Preface to the first edition

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This book was developed from my lecture notes for an internal company training course: "Fundamentals of Systems Analysis." Thus it is not intended as a formal textbook or as a definitive treatment of the many topics covered, but rather as an introduction and overview for beginning analysts, and as a reference work for more experienced personnel. The material was put in written form to give students something to take back to the office and hopefully use for future reference. It is a practically oriented work and contains bits and pieces of material assembled from over twenty years of doing actual analysis on both large and small application systems.

After programming (coding) there is no more basic skill for the data processor than systems analysis. Systems analysis is the process of discovering what is current practice, what are the current problems, what is missing, and what is superfluous. Thus the reader will find many lists of questions embedded in the text. The answers to these questions define the problem to be solved--that is analysis. The solution to the problem, as defined by the user's needs and desires as well as the analyst's own evaluation of the problem, becomes the design.

Systems analysis is the process of determining what changes must be made, and where. Systems design is the process of determining how those changes are to be made. There are many ways to resolve systems problems, and they depend upon the resources and time available and upon business needs. There are many methodologies which can assist the analyst in creating an appropriate solution.

It was my intent when writing this text to give analysts some insight into how to look at the environments they are to examine and how to question what they see. Good analysts must assume nothing, but rather must look for the underlying reality of the situation, and ask questions about the nature of that reality. The analyst must ask the questions: when, where, who, what, and, most important, why.

I wish to thank all of my colleagues who reviewed this work and who made suggestions for its improvement. I also wish to thank all those who encouraged me to rework my original material into the text which follows.



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A Professional's Guide to Systems Analysis, Second Edition
Written by Martin E. Modell
Copyright © 2007 Martin E. Modell
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Except as permitted under United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a data base or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.