The implementation phase of any project plays a very important role in deploying the new system in the target environment. The supporting actions of this stage helps in preparing the system in readiness to be turned over to the maintenance personnel. Once this phase is accomplished, the system then enters the operations and maintenance phase which are the last phases of a system’s development life cycle. The implementation phase of any project is the real display of the defining moments that determine whether a system implementation is either successful or a failure. This stage is also defined as the system modifications stage. This phase is initiated once the testing of the system has been completed and the system accepted by the user. This phase is iterated as different modifications are done to the system until the system satisfies all the user requirements that were stated in the initialization stages of the system. All the planning that takes place in preparation for the implementation phase is usually very critical. The implementation stage is equally important. The start of the implementation stage is an indication that the system is progressing well (Beck, 2000).
The stages of the implementation phase
The implementation phase starts off with the coding of the application. When coding, some of the fields have to be customized in order to conform to the interfaces in the system. This stage involves the conversion of human characters into a language that the system can understand. It is usually very complicated and required the use of professionals in various fields involving the system to come up with the appropriate codes which can be used operate the system being designed. Various programming languages can be used to code the program of the system depending on the desired functionalities of the system. Once the coding of the system has been completed, then we can move to the next stage which is the testing phase.
The main objective of the testing phase is to bring together all the programs that a system comprises of in order to confirm that they operate as desired. For the purpose of this project and in order to make the testing more successful, the testing phase can be broken into two parts. The first phase of the testing involves testing the entire system as a whole. A report is then produced and the bugs found in the system fixed as desired. Once this has been accomplished, a test is then rerun on the system to determine if there are any errors still available in the system. Each component of the system is tested separately and then the whole junk jumbled together. This is repeated until all the bugs have been addressed in the system. The testing phase usually consumes a lot of time but it is a very critical phase in the implementation stage as it ensures that the system functions as per the laid requirements. Once the testing phase is done with, we can then proceed to the installation phase.
One the testing has been completed, all the testing components used in the system are removed from the server and the system built entirely from scratch. At the end of the installation of any of the system components, a test was run. This was to ensure that the system operated as required and that if there was a mistake, it was rectified as soon as it occurred. This helped in ensuring that if there was a problem it was detected early enough and corrected before the system moves to a new phase. The installation is very important and needs to be done with utmost care in order to ensure that the system is completed as stated in the requirements phase. Once the installation and the testing of the system have been done successfully, total system validation then needs to be done. This ensures that each component of the system works as desired and that only desirable outputs are produced. The next stage is to document the activities done on the system during the implementation stage.
This stage is very important and helps in putting down each stage and the type of action performed on it. It also involves documentation of the testing and installation phase. If the system is well documented, it will help in future maintenance of the system and at the same time help in the determination of a possible cause of error. The documentation of the system also helps in providing users with a user guide on how the system operates and how future adjustments can be obtained. Once the system has been documented, training sessions can then be organized so as to familiarize the users of the system with how the system operates (Münch et al, 2012). During the documentation phase, the following documents are generated: user manuals, operations manual, maintenance guides, system guides and control documents.
Training should be conducted by the users who are well conversant with the system. It is necessary that this involves the use of professional from different stages of the implementation phase. This will help in achieving good system understanding. It is more sensible if training would become from within especially from the staff who were involved in the implementation phase. Training is mainly aimed at making system users to be equipped with operational and troubleshooting information for the newly designed system. The system can then be implemented but its operation needs to overlap with the operation of the old system. This helps the users to be able to become more familiar with the new system and various files can be transferred to the new system. This can be continued for some time approximately 1 month. After one month, the use of the old system can then be completely discontinued and the new system left to run on its own. Training plan needs to be used for the training process. The process of training the staff should be done in accordance to the plan and every step needs to be taken into consideration. The plan should ensure that new users are given immediate and continuous opportunity of training until they are well conversant with the system (Münch et al, 2012).
Support is very critical in any new system since it ensures the successful and effective utilization of the new system. It also involves the preparation of the end user documentation and the site manual. It is necessary that any organization enters into an agreement with the system designers before the final hand-over is done. This will help in ensuring that the organization offers support for a given period of time as the technicians of the company where the system was designed get familiar with the maintenance operations of the system. Most organizations require that they enter into a contractual agreement whereby a grace period is provided for the maintenance of the system. Once the grace period is over, then the organization can charge a fee for the services they offer to the company of which the system was designed for. During the grace period, different users are trained on how to use and maintain the system.
Benefits of using defined and repeatable processes for accomplishing the above named activities
There are several benefits associated with using repeatable processes. The above mentioned processes need to be done systematically and in a well defined way so as to ensure that they are successfully completed. Different professional are required in each of the implementation phase of the system. Each of the processes needs to be done repeatedly while the appropriate modification is done to ensure that the system requirement is maintained. The testing phase for instance is iterated until the desired system functionality is maintained. There is need to move from one phase to the other and then forth while testing the system to ensure that the desired output is achieved and at the same time to ensure that each of the components of the system is functioning properly (McConnell, 2010).
When the implementation phase is completed, the system is ready to operate. The new system should be able to operate until such a time that its usefulness becomes outlived. The management can therefore be ready to initiate the implementation of a new system which can be used to replace the current system (Münch et al, 2012).
Beck, Kent. (2000) Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change. Longman Higher Education
McConnell, Steve. (2010) 7: Lifecycle Planning. Rapid Development. Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press. p. 140.
Münch, Jürgen; Armbrust, Ove; Soto, Martín; Kowalczyk, Martin.( 2012) Software Process Definition and Management, Springer,
Ralph, P., and Wand, Y. A Proposal for a Formal Definition of the Design Concept. In, Lyytinen, K., Loucopoulos, P., Mylopoulos, J., and Robinson, W., (eds.), (2009) Design Requirements Engineering: A Ten-Year Perspective: Springer-Verlag, , pp. 103-136