1.0 INTRODUCTIONSince the system design is a group activity, one of the surest ways of ensuring the success is to identify and assign specific roles to each member of the development team.2.0 OBJECTIVESBy the end of this unit, you should be able to• List the specific tasks in the system design phase.• Outline the roles and responsibilities of each member of the design team
  • Overview

Design Phase activities may be conducted in an interractive fashion, producing first a general system design that emphasizes the functional features of the system, then a more detailed system design that expands the general design by providing all the technical detail.

  • Tasks and Activities

The following tasks are performed during the Design Phase. The tasks and activities actually performed depend on the nature of the project.

3.2.1 Establish the Application Environment

Identify/specify the target environment, the development environment and the design environment.

3.2.2 Design the Application

In the system design, first the general system characteristics are defined. The data storage and access for the database layer need to be designed. The user interface at the desktop layer needs to be designed. The business rules layer or the application logic needs to be designed. The interfaces from application to application and application to database also need to be designed and documented.

3.2.3 Develop System Design Document

The system design document will be developed by the project manager and project team, identifying the steps used in the design of the application/system. The System Design Document is a deliverable in the Design Phase.

3.2.4 Develop Maintenance Manual

Develop the maintenance manual to ensure continued operation of the system once it is completed. This is a deliverable in the Design Phase.

3.2.5 Develop Operations Manual

Develop the Operations Manual for mainframe systems/applications and the System Administrators Manual for client/server systems/applications. This is a deliverable in the Design Phase.

3.2.6 Conduct Preliminary Design Review

This is an ongoing interim review of the system design as it evolves through the Design Phase. Detailed objective system functions, performance requirements, security requirements, and system platform characteristics will be reviewed.

3.2.7 Design Business Processes

The business organization, roles and procedures for designing this system/application need to be articulated.

3.2.8 Design Human Performance Support (Training)

The Training Plan and the User Manual are created during the Design Phase. These will be deliverables in the Design Phase.

3.2.9 Design Conversion/Migration/Transition Strategies

If current information needs to be converted/migrated/transitioned to the new system, plans need to be designed for those purposes, especially if converting means re-engineering existing processes. The Conversion Plan, Implementation Plan and Contingency Plan need to be designed in this phase and are deliverables.

3.2.10 Develop Security Operating Procedures

Develop procedures on how security will be handled throughout the Design Phase and who will be responsible for carrying out these procedures.

3.2.11 Conduct Final Design Review

The Project Manager and System Proponent conduct the final design review and approve/disapprove the project into the Development Phase. This review is conducted at the end of the Design Phase and confirms that modifications prompted by earlier reviews are incorporated.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Project Manager. The project leader is responsible and accountable for the successful execution of the Design Phase. The project leader is responsible for leading the team that accomplishes the tasks shown above.
  • Project Team. The project team members (regardless of the organization of permanent assignment) are responsible for accomplishing assigned tasks as directed by the project managers.
  • Contracting Officer. The contracting officer is responsible and accountable for preparing solicitation documents under the guidance of the program manager.
  • Oversight Activities. Agency oversight activities, including the IRM office, provide advice and counsel to the project manager on the conduct and requirements of the Design Phase. Additionally,

oversight activities provide information, judgments, and recommendations to the agency decision makers during project reviews and in support of project decision milestones.

  • Deliverables, responsibilities, and actions

The content of these deliverables may be expanded or abbreviated depending on the size, scope, and complexity of the corresponding systems development effort.

3.4.1 Design Document

It describes the system requirements, operating environment, system and subsystem architecture, files and database design, input formats, output layouts, human-machine interface, detailed design, processing logic, and external interfaces. It is used in conjunction with the Functional Requirements Document (FRD), which is finalized in this phase, to provide a complete system specification of all user requirements for the system and reflects the user’s perspective of the system design. Includes all information required for the review and approval of the project development. The sections and subsections of the design document may be organized, rearranged, or repeated as necessary to reflect the best organization for a particular project.

3.4.2 Maintenance Manual

The Maintenance Manual provides maintenance personnel with the information necessary to maintain the system effectively. The manual provides the definition of the software support environment, the roles and responsibilities of maintenance personnel, and the regular activities essential to the support and maintenance of program modules, job streams, and database structures. In addition to the items identified for inclusion in the Maintenance Manual, additional information may be provided to facilitate the maintenance and modification of the system.

3.4.3 User Manual

The User Manual contains all essential information for the user to make full use of the information system. This manual includes a description of the system functions and capabilities, contingencies and alternate modes of operation, and step-by-step procedures for system access and use.

3.4.4 Training Plan

The Training Plan outlines the objectives, needs, strategy, and curriculum to be addressed when training users on the new or enhanced information system. The plan presents the activities needed to support the development of training materials, coordination of training schedules, reservation of personnel and facilities, planning for training needs, and other training-related tasks. Training activities are developed to teach user personnel the use of the system as specified in the training criteria. Includes the target audience and topics on which training must be conducted on the list of training needs. It includes, in the training strategy, how the topics will be addressed and the format of the training program, the list of topics to be covered, materials, time, space requirements, and proposed schedules.

3.4.5 Conversion Plan

The Conversion Plan describes the strategies involved in converting data from an existing system to another hardware or software environment. It is appropriate to re -examine the original system’s functional requirements for the condition of the system before conversion to determine if the original requirements are still valid.

3.4.6 Implementation Plan

The Implementation Plan describes how the information system will be deployed and installed into an operational system. The plan contains an overview of the system, a brief description of the major tasks involved in the implementation, the overall resources needed to support the implementation effort (such as hardware, software, facilities, materials, and personnel), and any site-specific implementation requirements. This plan is updated during the Development Phase; the final version is provided in the Integration and Test Phase and used for guidance during the Implementation Phase.

3.4.7 Operations Manual or Systems Administration Manual

For mainframe’ systems, the Operations Manual provides computer control personnel and computer operators with a detailed operational description of the information system and its associated environments, such as machine room operations and procedures. The Systems Administration Manual serves the purpose of an Operations Manual in distributed (client/server) applications.


Thus the system design process is approached with a studied methodological skill typical of an analyst. It is a process involving many key actors, and each member must be made to account for his role. In other words, the design team must work as a system, themselves.

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