Furniture4U is a small business selling variety of office furniture in your local area. However, the business has grown to a greater extent in the last five years. Number of employees has been increased from 25 to 100 in the last 5 years and the turnover from £100k to £500k. It has been planned to open four additional branches next year. Part of the reason for the company’s success has been their strong work culture.
The company’s founders wanted to focus on using information technology and innovation to improve sales further. The current system works fairly well, however, only offline, as the company does not have online presence. This is a major disadvantage for the company and hence the founder, Alex, who believes in e-commerce, wants to go with online sales. After several weeks of consultations with his senior staff, Alex decided to implement a system for online sales to increase the business further and is ready to invest substantially. Davis, the head of Furniture4U IT department, which looks after their local network of computers, printers etc., is very optimistic that his IT department can setup and provide the necessary IT infrastructure. However, he is also aware of many solutions like outsourcing the whole system development and SasS (Software as Service) and HasS (Hardware as Service), which are part of cloud computing.
1. Write a short report by critically evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing of software development. [500 words]
You have an important role to play as a team member of this project and should finish it successfully within budget and on time, not compromising any functional requirements for a typical e-commerce website. You promote the idea of working with highly talented and motivated individuals who can work well on self-managed teams.
After several consultations with Alex and staff at Furniture4U over 8 weeks, several functional and non-functional requirements have been identified and documented. These requirements have to be analysed and a solution has to be designed, implemented, tested and deployed. Some non-functional requirements like online security have become very important as online fraud has become very sophisticated.
Some of the functional requirements are, customers should be able to order several office equipment over the Internet, receive them via express mail, return via express mail, cancel the order before it has been dispatched, edit the delivery address, automatic email generation to confirm the order. Several companies already provide this kind of service. You also plan to serve an international market, providing information on products in several different languages. This system must be very user-friendly, providing customers, the ability to search for specific office equipment, customer reviews and so on. Registered customers must be able to track delivery and return of office equipment, pay online or via other payment methods (including credit card or bank payments, cheque, PayPal etc.), and provide reviews of their online experience with Furniture4U customer services. The system must also be able to track referrals to the site from corporate partners and customer referrals, display advertisements and track customer usage patterns.
2. Research similar Web-based applications. Based on the scenario description about similar Web sites, and your personal opinions, summarise what you believe are the main functions this system should provide. Rate the functions as mandatory, optional, and nice-to-have. Also, provide an initial assessment of how difficult it would be to provide each function. Write your results in a short report, citing important references. [500 words]
3. Prepare a weighted decision matrix using the template provided on portal to evaluate the functions you identified above in task 2. Develop at least four criteria, assign weights to each criterion, assign scores, and then calculate the weighted scores for each function and prepare the spreadsheet and bar chart with the results. Write a short report describing this weighted decision matrix and what the results show. [400 words]
Part 3: Execution
Your project has been going well until now with no major challenges and your team is proud of it. It has been two months into the project since it has started, and you have another four months to go. One of the key staff members, Bill met with an accident and has been advised to take bed rest at least for four months. This is a big setback for you as you cannot afford to lose even a single staff.
4. Prepare a milestone report for the project based on information or functionalities you have identified in task 2. Add additional milestones, if needed, to make the report more meaningful. Use the milestone report template on portal. [300 words]
Part 4: Controlling
Due to Brexit, Alex could not promise any extra funds to hire a new staff member to replace Bill, whose work is being piled up. Three months into the project, your project manager and your team are very concerned about the progress of the project. After reviewing the progress, it has been decided to have a series of bi-monthly meetings with all affected staff.
5. After the first bi-monthly meeting and consultations with business experts, you have convinced Alex that the only way to finish project successfully is to compromise scope by having only absolute essential functionality. Critically evaluate what functionality and/or features can be compromised. [500 words]
Part 5: Closing
It is one week before your final project presentation. You have been successful in meeting time and cost deadlines. However, scope had to be compromised! You have been really helpful in making this project a success. Your project manager has recognized your project management skills and is recommending you to be a project manager for the next project, which is starting soon.
6. Prepare a short presentation with eight to ten slides that you could use at the final project presentation to summarize the results of the project. Assume that you have fifteen to twenty minutes to give the presentation. Highlight the main challenges, actions taken, and results of the project. [300 words or equivalent]
2500 words +/- 10%. Any deviation from this will be penalised.
FORMATTING AND LAYOUT
Please note the following when completing your written assignment:
- Writing: Written in English in an appropriate business/academic style
- Focus: Focus only on the tasks set in the assignment.
- Length: 2500 words
- Formatting: Typed on A4 paper in Times New Roman or Arial font 12 with at least 2.5 centimetre space at each edge, double-spaced and pages numbered.
- Document format: Report
- Ensure a clear title, course, and name or ID number is on a cover sheet and a bibliography using Harvard referencing throughout is also provided.
- Research: Research should use reliable and relevant sources of information e.g. academic books and journals that have been peer reviewed. The research should be extensive.
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The use of a range of information sources is expected – academic books, peer reviewed journal articles, professional articles, press releases and newspaper articles, reliable statistics, company annual reports and other company information. All references must be in Harvard style.