Smalltown Engineering

Based on the description and diagram below (and only the diagram below), answer the questions that follow.

Smalltown Engineering, Inc., is a relatively new company that is growing quickly.  Founded and located in Smalltown, Arkansas, the company is now expanding its office locations to cities across the country.  As a result, a process has been developed for the processing of job applications, management of candidate interviews, and communication with all appropriate personnel and departments.  This process will be implemented in all expansion offices to guarantee uniformity and consistency. 

Smalltown Engineering, Inc.

Human Resources Hiring Process


  • An application can be received from an Applicant without a job opening (Job Description) being available. T / F
  • An Engineering Manager and an Applicant have no direct communication with each other within this system. T / F
  • Process 1 (Receive Application) validates applications before storing them in the system. T / F
  • Interviews are scheduled and tracked by Process 3 (Choose for Interview). T / F
  • Process 4 (Evaluate and Hire) requires a minimum number of Interview Evaluations. T / F
  • The Non-Disclosure Form is a paper-based form sent to the Applicant. T / F
  • Process 5 (Purge Year-old Applications) is incorrectly drawn as there must be at least one process connected to either its input or output data flows. T / F
  • There is no limit to the number of interviews an Applicant can have with Smalltown Engineering, Inc. T / F
  • In order to create an employee record in the Employee data store, the system must collect additional information from the Applicant who has been hired. T / F
  • Once hired, a new Employee will have access to her record in the Applications data store. T / F

Read the following scenario. Write a letter to the Detroit Free Press explaining your understanding of the situation from the perspective of a well-trained systems analyst with a graduate degree from the prestigious Yale University .  Be sure you discuss systems development and how it relates to users and management, communication, user involvement, and project management, among others.

You recently read an article in the Detroit Free Press about employee complaints at Megahuge Products, a local manufacturing company.  Apparently, Megahuge outsourced some systems development work to LittleKnown Development Corp. in Smalltown, Arkansas (located down the street from Smalltown Engineering, Inc.).  After nearly nine months of working on a new order processing system, LittleKnown Development Corp. deliverd a very effective system at 90% of the originally estimated cost and two weeks before the project deadline.

The Free Press article went on to say that the employees of Megahuge, while they were aware that someone on the outside was doing some analysis of their current systems, had no direct involvement with LittleKnown Development Corp. during the last nine months.  Megahuge management stated that the project was completely under control, and that the nature of the project was such that the lower-level employees would not have understood the strategic implications, managerial processes, or technical specifications.

The article concluded by saying that the Megahuge employees seemed to be overly bitter given the fact that the new system is over 50% faster than the old system and much easier to use.  Also, the article seemed to support the actions of LittleKnown Development Corp. and implied that this was the norm for large-scale systems development projects in this day and age.

Read the following scenario. Read the following scenario and explain to the owner and to the clerks the differences between logical and physical modeling.  When and why would anyone use each?  Remember, users and managers each have different perspectives, needs, and concerns.

Smalltown Hardware and Home Improvement (yes, headquartered in Smalltown, Arkansas!) is expanding beyond the owner’s wildest dreams.  She has hired your small consulting company to analyze the need for a new system.  Things have been stressed between her and you since you started working with her because she says you keep using this “techy” language and diagrams that she doesn’t understand.  Further, she feels that you keep ignoring “how” she does things, instead, only focusing on “what” she does.  She wants you to improve how she does things – she knows what she does.  Since you are about to present DFDs to both the owner and to the store clerks, you know that you need to address some issues now.

Evaluate the following scenario using the PIECES framework. Do not be concerned that you are unfamiliar with the setting – that isn’t unusual for any systems analyst.  Once you have completed the analysis, use the results to brainstorm potential questions you would ask the end user. (40 points)

Smalltown Booksellers is a national chain of bookstores (headquartered in Smalltown, Arkansas!) specializing in all types of books for the family.  Each store is responsible for maintaining their own customer lists.  Data on current customers are captured at point of sale.  Through their frequent customer program they are able to gather not only the names and addresses of their customers, but also their buying patterns.  This way, the local store can target promotions to those customers.  The corporate office maintains their own list of customers, but theirs is mainly only those involved in the frequent customer program.  They also purchase lists of potential clients from other companies.

Smalltown Booksellers has three types of promotions:  General Corporate, Local, and Frequent Buyer.  Promotions consist of either percent off coupons or a mailer showing the monthly sales items.  General Corporate promotions are sent to potential new clients as well as to those in the frequent buyer program.  Local promotions are developed and implemented by the local stores with little influence or contact with the corporate office.  All people on the local customer list are sent the promotion, including those on the frequent buyer lists.  As you would expect, the Frequent Buyer promotions target the customers in the frequent buyer program. 

The manager of the Novi, Michigan, store was commenting that she really didn’t understand how these promotions were working.  She received 6 coupons in the mail one month; four were duplicates, and one wasn’t relevant for her store.  She also received two catalogs.  This didn’t make any sense to her.  Not only that, when customers brought in the coupons, there was no way to tie the customer to the coupon.  At the corporate level, Smalltown Booksellers doesn’t know how well these promotions are working either.

Read the following scenario. Do not be concerned that you are unfamiliar with the specifics of the setting – that isn’t unusual for any systems analyst.  Create a list of the entities and level-0 processes for the Data Flow Diagram.  Also, create a list of the entities and their primary keys for the Entity Relationship Diagram.

The Smalltown Music & Video Company (you guessed it – headquartered in Smalltown, Arkansas!) advertises in a variety of magazines.  Most orders are submitted by magazine subscribers who complete and send coupons to the mail order company.  All mail arrives at the receptionist’s desk.  The receptionist sorts and distributes the mail to the appropriate departments.  Mail orders and letters requesting order cancellations are forwarded to an order-entry clerk in the sales department.

The order-entry clerk initially checks the availability and the price of the ordered items and, if necessary, mails a back-order notice to the customer stating that there may be multiple shipments for this order.  This clerk also takes orders from customers directly by phone and forwards all fillable orders to the credit-clerk.  When the order-entry clerk receives a letter requesting an order cancellation (or a cancellation by telephone), the status of the order is first determined.  If the customer order has not been processed, the order-entry clerk informs the warehouse that the order should be canceled and then informs the customer that the cancellation has been completed.

When fillable orders are received by the credit clerk, the customer’s credit status is checked.  Orders are approved and an order-confirmation letter is sent to those customers with good credit standing.  Customers with bad credit standing are sent a payment-overdue notice requesting pre-payment.  The credit clerk forwards approved orders to the warehouse.

The warehouse fills the approved order and updates the inventory availability.  An invoice is sent with the packaged order to the customer, and a shipping notice is sent to the accounts receivable department.  The invoice may contain data from several orders as back-orders are shipped.  Accounts receivable bills the customer for the products shipped.  This department also maintains the invoice data files, updating them to reflect charges or payments received.  Payments are received in the mail and delivered to accounts receivable by the receptionist.  A payment receipt is sent to the customer.