ICTICT307 Customise packaged software applications for clients

ICTICT307 - Assessment Task 1

General Instructions:

In Assessment Task 1 you are expected to deliver the planning for a customised database. The planning will consist of consideration of client requirements and the draft designs of the main database structures.

Assessment Criteria:

To achieve a satisfactory result, your assessor will be looking for your ability to show the following key skills/tasks/knowledge to an acceptable industry standard:

  • interpret and document client requirements to customise software applications
  • design software applications
  • analyse, carry out and check customised software applications
  • produce documentation for the client
  • get feedback from client to make sure requirements have been met
  • outline the general features and capabilities of current industry accepted hardware and software products
  • discuss functions and features of software applications suitable for client
  • discuss functions and features of the operating system (OS)
  • name information and communications technology (ICT) structure and system infrastructure
  • describe organisational policy and procedures on customising software
  • name organisational security procedures.

Gather evidence to show consistent performance in conditions that are safe and replicate the workplace. Noise levels, production flow, interruptions and time variances must be typical of those experienced in the general ICT industry, and include access to:

  • a site where software applications may be customised
  • use customisable software applications used in industry
  • client requirements documentation
  • organisational requirements.

Background

Scenario

The assessment tasks for this unit are based on a workplace scenario. You work as a consultant for an IT development company called Usable Database Development Pty Ltd (fake name) which customises Microsoft Access. Your supervisor has asked you to meet with the Director of a furniture manufacturer, Apps Furniture (fake name), to discuss a customised system to be used for various data management functions.

Apps Furniture builds household furniture for sale to furniture retail stores. It has been in business for 20 years.

The company wants to automate much of its data management, and has already done some ground work in the database AppsFurniture.mdb. It has prepared all the database tables that it needs. It has also entered six months of data in the tables, but no member of staff can customise the database because they do not have the skills in Microsoft Access like you do.

The business is owned by the Apps family. Family members work in the four key management roles.

Apps Furniture management team

Harold Apps

Director of Apps Furniture, takes care of strategic planning and decision-making.

Debra Dibbs

Office Manager, responsible for general office matters, processing orders, accounting, staff rostering, payroll, and human resource management.

Ashley Apps

Production Manager, oversees day-to-day running of the production departments, as well as taking care of purchasing materials and production scheduling.

Jenny Jamieson

Sales Manager, handles marketing and supervision of the sales team.

Discussion with Apps Furniture staff

Harold Apps Director

At the end of last year the company installed a local area network and decided to add Microsoft Access to our Microsoft Office subscription. Our purpose was, and is, to build a custom system to handle our most important information needs. We did some work creating database tables for furniture production, expenses, stock, and related functions, such as order taking. We entered the data for the first six months of the year but we have not made any progress beyond that. We would like to use your company to customise our Access database.

I have set up interviews with our sales, production, and office managers to discuss with you the way they work, and their needs for the new system. We would appreciate any efficiencies that you may be able to build into the new system, provided they don’t go beyond the scope of our immediate needs at this time.

Jenny Jamieson

Sales manager

I look after the sales team, who spend a lot of time on the road promoting our stock lines. Each customer deals with just one sales person. When a salesperson takes a new order, he or she phones it to office staff who will enter it directly into the database. I understand this order screen is not yet created, however all the tables needed have been set up in the database.

I need two reports. Firstly, I will need to see a summary of all orders grouped by sales staff member. I don’t need to see a dollar value, just a list of the orders, and which customers they were made out to. Secondly, I would like to see this same data grouped according to customer, so I can easily see all orders placed by each customer.

Ashley Apps Production manager

I oversee manufacturing, which of course is our main activity. In the factory we have three eight-hour shifts a day and produce items of furniture from raw materials like wood, steel, and fabric. At the end of each shift we need to record in the database what work has been completed in each production department.

One of the things I want from the system is to see the output of any department over any time period, so I can keep an eye on production figures. I want to be able to run a report which prompts for a start date, then an end date, then a department ID, showing only that data.

Another important report I want will list all product data grouped according to product type. All staff at Apps Furniture will need this report quite often.

I suggest you have a look at our data as it has been entered in the database, and you will see the codes for the production departments and products. The data is complete for the first six months of the year.

Debra Dibbs Office manager

We want to take accurate orders over the phone by the field sales staff or by customers. An office staff member will need a screen which shows customer, date, and salesperson code at the top, and then a line for each stock item in the order. A typical order screen will be ideal. The screen should show a running total value of the order. There should be enough room on the form to show at least seven order lines without scrolling. We would like wherever possible, to pick as much as we can from drop-down lists so that the data integrity is assured.

On the output side we need a summary of what orders each customer has placed with us, showing order number and date ordered. We don’t need the stock items or dollar values in the order, just one line per order giving the main order information.

In the future an updated system should be able to convert orders to invoices as the orders are filled, but that doesn’t have to happen in the first version of our database.

I also manage expenses for each department. The expenses of Production are by far the largest because of all the materials they buy. I would like a report which shows me a list of expenses for any one department. I want to enter the department code, and see all expenses for that department, with a total dollar value at the end.

I also manage our human resources and need to be able to list all data for all staff, grouped by department.

The last feature I would like is some sort of automatic update of selling prices. We do across-the-board selling price changes from time to time, usually increases in prices in response to increases in materials. For example, just last week we increased all selling prices by 5%. We want to choose the percentage though, as it will not always be 5%.

