Project Roles in Systems Development in Organizations

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  • 1:03 Project Managers
  • 1:45 Systems Analysts
  • 2:45 Programmers
  • 3:16 Users
  • 4:03 Technical Specialists
  • 4:36 Other Stakeholders
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

A development team is responsible for delivering a system that meets the original objectives. A development team typically includes users, managers, system analysts, programmers, technical specialists and other stakeholders.

Development Teams

System development is the process of defining, designing, testing and implementing a software application. When you think of systems development, you probably envision a computer programmer sitting at her desk writing code. While coding is certainly part of it, there is a lot more to system development.

Systems are developed to address a certain problem or meet a certain need. A development team is responsible for determining the specific objectives of the system and is also ultimately responsible for delivering a system that meets these objectives. A development team typically includes users, managers, system analysts, programmers, technical specialists and other stakeholders. Each of these parties has a different role to play.

You can think of system development as building a house. Those involved in building a house all have their own role, including future occupants, construction managers, architects and construction workers. Each of these contributes to making sure that the house gets built.

Project Managers

A project manager is responsible for coordinating the various team members and the resources to complete a project on time. Project managers need a number of different skills, including technical, business and people skills. They need to be up-to-date on different approaches to system development but are not likely to do any programming themselves.

A project manager is responsible for controlling the quality of the system being developed, bringing personnel on board and training them, facilitating communications among team members and acquiring the various resources needed to support the activities of the various members of the development team. If you think of system development as building a house, a project manager has similar tasks to a construction manager or construction superintendent.

Systems Analysts

A system analyst is a professional with expertise in analyzing and designing business systems. A system analyst plays a critical role in understanding how the current systems operate and developing new systems that meet specific objectives. In the analogy of building a house, the system analyst is like the architect. A design for a new system is very much like a blueprint for a house and provides detailed specifications for what the final system is supposed to look like and how it is supposed to work.

The system analyst is the most central person on the development team and is often the only person who sees the system in its entirety. Users are focused on how the system will function for them, programmers are focused on writing solid code and managers are focused on making sure the project is on time and on budget. System analysts, on the other hand, play a pivotal role by interacting with all the team members and coming up with a system design - a design that meets the original objectives, will be enjoyed by users, can actually be built by programmers and can be accomplished with the available resources.

Programmers

A programmer is a technical specialist responsible for developing specific computer programs that meet the specifications. This includes writing the actual code that makes the program work. Like a contractor working on a building by following the blueprint from the architect, a programmer implements the system design specified by the system analyst. Writing code is often one of the more time consuming parts of system development, in particular if many components have to be custom build. A system design developed by a single system analyst may require a number of different programmers to develop.

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