the system works.
· Compare conceptual models with the real world.
· Identify feasible and desirable change approaches needed to improve the current situation.
· Recommendations on how changes are implemented.
SSM was once used in a computer-based system for the approval of travelling overheads, used by employees in a department. The use of SSM for the analysis of requirements for a travelling expenses system would make this conflict explicit, leading to the specification of an alternative system which was able to flexibly approve the expense on the joint criteria of cost and urgency. (Gasson, 1994)
In contrast, “the Structured System Analysis and Design Method (SSADM) defines the methods of analysis that should occur in a large-scale software development project. SSADM focuses on the feasibility, analysis and design of the systems development lifecycle. It provides fewer guidelines on changeover and maintenance aspect of an Information Systems project.” (Conceptdraw,2017)
The SSADM methodology recognises that for any problem there are a number of different solutions that may be appropriate and that the appropriateness of different solutions is largely determined by the particular viewpoints of those people who have an interest in the problem and its solution. The methodology demands that a system-oriented approach to design is taken, where design is viewed as the creation of a formal system, which must have certain features in common with all other systems. Obviously, a key feature in this methodology is the ability to represent and detect conflicts of interest among the holders of various viewpoints. (Saleh, n.d.)
The three significant methods that are used in SSADM are as follows:
· Logical data modelling
The method of recognizing, developing and verifying the data requirements of the system is planned. (Scottish Qualifications Authority, 2007)
· Data Flow Modeling
The process of identifying, modelling and recording how data moves in an information system. (Scottish Qualifications Authority, 2007)
· Entity Event Modeling
An Entity Event Model is made up of a pair of Entity Life Histories and appropriate supporting documentation. (Scottish Qualifications Authority, 2007) It is a two-stranded process consisting of Entity Behavior Modeling, detecting, modelling and recording the procedures that affect each entity and the order in which these procedures occur, and Event Modeling, designing for each occurrence in the method. (Wikipedia, 2017)
The SSADM method comprises the application of a system of investigation, certification and design tasks concerned with the following: (Ssadm, n.d.)
· Feasibility study
In order to determine feasibility, there must be some form of investigation into the goals and implications of the project. (Ssadm, n.d.)
· Investigation of the current environment
This is an investigation of the system through a combination of interviewing employees, circulating questionnaires, observations and existing documentation, the analyst comes to a full understanding of the system as it is at the start of the project. (Ssadm, n.d.)
· Business system options
Having investigated the current system, the analyst must decide on the overall design of the new system. To do this, he or she, using the outputs of the previous stage, develop a set of business system options. (Ssadm, n.d.)
· Requirements specification
Using the requirements developed in stage 1 and working within the framework of the selected business option, the analyst must develop a full logical specification of what the new system must do. The specification must be free from error, ambiguity and inconsistency (Ssadm, n.d.)
Technical system options
This stage is the first towards a physical implementation of the new system. Like the Business System Options, in this stage, a large number of options for the implementation of the new system are generated. (Ssadm, n.d.)
· Logical design
The logical design specifies the main methods of interaction in terms of menu structures and command structures. (Ssadm, n.d.)
· Physical design
This is the final stage where all the logical specifications of the system are converted to descriptions of the system in terms of real hardware and software. (Ssadm, n.d.)
Relies on its users to have considerable conceptualization (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Does not alert its users to their mental constructs (Slideshare.net, 2018)
A method for messy problem situations and allows discussions on different viewpoints of participants. (Slideshare.net, 2018)
There is an explicit problem de?nition phase during feasibility study (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Does not prescribe particular form of expression to capture essential aspects of an organization as any technique may be used in depicting rich pictures (graphs, animations, charts etc.) (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Uses ?ows of formal data in expression, then tries to extract underlying meaning into a logical data model and logical data ?ow model. (Slideshare.net, 2018)
The design has no distinction between logical and physical design. (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Implementation is somehow missing (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Implementation Completely missing and is one of the weakest points (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Provides insightful contributions to boundary construction, problem ownership, problem content, and context in that all these issues are open to question. (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Boundary construction is trial and error (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Does not have an explicit step for evaluation. (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Evaluation is completely missing (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Comparison of methodologies (Slideshare.net, 2018)
Finally, SSM is a systemic process of learning, the motivation for action is the result of the participatory approach. (Sgourou, E., Katsakiori, P., Papaioannou, I., Goutsos, S. & Adamides, E, 2012) but the SSADM does not allow for a participatory approach to solving problems. For example, an experience with SSADM in developing improved computer-based information systems in a previous organization gave insights on how the methodology has difficulties in handling vital change, defining boundaries of a system and had no user participation in the design process.
Checkland P. and Poulter J. (2006). Learning for Action, Wiley,2006
Conceptdraw (2017). Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method (SSADM) with ConceptDraw PRO. Available at: http://www.conceptdraw.com/How-To-Guide/ssadm Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.
Gasson, S. (1994) The Use of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) As A Tool For Investigation: The purpose of SSM, Warwick Business School. Online Available from: cci.drexel.edu/faculty/sgasson/Vita/UseOfSSM.pdf Accessed: 23 October 2017
Sgourou, E., Katsakiori, P., Papaioannou, I., Goutsos, S. & Adamides, E (2012) 2012 International Symposium on Safety Science and Technology: Using Soft Systems Methodology as a systemic approach to safety performance evaluation. Online Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877705812031530/pdf?md5=29112b7c861ffdbf369e9ed3c84f17fd&pid=1-s2.0-S1877705812031530-main.pdf Accessed: 24 October 2017
Slideshare.net. (2018).Comparison Of Methodologies. Online Available at:
Wikipedia contributors. (2017). Structured systems analysis and design method Online Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Structured_systems_analysis_and_design_method&oldid=815370541 Accessed: 23 October 2017
Mimoza.marmara.edu.tr (2016). Structured_Systems_Analysis_and_Design_Method: Available at:http://mimoza.marmara.edu.tr/~berna.altinel/courses/cse344/PS/Structured_Systems_Analysis_and_Design_Method.pdf Accessed 1 Jan. 2018.
Saleh, A. (n.d.). Faculty of Computer and Information Systems The systems approach. ebook pp.1-12. Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjPyYf1kd7YAhXsKcAKHXMhAdQQFggpMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dr-saleh.com%2Fis%2FLinkClick.aspx%3Ffileticket%3DKtKZZqr5izI%3D&usg=AOvVaw1AlaqxUaywIPDo5XMPhtD1 Accessed 24 Dec. 2017.
Scottish Qualifications Authority (2007). Systems Development: Structured Design Methods. Available at: https://www.sqa.org.uk/e-learning/SDM01CD/page_03.htm
Ssadm. (n.d.). ebook World Heritage Encyclopedia. Available at: http://www.self.gutenberg.org/articles/eng/SSADM Accessed 12 Jan. 2018.