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Comparision Of Ssadm And Ethics Using Nimsad

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 5186 words Published: 1st May 2017

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In this chapter, we going to describe and compare two interesting methodologies named ETHICS Effective Technical and Human Implementation of Computer-based Systems. and SSADM (Structured System Analysis and Design Methodologies). ETHICS is a methodology used to solving problem in various field in ethical approach and SSADM is a methodology used to solve problem in Information System. Here there is a comparison between these two methodologies to understand what are the process undertake in those methodologies. There is also discussion about some limitations as well as benefits of two methodologies. For comparing those two methodologies NIMSAD method is used. NIMSAD (Normative Information Model-based Systems Analysis and Design) is a framework which is mainly used for evaluating methodologies. NIMSAD methodology will use four elements to evaluate those methodologies. These methodologies have several advantages as well as several disadvantages, so here there is a discussion about that in details. Here there is also having description about how the development process is going on in both the methodologies. When evaluating these methodologies we discuss about the problem situation, who is the problem solvers and Problem solving process.

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ETHICS is an acronym that has an ethical approach to solving problem. ETHICS is introduced by Enid Mumford (Manchester Business School) in the year 1969. Since then, ETHICS was used intensively in both industry and health service (Mumford, 2003). ETHICS is mainly support human Participation (Avison & Fitzgerald, 1995) and also it has Socio-Technical Character. During the development process, Ethics helps to the users to find it easier to accept the new system and also help them to get involve into the new system. Due to this, Job efficiency will increase and also leads to higher job satisfaction.

The past traditional systems are considered only about economic and technical factor, so it leads to get failure. This led to the appearance of a socio-technical approach, according to which, “a system to be successful and effective it has to fit close with the social and organizational factors” (Mumford, 1983). The objectives of ETHICS are to create effective, efficient and acceptable Systems. ETHICS also ensure that the design task achieves good organizational design and technical design.

ETHICS ask the development people to communicate and share their ideas with team membes.This will brings efficient output at the end. ETHICS methodology is mainly looking for job satisfaction and both short and long term efficiency. It mainly helps to find problems of existing systems and setting efficiency and social objectives for new system. Finally design the new system and implement it. To perform these process, ETHICS group consist of managers, users and technical experts.

Ethics Methodologies consist of some stages to create a new system efficiently and effectively. Those stages are explained below step by step:

Step 1: Why Change?

The design group is finding the drawbacks in current systems and discusses to get answer for the question “why do we need to change?” (Mumford, 1993). This gives answer to the design group that why they going for new system.

Step 2: System Boundaries

This step mainly used to identify the boundaries and how boundaries are connected with other systems and also how it interacts with other systems.

Step 3: Description of Existing System

In this step, design group members all should understand how the existing system works. Before starting to develop new system, they should have knowledge about existing system to start new one perfectly.

Step 4: Definition of Key Objectives:

The main aim of this stage is to identify the main objectives for the design group to develop new system. Depend on this objective only they will start to do work.

Step 5: Definition of Key Tasks

In this step, they will identify the main task which they have to follow. These tasks will be helpful to achieve the above planned objectives.

Step 6: Key Information Needs

This step mainly used to identify the information needed to carry out the tasks.

Step 7: Diagnosis of Efficiency Needs

Here the design groups identify the weak links in old system and have to prepare document for that weak link. Weak links are in the existing system which prone to error. These drawbacks are eliminated when developing the new system. People who all are outside the team can also find efficiency needs and they will involve in the development process.

Step 8: Diagnosis of Job Satisfaction Needs

ETHICS mainly aims to achieve high job satisfication and also it identify the user needs and search the ways to satisfy the user needs. This step will give oppertunity to other people to involved in the development process.

Step 9: Future Analysis

When developing the new system, development people should not concentrate only to overcome the existing problem. They also have to concentrate about future need that should useful be useful for different environment in future.


Step 10: Specifying and Weighting Efficiency and Job Satisfaction Needs and Objectives

This step says that everyone in the organization should involve for development process to fulfill the objectives. Mumford finds that this step is very important in this methodology.

Step 11: Organizational Design of the New System

This step will helpful to satisfy the objectives and to achieve job efficiency. This step is said as logical and conceptual design for the new system.

