As rising Information Systems professionals (or scholars), “systems analysis” may be the best way to quickly describe your core professional skillset to folks at the holidays. Despite this, there are many systems analysts in the world who may not have ever referred to themselves as such. Understanding how to identify and analyze human and information systems, their impact on organizations and people, and some methods for changing these systems is a central component of the work of any information professional, whether they are software developers or personnel managers.

The details

Course: INLS 382-001

Semester: Fall 2016

Time: 6:00-7:15 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday

Instructor: Jason Casden (

Textbook and readings: “Software Requirements, Third Edition” by Karl Wiegers and Joy Beatty. An ebook is available through UNC Libraries, which up to 9 people can view at a time. A print copy is also available on reserve in the SILS Library. Finally, if you prefer, print copies are available online for under $35. Additional readings are required as posted on the course website.

Online course environment: Sakai

Office hours: I’m happy to schedule Google Hangouts or Skype calls with reasonable notice.

Why I hope you’ll find this useful (learning objectives)

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • identify and document system requirements for projects in various settings.
  • decompose complex systems into simpler components for analysis and modification.
  • analyze the project requirements for these systems in context, working with users to identify constraints and opportunities.
  • apply several project management and systems design techniques to implement new systems as well as to modify existing systems.


Requirement Portion of grade
Individual assignments (2) 15%
Group project assignments (3) 30%
Project presentations and critique 5%
Classroom activity 10%
Midterm exam 20%
Final exam 20%
Grades will be posted in Sakai.
Course grade Minimum %
A 95%
A- 90%
B+ 87%
B 83%
B- 80%
C+ 77%
C 73%
C- 70%
D+ 67%
D 63%
F less than 63%


Individual assignments

Throughout the semester I will assign two individual assignments, which will be posted to Sakai.

Group project assignments

Throughout the semester I will assign (on Sakai) three group mini-projects related to a system or organization identified in the individual problem statement assignment. This will culminate in a 15-minute class presentation.

Classroom activity

  • You should show up to class on time and stay until the end.
  • Our classes will rely heavily on classroom discussion and group activities. You will receive credit for enhancing your colleagues’ classroom experience in some way during the week.

Each of these elements is worth one point (3 points per week). There will be 3 points of extra credit.


The two exams will include a mix of questions (multiple choice, essay, etc.) based on the readings and classroom activities. We will spend time in class reviewing the material before each exam.


  • Attendance is expected. Please let me know if you expect to miss more than one class.
  • Project assignments are due by the start of class on the due dates.
  • Late work will have 10 percentage points subtracted from the grade for each 24-hour period it is overdue. In other words, the maximum possible grade for an assignment submitted between 1 and 24 hours overdue is 90%, and then 80% for the next 24 hours, and so on.

Honor code

It shall be the responsibility of every student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to obey and support the enforcement of the Honor Code, which prohibits lying, cheating, or stealing when these actions involve academic processes or University, student or academic personnel acting in an official capacity.

Campus Code

It shall be the further responsibility of every student to abide by the philosophy of the code; namely, to conduct oneself so as not to impair significantly the welfare or the educational opportunities of others in the University community.

Faculty Responsibilities

I have a role to play as well, and I will fulfill these responsibilities.

What it means to us

The system rests on several central tenets:

  • The university community, including faculty and students, share a commitment to the pursuit of truth, and the dissemination of knowledge to succeeding generations of citizens devoted to the high ideals of personal honor and respect for the rights of others.
  • These goals can only be achieved in a setting in which intellectual honesty and personal integrity are highly valued; other individuals are trusted, respected, and fairly treated; and the responsibility for articulating and maintaining high standards is widely shared.
  • Both students and faculty must play active roles in fostering a culture in which honor is prized and acting to remedy violations of community norms relating to academic misconduct, injuries to members of the University community, and conduct that adversely affect University operations and resources.
  • The principles of academic honesty, integrity, and responsible citizenship govern the performance of all academic work and student conduct at the University as they have during the long life of this institution

Your acceptance of enrollment in the University presupposes a commitment to the principles embodied in the Code of Student Conduct and a respect for the most significant Carolina tradition. Your reward is in the practice of these principles.

Your participation in this course comes with the expectation that your work will be completed in full observance of the Honor Code. You are encouraged to work together with your fellow students and to share knowledge and learning. However, academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable, because any breach in academic integrity, however small, strikes destructively at the University’s life and work.

