Database management system and the design of a database?

Part A:

Consider an experience in your personal or professional life when you created something for someone else, be it a memo for your boss, an order for a client, or a project for a friend or relative. In this experience, did the person, or end user, participate in the process of creating the end product? Reflect on what was challenging and helpful about that person’s participation (or lack of participation) in the process and then address the following:

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  • To what extent should an end user be involved in the selection of a database management system and the design of a database?
  • What are two advantages and disadvantages to having the end user involved in the selection?
  • If you were interviewing the woman in the video, what two questions would you ask her about what she needs in the database?

Part B:

In your responses to at least two of your peers, respond to classmates who had a different perception of whether users should be involved in the selection of a database. List an advantage and disadvantage that they did not mention.

Peer’s post 1: Week one went by quick! For an example of a personal experience putting something together for someone else I have a recent example. Prior to taking over a territory sales position in my current position I managed a service department, upwards of 800 telematics connected machines and two mobile service trucks. Before handing over the position, I created a few spreadsheets to track a number of things. This varied from monthly service agreements, a growing collection of telematics machines, and a master list of company/customer names and contact info for each machine sold from our dealership. In this instance, I did not have any input from anyone.

As others have mentioned, there are certainly times when end user input is warranted or helpful and other times when it is counterproductive. Like many things in life, there is a happy balance somewhere in the middle; the difficulty is finding this balance.

Two advantages of having an end user involved in the selection process are: 1- the finished product will contain exactly what the end user is looking for. 2 – the format of the final product will meet the needs of the end user (order, rounded amounts for quantitative info etc).

Two disadvantages of end user participation are: 1 – finished product caters to the wants/needs of the end user and nobody else. This makes it difficult or impractical to share this product with anyone beside the creator/end user. If a wider audience needed to view this database, it may not be beneficial for everyone. 2- The end user may not understand how the database works, trying to add additional information that may not be necessary based on the abilities of the database to join or cross reference information.

If I was interviewing the woman in the video I would ask the following two questions; 1- Who will be using this database the most and what is their skill level in database queries. In many instances as a business grows, they hire personel to manage things like inventory in this case perhaps the inventory/admin person may be the database manager. 2- What information will you be looking to extract from the database, what will be beneficial to keep track of for the store? Conversely, there may be information the woman in the video does not need in the database, this should be discussed as well.

Peer’s post 2: Professionally, I have been in many situations where I have created various presentations of some sort for a manager, ranging from Power Points and flow charts, to spreadsheets and emails. The level of participation has varied and obviously depended on the specific task, but there is certainly a “happy medium” level that is the most beneficial. If the person is too involved, it can become a tug of war and possibly a question of why they asked someone else to complete the task in the first place. On the opposite end of that, without any direction, it can be difficult to provide the best result. Personally, I once created a meal and workout plan for a friend who was intrigued by my lifestyle and wanted to make some positive changes in her own. When I first presented the plan, the friend seemed appreciative, but I could tell there was a level of hesitation and possibly discouragement. As the conversation progressed, I realized this friend had dietary and physical restrictions that I was not aware of. Had I known this information from the beginning, I could have prepared the plan around those restrictions instead of spending time and energy on something she was not going to use and discourage her in the process.

With that being said, there are also various levels of involvement needed in the selection of a DBMS. End users can be an invaluable resource since they most likely know the data and will be utilizing it for reporting and possible future business decisions. However, too much involvement from end users can often create confusion and lead to delays in progress.

If I were interviewing the woman in the video to create her database, I would want to ask her 1 – What is the main intent for the database. Based on the video, I understand she wants to be more organized and track information about her consignors as well as the items in her store. 2 – I would need to know the specific information she would like the database to contain, such as Consignor Name, Item Type, and Cost of that item. Through conversation, she may realize new ideas and ways to best use the data.

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