Step 12: Technical Options

The physical design of the new system is used in this stage. After investigating and evaluating technical options, finally some options are most suitable to fulfill the project objectives.

Step 13 – Preparation of Detailed Design Work

Here the new is designed in detail and they will prepare perfect documentation from previous steps. The task and responsibilities are allocated to the several groups. All developing people will have effective relationship when they doing the process.

Step 14 – Implementation

This is the most important stage. After developing the successful project, developing team should implement the new project.

Step 15 – Evaluation

After implementation, the system will evaluate to ensure the new system satisfy the objectives. The system should be efficient and effective.


SSADM is a water fall method that flows a structured approach to the analysis and design of information systems. SSADM is mostly concerned with describing data and processes through data flow diagram. In the year 1981, SSADM is used as mandatory method in UK for their project development. Later other countries and most private organization start to use SSADM (Ashworth et al, 1990). It is an efficient method to explain description in dataflow model.

SSADM helps the project development team to understand the following questions:

1) “What is to be done?”

2) “When is to be done?”

3) “How is to be done?”

4) ” Where the resultant informs is to be documented?”

(Bentley et al, 1995)

“The basic assumption that systems have an underlying, generic, data structure which changes very little over time” (Ashworth et al, 1990). This is called as data-driven method. There are several SSADM techniques available all grouped together and form framework of sequent stages. These stages will have many inputs and it will get corresponding outputs (Aktas, 1987; Ashworth et al, 1990; and others).

The framework has some component like Structures, Techniques and Documentation. Structures will define all the stages in development process. Techniques shows how development team implemented there product. And the documentation will contain details of the development process. It will be used for references in future (Ashworth et al, 1990; Bentley et al, 1995). The users should need experience and help from developers to use this application.

SSADM approach consists of two phases. They are:

1) System Analysis phase

2) System Design phase

In System Analysis phase, there are three modules. Those modules are used to study the proposed system and finding requirement by analysing current system. Then they will set possible solutions for the system requirement. Until getting technical options, they have to analysis the requirement. In system design phase, after getting technical solutions developers will look for logical design. After finding logical design it transformed to system’s physical design and to get physical design they will use different methods and techniques (Ashworth et al, 1990).

The SSADM methodology consists of seven stages. Every stage is followed by reviewing to assure that the goals were achieved. Now we can see detail view about those stages.

Stage 0: Feasibility Study

In this stage, development team analysis and determine about the project is possible by the technologies and they determine whether project is financially justified or not. Here they will define the problem statement. The project should accepted by all people not only users and development team. They will set boundaries and analyses the problem and the boundaries are set by using data flow diagram.

Stage 1: Investigation of Current Environment

This stage is to analysis the requirement. In this stage, analysts understand system requirements and interviews employees and users about how to fulfill the requirements. They will also studies previous documentation for the reference. If there is no feasibility, they will investigate feasibility here.

Stage 2: Business System Option

Business system option is one of the requirement analysis stages. This stage will define boundaries of the solution and also define input and output. The transformation of the data all processed inside the system. Business system option will be founded in the previous stage and it may be the solution for system requirements. Analyst will collect some business system options and show to the client. Client will select any one from that.

During this

Stage 3: Requirements Definition

This is requirement specification stage and it will be used to combine outcomes from first stage with selected business system option. It will lead to develop specification of the system. The specification will say that what the system going to do.

Stage 4: Technical System Option

Technical system option will be same like business system option but here they will have number of implementation options. In those implementation options developers will select most suitable solution. This option is evaluated by system performance, financial and time needed to implement the system, etc. This is logical system specification and it will be last stage of the analysis phase.

Stage 5: Logical Design

Last stage have been analysis about the logical deign but stage 4 only concentrate on technical implementation. This stage will have details about human factor. The designers will decide how the system has to interact with user. Output will be in commands, User interfaces and menus.

Stage 6 – Physical Design

This is the final stage of SSADM methodology, In which implementation process will take place. Here developers will connect all outcomes of previous stages and give final output of the system. So finally developing team will pass the project to implementation.


