The Importance of User Requirements

The purpose of this article is to stress the importance of developing a database your client will use. Many of us are learning to develop databases and how to perform queries, and use SQL, and there is some focus on development. From the computer geek side of things, I personally find myself focusing on the technical aspect, for example how can I get this to work and make this report better. One thing that’s easy to overlook is a client’s requirements. From a personal standpoint and the standpoint of this article I will be describing a database that I personally interact with in my job as a computer Technician for large reputable company.

Professors and supervisor’s can stress the importance of a well designed Database but it’s hard to understand the importance of it until you’ve used a bad one.When the database for the company I work for was designed it was built basically to suit management and without technicians in mind. The problem with this approach was that that database is a wonderful database that is incredibly cumbersome to the technicians whom make use of it. When in the planning phase of the design the developers probably consulted mostly upper and middle management as far as the requirements of the system. An example of the effect of this is the way notes are recorded on computers that are in progress. From a management and business rule perspective it is important that every computer being worked on should be continually updated with notes. So if computer A was diagnosed as having a bad HDD and needed a new one the technician should make note of this. Now where the database is concerned in order to make a note on computer A it requires performing a search for the customer and adding the note. In practicality in this particular system you would have to perform a search by customer first name, as both the customer first name and last name are stored in one field which cannot be modified. Then once the customer has been located it is approximately seven clicks of the mouse, and page changes until a note can be added to that customer’s computer. The entire process can take as long as five minutes. From a technical standpoint everything in the system works, notes can be added, it is technically sound. From a practical standpoint, a technician who may work on as many as twenty different computers at the same time, the process is unbearably awkward and slow. Even if the technician only works on those same twenty computers for a six hour shift, almost two hours is spent making briefnotes. This example is provided to stress the process of correctly assessing the needs of the User. When designing a database it is easy to become consumed with building a wonderful database that does everything, but it is important to keep that mentality in perspective and not miss out on User requirements and how the DBMS will be used in real life. No matter which database or model you use the logical side of the system is important to consider. The purpose of this article was a reminder, that even thoughthere are very many technical issues to consider when developing a database it is important to not forget the logical ones, like good planning and an accurate concept of what the user really needs.

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