Feasibility Studies

The aims of a feasibility study are to find out whether the system is worth implementing and if it can be implemented, given the existing budget and schedule. The input to the feasibility study is a set of preliminary business requirements, an outline description of the system and how the system is intended to support business processes. The results of the feasibility study should be a report that recommends whether or not it is worth carrying on with the requirements engineering and system development process.

If a system does not support the business objectives, it has no real value to the business. While this may seem obvious, many organizations develop systems which do not contribute to their objectives either because they don't have a clear statement of these objectives, because they fail to define the business requirements for the system or because other political or organization factors influence the system procurement.

Carrying out a feasibility study involves information assessment, information collection and report writing. The information assessment phase identifies the information that is required to answer the three questions set out above. Once the information has been identified, you should question information sources to discover the answers to these questions. Some examples of possible questions that might ask:

  1. How would the organization cope if this system was not implemented?
  2. What are the problems with current processes and how would a new system help alleviate these problems?
  3. What direct contribution will the system make to the business objectives and requirements?
  4. Can information be transferred to and from other organizational systems?
  5. Does the system require technology that has not previously been used in the organization?
  6. What must be supported by the system and what need not be supported?

Information sources may be the managers of departments where the system will be used, software engineers who are familiar with the type of system that is proposed, technology experts, end-users of the system, etc. Normally, IDN complete a feasibility study in two or three weeks.

When the information is available, IDN's consultants write the feasibility study report. IDN's consultants make a recommendation about whether or not the system development should continue. In the report, IDN may propose changes to the scope, budget and schedule of the system and suggest further high-level requirements for the system.

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