Harold Apps Director

Thanks for visiting our managers and getting their view on what is needed for the first version of our database. The scope of the project will be as you have learned in these interviews, and will be limited to what can be done with the data we have given you in the AppsFurniture database. Even though other things can be done, that is all we need for now.

The customised Microsoft Access database will be totally new to many of our people, so it is important to have suitable training tailored to each person. I understand your company also gives a small operating manual for the software you develop?

I look forward to receiving your proposal document with the summary of our requirements as you have understood them, and an initial design of the Access database system you propose for us.

Thank you Harold Apps Director Apps Furniture

Relationships between tables

Table relationships are to support the following business rules:

  • ‘If we delete a customer in the customer table, all orders for that customer must be deleted automatically. The reason for this is that we intend to clean once-only customers at the end of each financial year, after making a backup copy of the database.’
  • ‘We don’t want to be able to delete a staff member unless that staff member does not show in any orders.’
  • ‘We don’t want to be able to delete a product unless that product does not show in any orders.’

Input masks and the like may be applied to fields, but this is not mandatory.

Task 1

1.1 List client requirements

Document the requirements of Apps Furniture based on the interviews above. Organise your report this way, with the headings:

  • Cover page: Design is up to you, but it should be very business-like and look like a cover page you would really send to a client. In this case, do not do a cover page your would normally give as a TAFE student
  • Background: Keep it brief
  • Client requirements: Rewrite the requirements of the customisation project in your own words, as you have understood them from the staff interviews

Task 2

Draft designs of forms, reports, and menus

In this task you design the inputs (forms), outputs (reports), and function of the system (main menu/s), taking into account the client needs from the interviews above. Each of the designs will be created in Microsoft Access and screenshots copy and pasted into your proposal document. The real database is sent only in Assessment Task 2.

2.1 Input (form) designs

Design all input forms for the system. In your proposal document, under each form screenshot state:

  • Tables or queries containing the fields to be used in the form
  • Who will use the form.

2.2 Output (report) designs

Design all reports for the client. Reports will preview on-screen when selected from a menu. In your proposal document, under each report screenshot state:

  • Tables or queries containing the fields to be used in the report
  • Who will run the report.

2.3 Menu screen design

Design, using unbound forms, one or more menus that allow users to navigate to forms and reports. Users will not see the database window, so the only way they can launch forms and reports is through your menu/s. How you organise your menu/s is up to you, however it should be efficient.

Under each menu screenshot in your proposal document state:

  • Who will use the menu form.

2.4 Seek client agreement

Create the text of a one page letter asking the client for authorisation to continue with the database development, based on what you have proposed. Put a page break between this letter and your earlier pages, so that your client agreement letter starts on a new page. Make sure to to include an area at the end of your letter for a signature and date, so Harold Apps, the Director, can sign off on your database design proposal.


ICTICT307 - Assessment Task 2

Overview

In Assessment 2 you are expected to deliver the customised database proposed in Assessment 1. While you may certainly begin work on Assessment 2 while waiting for return of Assessment 1 from your teacher, you should NOT submit Assessment 2 until you have received feedback for Assessment 1. You must take into account client comments on your design proposed in Assessment 1. Your marker will fulfil the feedback functions of the Apps Furniture client.

Assessment activities

Task 1 – Customisation of AppsFurniture.mdb

As you customise the Access database for the client you should develop in the following order, taking into account any “client feedback” received in assessment 1:

  1. Create relationships
  2. Create queries
  3. Implement reports
  4. Implement forms
  5. Implement menus

Naming new database objects

The Lesynski Naming Convention (LNC) must be used as you create database objects for this project.

1.1 Relationships

Implement the system relationships determined during the design phase, taking into account feedback from the client.

1.2 Queries

Implement the queries required to support input and output functions determined during the design phase, taking into account feedback from the client.

1.3 Reports

Implement the output reports determined during the design phase, taking into account feedback from the client.

1.4 Forms

Implement the input forms determined during the design phase, taking into account feedback from the client.

1.5 Menus

Implement the functional menus determined during the design phase, taking into account feedback from the client.

As a last step compact your database using the Access Compact and repair menu. This will usually make the database smaller by getting rid of wasted space.

Task 2 – Client testing schedule

In this question you will write part of a test schedule to be delivered to the client as a framework to guide testing. There is no need to test your complete system. Create in your assessment document a schedule to test:

  • Creating a single order

As an example of a part of a testing schedule, we show the steps to test a report that may be similar to a report you have designed.

View production report

Test action Tester’s comment
Click on Reports button in main menu
Click on Production report in the report menu
Enter 01/04/07 in the Start Date box and click OK
Enter 08/04/07 in the End Date box and click OK
Enter ASS in the Department ID box and click OK
Close report
Return to main menu

The AppsFurniture database you submit for assessment should show that you have actually done the testing using data you have given in your test schedule. For example, if your testing schedule enters a new order, the data from that order should show in the relevant tables.

Note: In your client testing schedule you are not required to show invalid data entry attempts.

Task 3 – User documentation and feedback

3.1 User documentation

In this question you will write some user documentation to be delivered to the client. There is no need to document the complete AppsFurniture system; prepare a user guide which can be used as a reference to guide the following operation:

1. Enter a new order in the system

It is desirable to include screen dumps of the order form in your user guide excerpt.

Write the guide as a reference, not as a tutorial. In other words there is no need to lead the user through a sample data entry exercise.

3.2 Feedback form

Create a feedback form for the client to fill in after using your customised database. Include no more than ten questions about the effectiveness of your customised product.

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