Implementation Stage of Product Development Life-Cycle
The implementation phase in any software development is necessary where tools and documentation are integrated to come up with a functional application (Alkhafaji & Sriram, 2012). The phase is preceded by the definition stage and followed by the maintenance stage. Therefore, in integrating various HR tools into a single application, six activities are crucial in the implementation stage. They are: coding, testing, installation, documentation, training, and support. Coding is where commands are defined and set up to accomplish the intended task. Testing activity entails making sure the codes developed achieve the desired goals. After testing is completed and functionality is proved accurate, the installation activity ensures that the system is mounted on hardware. Documentation ensures that procedures and specifics of the application usage can be traced by new users. Training ensures that proper usage of the developed system is achieved by new users, while support activities are trouble shooting mechanisms and advice users can access in case there is a problem.
In the implementation stage, where ideas defined are brought to reality, coding is carried out after which, testing is done. Details are added onto definitions suggested during the earlier stage, codes generated and tested for bugs, operational performance, and proper functioning (Alkhafaji & Sriram, 2012). Hence, the stage commences when developers get a baseline for their work on the project, which was defined by architects.
Therefore, the aim of the implementation phase can be generalized as enabling the software or application available to a specified set of users, and positioning the available support and maintenance program in the proper functioning of the system. Hence, the implementation stage is associated with the listed six activities all aimed at educating clients on usage of the new system, operationalizing the system, confirming availability of all data before operations, and validating the proper function of the system.
Planning of activities in the implementation stage of HR tools integration software
The six activities in the implementation life cycle are coding, testing, installation, documentation, training, and support. In coding, a number of activities are considered. First, the code is made sure to be linear. According to Rafinejad (2007), linearity is essential when using a procedural language, which is applicable in integrating the HR tools. Also, during coding, ‘If constructs’ are to be avoided especially complicated compound ones. However, if the constructs are a must, then several simpler nested ‘if constructs’ are used. Error handling is also essential in code planning. There should be some programs that should be included inside the code so as to handle error occurrences. Similarly, ease in maintenance is enhanced through using external constants. External constants are defined to ease hard-coded constants, which are prone to human error (Rafinejad, 2007). The code is also made sure of portability where it can be anchored into any computer or system. Lastly, the layout of the code should be easy to identify and follow when implementing.
The next activity after coding is testing, which is analysing the source code. Testing entails writing a test (adding a test), where the developer will first have to understand specifics and requirements of the integrated HR tools application. Writing a test entails the developer using cases and user stories, which cover conditions and requirements of the application (Stark, 2011). All tests should then all be run with the ones not functioning noted. According to Stark (2011), these steps are categorized as testing the test itself. In case the test fails, one has to write a test that will pass. If all tests now pass, then the code has to be cleaned through removing any duplication between functional and production codes. Also, a repeat test can be done to make sure that functionality of the application is as designed.
Installation of proved codes on a platform represents a key part of the implementation phase. Installation includes copying necessary files, preliminary registry configurations, and necessary icons that would be instrumental for users of the application (Petipiere, 2006). The installation process also consists of modification where features of prior applications are removed or added for a superior system. Repairs are also essential in this stage where tested codes are made sure to function optimally. Hence, the installation activity allows program users to manage the application in accordance to set policies.
Documentation after the installation step is essential in helping different users know how to operate the application. They are internal documents that would explain functioning of the integrated HR tools software (Alkhafaji & Sriram, 2012). The first information is the requirements where application attributes and physical characteristics are explained. An overview of the application is also essential through the design documentation. The technical part is also essential. Algorithms, codes, and interphase are imprinted. Marketing procedures of the application in tandem with a manual is also part of the documentation activities.
Training and support are the last activities once the application is ready for the market. In training, users are to be familiar with the application (Stark, 2011). Seminars, exhibitions, and company open days would be used, by application developers, to explain how the application can be used to bring out maximum output. Support can also be done through online mechanisms and troubleshooting wizards that application developers would use to communicate to users.
Benefits of defined and repeatable processes in the implementation stage activities
Defined and repeatable processes are those that clear and have set procedures (Alkhafaji & Sriram, 2012). Even though, the same author cites stifling of creativity among users, numerous benefits can be associated during the implementation stage of a process. In coding, defined and repeatable processes will reduce variations and identification of coding errors. This is so because steps can be retraced and where missing structures are identified they can be corrected. Also, in the testing activity, the processes ensure continuous improvement where better and efficient codes can be developed from those inferior (Rafinejad, 2007).
Installation activity can benefit from defined and repeatable processes through providing a better understanding between hardware and software platforms. For instance, users using an application can easily install an application without going back to developers every time for instructions. Hence, the clear instructions defined and processes that can be repeated make applications user-friendly. There is also the benefit of standardization of installation procedures making the process quicker and easier.
The documentation activity is also aided by the processes where there is a common point of reference, which would be helpful in internal communication (Rafinejad, 2007). Duplication is also avoided in this activity; hence users can easily identify efforts from different support mechanisms.
Training and support also benefit from defined and repeatable processes where IT services and resources essential in supporting the application can be best understood (Rafinejad, 2007). Users can learn processes and troubleshoot errors on their own. This is because there are standardized and clear instructions of functions of the application.
Alkhafaji, S., & Sriram, B. B. (2012). Educational Software Development Life Cycle Stages. Chinese Business Review, 11(1), 128-137.
Petitpiere C. (2006). Software Engineering: The Implementation Phase. Florida: EPFL press. Pp. 295-314
Rafinejad, D. (2007). Innovation, Product Development and commercialization: case studies and key practices for market leadership. New York: J Ross Publishing. Pp. 21-57
Stark, J. (2011). Product Lifecycle Management: 21st Century Paradigm for Product Realisation. London: Springer-Verlang. Pp. 1-15