Before comparing above methodologies we can see details about NIMSAD methodology and its elements. NIMSAD is a Meta framework that is used to evaluate the methodologies, structures, etc. This is special methodology for Information system development methodologies. But it will used in wide area. Methodology is defined as an explicit way of structuring (rationalizing) thinking and action, involving both critical and creative thinking (Jayaratna, 1994, p. xi). NIMSAD framework uses four elements to evaluate methodologies. The four elements are:

1) Problem Situation

2) Intended problem solver

3) Problem solving process

4) Evaluation

In evaluation, it will evaluate all other three elements. Evaluation consist of two parts, they are internal evaluation and external evaluation. Internal evaluation means that it evaluates the methodology which is planned itself. External evaluation will consider about feedback, industrial reference, etc.

Problem Situation:

Here Organization will act as a framework for the information systems. It will found efficiency of Information systems. During the development process they will have interaction between the development members as shown in figure. Here they will investigate or examine about the present problems situation.


Intended problem solver:

Intended problem solver also called as methodology user. The success of the project is mainly depending on problem solver. Even though methodology is more efficient, the successful implementation is depending on problem solver. The problem solver is not only from the organisation, they may be from outside the organisation. The problem solver may be designer, implementer, consultant or, etc. Problem solver will think in different view of methodology to make it efficient.


Problem solving process:

Problem solving process is mainly used in all the methodologies. Without this element we can’t perform any operation. In this process, they will consider about analysing and evaluating about existing system and finding problems in the existing system. Here they will maintain all process through either in diagrams or by documentation. After finding problems then they will analyse about requirement of the project and then after getting system requirement they will start to design the project. Then finally have to implement the new sytem to the environment. It should accept by society and it should be efficient to all people who all are can use the project.

In problem solving process, there are three phases and these phases have divided into some sub stages as given below:

1) Problem formulation

Stage 1 – Understanding the situation of concern

Stage 2- Performing the diagnosis

Stage 3 – Defining the prognosis outline

Stage 4 – Defining problems

Stage 5 – Deriving notional systems

2) Solution Design

Stage 6 – Performing conceptual/logical design

Stage 7 – Performing physical design

3) Design implementation

Stage 8 – Implementing the designs

These three phases are mainly used for analysis, design and implementation of the project.

Problem formulation:

In first phase, Development team will find the boundary and analysis about the project. They will analysis about what are the problem will occur and finds solutions for that problem. In Problem formulation they will understand the concept of new system. Without having knowledge of new system they will not start to do work.

Solution Design:

In Solution design phase, logical design and physical design are take place. Here they will design as they planned in the previous phase with logical and physical design technique. Without completing first phase they won’t come for second phase.

Design implementation:

In this phase, the designed project is implemented.

Comparison of ETHICS & SSADM:

As said earlier, this section will have compare of both ETHICS and SSADM methodologies by using NIMSAD method.

Problem Situation:

To get an efficient output at the end, problem situation is one of the very important elements in ETHICS methodology. Here the developers in organisation all are communicate and share their thoughts each other and they will analyse about why they going for the new system. They will also find what the drawbacks are in present system. Here they will identify the boundaries, which are interacts with other systems.

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In SSADM methodology, analysts investigate about the problems with client. The analysts will be the technical person. By investigating the problem they will determine whether it is possible by technology or not. They will have all problem descriptions in data flow diagram, which is used to identify problem easily. During this stage, will have interview with both users and employees to analyse about the problem. When comparing with ETHICS, here they will analyse about client problem that means they will interact with client about their problems. Where in ETHICS, team analyse about existing systems drawbacks to overcome present situation. In SSADM, they only use dataflow diagram for reference but in ETHICS they will maintain detail description drawback of existing system.

Intended problem solver:

In ETHICS, each and every member in the project development as well as outside the project management team is all problem solvers. Here to improve the efficiency of the project, members from outside the project management team also involved in development process. They will identify the weak links in old system and inform to the development team. Everyone in the team as well as people from outside the team identifies the user needs and they will search the ways to fulfil the user requirement. So that outcome will be very efficient and it will satisfy the user needs.

The developers and project managers are the problem solvers in SSADM methodologies. SSADM methodology mainly depends on technical aspects. So only developers only can think about situation and can analyse about problems. Here new users can’t understand anything perfectly, so new users should need help from some experienced technical people. These problem solvers also need social skills to make project very efficient. When comparing SSADM with ETHICS, Other people (outside the team) can’t involve into the process. In SSADM, only technical members in a team only can interact but in ETICHS members from outside the team are also the problem solver.

