Saturday, February 21, 2009

Software Design Review

You have been hired by a computer consulting firm to develop an income tax calculation package for an accounting firm. You have designed a system according to the customer’s requirements and presented your design at a design review. Which of the following questions might be asked at the preliminary design review? At the critical design review? At both? Explain your answers.

a) What computer will it run on?
b) What will the input screens look like?
c) What reports will be produced?
d) How many concurrent users will there be?
e) Will you use a multiuser operating system?
f) What are the details of the depreciation algorithm?

The preliminary design review is a formal inspection of the high-level architectural design of an automated system and its software, which is conducted to achieve confidence that the design satisfies the functional and nonfunctional requirements. So, based on this definition of the preliminary design review (PDR), I would say that all the questions, except the last one, listed above have a high probability of being asked at the PDR. If we look at the questions closely, they are meant to ensure that the proposed design and associated implementation approach will satisfy the system and subsystem functional requirements. This is where the design is being subjected to review if it complies with the standards and requirements. So basically, questions at the PDR would involve the hardware/software specifications, users of the system, and everything that has to do with ensuring a successful design and project. If the design passed at the PDR, it means that we can now move on to a more detailed design to address the identified lacking or risky areas during the PDR.

Meanwhile, the critical design review (CDR) is necessary to ensure that the system under review can proceed to system fabrication, test and can meet the cost that was budgeted earlier in the design process. From what I understand, this is also where the more detailed design issues are presented so I think that the last question will be most probably asked during this review. According to my readings, the CDR addresses the issues identified in the PDR and checks if they have been answered and resolved. In simpler terms, the CDR checks the updates of the design and decides if it is ready to be implemented and tested as a product. The CDR is important to ensure that the output will be a successful product with minimal, if possible no, risks.

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