Evaluating a system

When a system has been completed, the customer needs to be sure that they have got what they paid for. The company who made the system needs to be sure that they have delivered what they promised. Checking this is known as the 'system evaluation'. The purpose of evaluating a system is to check that the product meets the requirements as laid down in the Requirements Specification.

The role of the Requirements Specification

When we discussed the Requirements Specification, we said that it was possibly one of the most important documents in a project. The Requirements Specification constitutes the contract between the company buying a solution and the company building the solution. When the system evaluation takes place, the Requirements Specification is used in the evaluation. Each item in the specification is checked to see if it has been done and performs to the standard written down in the RS. If all items have been completed and completed to the standard in the Requirements Specification, then the product is finished! It can be handed over and paid for! If some items are not completed, or completed but not to the required standard then negotiations may need to take place between the company and the maker of the product. They might agree a price reduction. They might agree an extension to fix the problems. They might agree that the company created the situation that has caused a problem and that they should pay more money than was originally agreed. Or they might not be able to agree why the product is not doing what it is supposed to do and they go to court to fight it out!

Feedback

Another type of evaluation that takes place is when a product has been up and running for a period of time. Companies need to evaluate how well they did for their own benefit, so they can improve their own performance in the future, offer better customer service, learn lessons and cut costs (so they can beat their competitor's quotes for new jobs). They can ask questions such as;

  • Are there any bugs in the system?
  • Are the users finding it easy to use?
  • Do the users feel as though they got adequate training and retraining?
  • How are the Help facilities working?
  • Has the product started to make an impact on the company - is it saving time and money?
  • Have profits increased as a result of the product?

This is not an exhaustive list but does give you an idea of the kinds of questions a company could ask itself.


Business | Systems


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