Problem solving process:

Stage 1 – Understanding the situation of concern

In ETHICS, team members and managers should understand what problem is present in the present system. Without understanding problems, they can’t set objectives and they can’t start to develop the new system. As discussed earlier, here project team find the answer for the question “why do we need to change?”(Mumford, 1993). Here the users, managers and technical peoples are all identify and originate the problem (Jayaratna, 1994). They will refer the old documentation and analyse the existing system for understanding about the drawbacks.

In SSADM, They will construct the boundaries for understanding the problems. Dataflow diagrams are very helpful to construct the boundaries. It’s very difficult to understand everything using DFD diagram, so this process are establishes the hidden boundaries. In this stage, ETHICS also construct the boundaries and they will connect boundaries with other system to communicate or share the boundaries. So both methodologies are constructing boundaries to get clear idea about project

Stage 2- Performing the diagnosis

In ETHICS, two dynamic processes are interacts with each other. First process is situation of concern; here they will understand the problem in existing system and second process is problem solvers idea. Here problem solvers will also identify weak links and inform to development team, they will prepare document for the weak link. Here they will give problem situation in diagrammatic view that helps to problem solver to identify the problems. They will also refer the existing systems document to understand about the problem solution.

Dataflow diagram is mainly used in SSADM methodology. This diagram is very useful give clear idea about how formal data are flow. These dataflow diagrams will say how data is processed and also have details about logical data model and logical data flow model. In this stage they will indicate only regularly or frequently used pattern. So in ETHICS there will be clear idea about situation because they will maintain full document perfectly and clearly. But in SSADM only dataflow model representation so it is not efficient when comparing to that methodology.

Stage 3 – Defining the prognosis outline

Prognosis is a process used to understand reasoning for change. It is not full description of new project. So in ETHICS, developers, managers and users should understand why they going for new system. Without reason or drawback they will not going for new system (as discussed earlier). Here developing team should analysis about drawback of existing system. This step is key step for newly proposed system. If there is no reason for developing new project then they will stop planning to develop the new one.

Where in SSADM, prognosis is not necessary because new system will develop depend on client requirement. So client only know what they want. But here client will choose different Business Systems Options depend upon their needs. So in this step SSADM will be deferring from ETHICS methodology.

Stage 4 – Defining problems

Defining problems is a stage used to identify gap between current state and wanted new state. Here developing team will examine what the things are missing in current state. So that they can rectify problem in desired state and this stage is depend on both diagnosis and prognosis. In ETHICS, developing team will analyses about how existing system works and what are the drawbacks available. Then they will find why they going for new project. Depend on problem definition only team members can set key objectives for the new systems.

In SSADM, very early they will define the problem in feasibility study. Even they are defining the problem they are not clear because they don’t have prognosis. Depend upon user requirement only they going to develop the new system. But in ETHICS they should define the problem before start to develop the new system. Here they don’t have clear idea about why they going for change in current system because client only know about all details.

Stage 5 – Deriving notional systems:

Deriving notional systems is a process used to identify requirement of a system. If system requirement is identified then it is more possible to conversion of current state to desired state. In ETHICS, they first investigate what are the drawbacks to overcome and then they will analyse about whether system requirement want to change or don’t want to change. Here they will also analyse about technical options like hardware, software, etc. If they have enough requirements already they will start to do work.

The requirements are gathering from the client in SSADM methodology. So this will be heavy advantage in this stage. After collecting requirement from client, developers will start to investigate about requirements and weather it is possible to complete the task or impossible. If they have all system requirements and other requirement then they will start to develop the new system. When developing new system, each and every time they will shows to client to check feedback from them. It is easier way to understand what the client wants.

Stage 6 – Performing conceptual/logical design:

Most of the methodologies are using dataflow diagram, Logical data diagram, ER diagram for explain the process and define roles for individuals. The DFD is mainly used to say the information is passing and logical data diagram used to show what information is stored and how it is interacting. This diagram is mainly used in SSADM because that methodology mainly depend on diagrammatic view when comparing to ETHICS. This stage is much similar to conceptual/ logical analysis. In order to increase efficiency and to achieving objectives this stage will be useful. But in ETHICS, they will prepare documentation to have details about developing project. They mostly will not use diagrammatic representation like DFD and ER diagram but have all details in documentation. This stage will used to achieve job efficiency and it will satisfy the objectives.

