The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) of the United Kingdom has appointed you to produce for them, by 4pm on Wednesday 20th May, a 5,000 word report of appropriate format, standard of presentation and content. The purpose of the report is twofold: to discover, analyse and comment on any inadequacies in the quality assurance of the United Kingdom’s higher education; and, in so doing, to justify and evaluate an appropriate selection of Business Analysis techniques and tools.
This assignment is potentially very broad in scope: it is up to you to determine the exact scope of investigation and justify this. You need to cite the sources you refer to in finding out more about this process. You will need to select, apply and evaluate techniques and tools which provide for all four activities (investigate situation, consider perspectives, analyse needs and define requirements) and, by necessity, encompass at least two of the three paradigms (socio-technical, functional and object-oriented). The following table is a reminder of those which we have, or will, cover in class. Other techniques and tools may be appropriate; confirm these with the Module Leader on or before Tuesday 5th May.
The report should be 5,000 words (+/-10%) and contain the following elements (indicative word count is provided to ensure a ‘balanced’ document):
- Assignment feedback proforma, completed and signed
- Contents page
- An introduction that includes a definition and justification of scope, a brief description of the context and nature of the problem and the current level of operational performance as depicted in extant sources, where appropriate citing sources according to the Harvard system [500 words]
- A justification of your chosen package of techniques and tools (pre-application), by reference to your own criteria, where appropriate citing sources according to the Harvard system [500 words]
- An application to the scenario of your chosen package of techniques and tools for all four activities (investigate situation, consider perspectives, analyse needs and define requirements), produced using a CASE tool if appropriate, together with assumptions and appropriate description/documentation* [2,500 words]
- Comments and observations on the inadequacies of the current system, including recommendations to the QAA, where appropriate citing elements of your application (#5) together with sources according to the Harvard system [750 words]
- An evaluation of the ‘fit’ of your chosen package of techniques and tools to this specific context (post-application), by reference to your own criteria (#4), where appropriate citing sources according to the Harvard system [750 words]
- References, according to the Harvard system, and any appendices
*Refer to lecture notes for guidance on how these should be done. As an example, if you use DFDs to define requirements you should include here for that part of the fourth activity:
- Level 0 DFD, produced using a CASE tool, and assumptions
- Level 1 DFD, produced using a CASE tool, and further assumptions
- Decomposed DFDs, produced using a CASE tool, and further assumptions
- External Entity Descriptions
- Elementary Process Descriptions for each process at its lowest decomposed level
- Input/Output Descriptions for data flows that cross the system boundary
The above must be submitted in one, final, document through the TurnItIn Blackboard Assignment tool on (or before) 4pm Wednesday 20th May. It is highly recommended that you submit a draft document through the TurnItIn Blackboard Assignment tool on (or before) 4pm Wednesday 13th May so as to obtain a report from TurnItIn and have a chance to act upon it.
Although this submission is to be a report all references and citations should follow the Harvard system as detailed in induction and on the library and study skills websites.
Introduction (#3 in Output Details) 10 marks
Justification (#4 in Output Details) 10 marks
Application (#5 in Output Details) 50 marks
Comments, observations and recommendations (#6 in Output Details) 15 marks
Evaluation (#7 in Output Details) 15 marks
This coursework will comprise 100% of the overall module marks.
These marks are awarded only if a document is submitted through the Blackboard Assignment tool on (or before) the assignment due date. Late assignments will be awarded a mark of 0% unless you complete a mitigating circumstances form and it is accepted by the mitigating circumstances committee.
Where it is suspected that unfair practice, such as plagiarism or collusion, has occurred in relation to the submitted assignment the procedure outlined in the Academic Handbook will be followed.
Provisional marks (subject to Exam Board ratification) and feedback will be disseminated within 20 working days of receipt (i.e. on or before 17th June).
To obtain 40-49:
there must be an adequate set of diagrams with a set of coherent process descriptions, or equivalent, and other supporting documentation. Where appropriate, correct use will have been made of methods of specifying elementary process descriptions e.g. decision tables, decision trees or structured English. There must be an adequate analysis of, and commentary on, the operational performance of the current system. The justification and evaluation of the techniques and tools employed should be of reasonable quality, with good evidence of research, accuracy/ relevance, structure, presentation, clarity and evaluative conclusion.
To obtain 50-59:
as above with a good, unambiguous, validated set of diagrams and comprehensive process descriptions, or equivalent. Some features of very good and, or, excellent quality in an attempt to justify and evaluate the approaches employed.
To obtain 60-69:
as above with very good comments and observations on the inadequacies of the current system and a convincing justification of your choice of techniques and tools. A critical emphasis demonstrated in justification, analysis and evaluation.
To obtain 70+:
as above, with excellent comments and observations on the inadequacies of the current system that have been clearly derived from the process analysis, with comments referenced to the appropriate part(s) of the diagrams. Evidence of comprehensive evaluation of the approach and perceived inadequacies in the approach clearly derived from reflective analysis and appreciation of the extant body of knowledge.
To obtain a Fail:
Provision of an inadequate set of diagrams and/or a set of incoherent process descriptions, and/or insufficient supporting documentation, and/or inadequate justification of the approach and/or inadequate evaluation of the approach.
The focus of the assignment is on the following learning outcomes… that the student should be able to:
- Critically evaluate, and reflexively apply, methods, techniques and tools for assessing, controlling and improving organisational processes (number 1 in the module descriptor)
- Critically demonstrate an appreciation of issues relating to the analysis of business processes in organisations (number 2 in the module descriptor)
- Create appropriate visual representations of their analysis via use of an appropriate tool (number 3 in the module descriptor)