Feasibility Study

With a comparison of the classical systems analysis life cycle and iterative models.

This is the second stage of the six classical stages of Systems Analysis

In the classical model, the feasibility study is a time of information gathering of discovering what can be done within certain shifting boundaries of reasonability. The analyst must insure that the requirements of the proposed system are consistent with the project proposal objectives and make recommendations based on his findings. These answers and the technical expertise of the analysts are compiled into a report that gives a clear profile of each of the options and perhaps recommends further options.

In the Iterative model this is at best a tool used as part of the process of deciding how to proceed with the project, of ruling out possibilities and eliminating unreasonable options. This study is all about brainstorming and coming up with new ideas. The iterative model is about repeating and this is the core of much of the way to understand the iterative model – each option, each problem, each unique encounter and each critical decision has a feasibility analysis carried out for it. This feasibility analysis may be a quick mental reckoning or a day of brainstorming and discussion.

This iterative approach takes place even at the thought level with feasibility (“what are my realistic options?”) and evaluation at the core of it all. The prototype might be a test model or it might be a quick thought experiment but it does happen.  

Another way of thinking about this is that even when you are deciding say - the best way to get to work now the car is dead; iterative analysis states you are carrying out a feasibility study in your head.  Sometimes we make knee-jerk reactions rather than thinking things through.  This is the weakness of the iterative model but it is only a model, or way of thinking about something.

With the iterative model, you could say that the whole is a practical feasibility study that seeks out the feasible and in the process creates it.  Effectively you have a structured process for thought experiments

This stage when completed formally should result in these reports: 

  • System description (as it is now) 
  • Business need
  • Cost-benefit analysis 
    • Monetary Cost
    • Cost in real terms
    • People Cost
    • Time Cost
    • Loss of business cost
    • New trade abilities
    • Scope for expansion
    • Return on investment
  • Project team organization
  • Schedule 

Classical Model of Systems analysis.  AKA the System Life Cycle

  1. Project Selection
  2. Feasibility Study
  3. Definition
  4. Design
  5. implementation
  6. Evaluation