Classroom code of conduct

We are a learning community and should treat each other with the respect we would expect of others. Constructive disagreement is encouraged, but please attempt to balance critiques with efforts to build and maintain a welcoming classroom community. I will try my best to do the same, but I welcome any suggestions for improvements or even general statements of discomfort.

Our classroom is dedicated to providing a harassment-free course experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. We do not tolerate harassment of course participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any course setting or products.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact your instructor or another SILS faculty member immediately.

Adapted from

Valuing, Recognizing, and Encouraging Diversity

Promoting and valuing diversity in the classroom enriches learning and broadens everyone’s perspectives. Inclusion and tolerance can lead to respect for others and their opinions and is critical to maximizing the learning that we expect in this program. This may challenge our own closely held ideas and personal comfort zones. The results, however, create a sense of community and promote excellence in the learning environment.

Diversity includes consideration of (1) the variety of life experiences others have had, and (2) factors related to “diversity of presence,” including, among others, age, economic circumstances, ethnic identification, disability, gender, geographic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, social position.

This class will follow principles of inclusion, respect, tolerance, and acceptance that support the values of diversity.

Taken from the UNC Department of Health Policy and Management’s HPM Diversity Syllabus Statement 2011.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability, or pregnancy complications resulting in difficulties with accessing learning opportunities.

All accommodations are coordinated through the Accessibility Resources and Service Office. In the first instance please visit their website, Tel: 919-962-8300 or Email: A student is welcome to initiate the registration process at any time, however, the process can take time. ARS is particularly busy in the run-up to Finals and during Finals. Students submitting Self-ID forms at that time are unlikely to have accommodations set until the following semester.

Please contact ARS as early in the semester as possible.


The schedule and readings are subject to change. Please check the schedule each week.

Week 1: What is a system?

23 August 2016

  • Course orientation

25 August 2016


Week 2: What is systems analysis and design?

29 August 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 1
  • W&B, Chapter 4
  • Davis, William. (1999). The problem statement. In W. Davis & D. Yen, The Information System Consultant’s Handbook: Systems Analysis and Design. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Chapter 12, 87-90. [e-reserves]
  • Individual assignment 1 assigned

1 September 2016


Week 3: What do users know?

6 September 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 2

8 September 2016


Week 4: How much should I take on?

13 September 2016

  • Form project groups.
  • W&B, Chapter 5


  • Group project assignment 1 assigned

15 September 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 32

Week 5: How do I coordinate all of this work?

20 September 2016


22 September 2016



Week 6: How do I know what to do?

  • functional requirements, non-functional requirements, quality attributes

27 September 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 6

29 September 2016

  • Davis, William. (1999). The feasibility study. In W. Davis & D. Yen, The Information System Consultant’s Handbook: Systems Analysis and Design. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Chapter 13, 91-96. [e-reserves]


  • Group project assignment 1 due by start of class
  • Group project assignment 2 assigned

Week 7: What do the users need?

4 October 2016


6 October 2016


Week 8: Review & Midterm

11 October 2016

  • Review

13 October 2016

  • Midterm exam.

Week 9: How do I describe the requirements of this project?

18 October 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 10
  • W&B, Chapter 11

20 October 2016

No class.

Week 10: How do data move through the system?

25 October 2016


27 October 2016



  • Individual assignment 2 assigned

Week 11: How do I assess and prioritize my requirements?

1 November 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 14

3 November 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 16
  • W&B, Chapter 17


  • Group project assignment 2 due by start of class
  • Group project assignment 3 assigned

Week 12: How do I start designing a new system for its users?

8 November 2016


10 November 2016


Week 13: What did I mess up? What went well?

15 November 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 28
  • Individual assignment 2 due by start of class

17 November 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 31

Week 14: How do I implement my design?

22 November 2016

  • W&B, Chapter 19
  • W&B, Chapter 21
  • W&B, Chapter 22
  • W&B, Chapter 23
  • W&B, Chapter 24
  • W&B, Chapter 25
  • W&B, Chapter 26

24 November 2016

No class.

Week 15: Project presentations and critique

29 November 2016

  • Semester review.

1 December 2016

  • Presentations, part 1
  • Semester review
  • Group project assignment 3 and full project portfolio due by start of class

Week 16: Looking back and ahead

6 December 2016

  • Last day of class
  • Presentations part 2
  • Semester review

13 December 2016 at 7:00 PM: Final Exam

7:00 PM in Manning 304