This stage will be more helpful to SSADM methodology because this methodology will mostly use DFD’s to describe the process. SSADM is also useful for structured dialogues. The logical diagnosis diagram is modified to get this design and the diagnosis diagram is modified depend upon users requirement. In ETHICS this stage mostly not useful but in SSADM methodology this stage will be very helpful.

Stage 7 – Performing physical design:

This stage is mainly used to understand about what are the things require for developing new project. Here in ETHICS they will investigate and evaluate the available technical option like Hardware, Software and User Interfaces, etc. This stage will be very useful the achieve the objectives.

In SSADM methodology, here developers will use all the stages to get final design. This stage is mainly depending on technical side. End of these stage programmers will start to develop the project and implementation process also will start. But ETHICS methodology used to in all field where as SSADM is mainly focussing on technical side. So it is very big drawback in SSADM.

Stage 8 – Implementing the designs:

This stage is final to give successful project to the environment. After implementing they have to train the users to say how to use the system and then integrate the new system into the environment. In ETHICS, depend upon the requirement they will use several tools and they will implement the project. We can’t say specific stages to implement the project because requirement will be defer from each and every project. In SSADM, depend on user requirement they will develop the project and implement it.


After implementing the project, finally have to evaluate that because simple execution of methodology is not efficient. It should be more helpful and it should be efficient in environment. Evaluation is mainly used to find what are the things have to change in new system and why they have to change the system. Problem situation, problem solvers, problem solving process these are the elements going to evaluate here. After developing the project it will evaluate how the methodology helps to develop that particular project. When evaluating these elements if they not satisfy with any process means they will start to do from first stage. At initial stage they will evaluate everything and plan to do project and also there is a chance to evaluate during the developing stage.

As discussed earlier, in ETHICS after finishing implementation they will start to evaluate because they have to know whether new system is effective or not. And also they will evaluate whether it satisfy the objectives or not. If something is missing from objectives means they will start to rework the project and then re-evaluation will take place until they satisfy with their development. Where in SSADM there is no evaluation is take place because there is no objective to the developers. Here the developers are show the output of each stage to client and get feedback from them. So it wills satisfy the client in that way. Developing team no need to evaluate those things here.


This above report is compared very important and interesting methodology named SSADM and ETHICS. Both methodologies are very useful in different fields. But ETHICS is mostly used in wide area but SSADM is for Information Systems. These two methodologies will have several benefits and also have several drawbacks. In both methodologies, people who are in developing team should need experience to develop the project. Without experience if they started to do develop then it will leads to failure. In this section, there is a comparison between two methodologies in several ways. In ETHICS mostly developing people will maintain document for having detail about developing process and for describing drawbacks, etc. but in SSADM they will use dataflow diagram for maintaining details and for showing operation flow. But these DFD’s are not useful for different type of problem like web application, decision support, etc.

In SSADM structured approach are used for designing and modelling but ETHICS is fully uses organisational framework. SSADM will have feasibility, analysis, logical design and physical design and Ethics will give job satisfaction as well as it will improve efficiency. SSADM will use waterfall model(Software Development Life Cycle model) in designing stage. So that at the end of development process they will prepare document for reference. In ETHICS, according to Objectives they will start to do work and also they will follow fifteen stages. According to that fifteen stages developers will develop the new system. SSADM is very costly for larger project and also have to write several docmentation for maintaining. But the documentation is not worthfull because they will have mostly diagramatic representation. ETHICS will also maintain the document but it will have full details clearly.

In ETHICS they will develop project according to organisation objectives, so they itself analyse about present situation and going for new one. For example, In real time world microsoft introducing MS-Word in different version. Each and every version will overcome the drawback of existing version. In SSADM, client will give requirement so they have to analyse about that according to that developers have to start to develop. In ETHICS, outside the team members also act as a problem solver due to this the output will be very efficient. In SSADM only developers are the problem solver because they only will have knowledge about technical side.

When comparing ETHICS with SSADM, ETHICS will look like very efficient methodology because that methodology widly used for different field. Even it having several advantage some disadvantage also available in this. people should communicate with each other and have to share idea in every stage. In SSADM drawbacks are high cost as well as need communication with experience person to gain knowledge. It not suitable for all kind of systems.


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