Review – Structured Systems Analysis: Tools and Techniques

Structured Systems Analysis: Tools and Techniques. Chris Gane and Trish Sarson. Prentice Hall, 1979.
This is one of the classic books on systems analysis: data flow diagrams, data dictionary, and so on appear. It does a decent job explaining these (though heavier on the tools than the techniques). The description of a data dictionary is one of the better ones I’ve seen. There’s a nice distinction between system and organizational objectives. This is the earliest reference I’ve seen to the IRACIS model: that work is done because it will Increase Revenue, Avoid Costs, and/or Improve Service. Their explanation of decision tables is excellent. For those who trace the history of agile ideas, Gane and Sarson view systems development as following Boehm’s spiral model: “In each case and at each level we build a skeleton, first logical and then physical, see how well the skeleton works, and then go back to put the flesh on the bones.” (This is from 1979, and 30 years later we’re still working on it.)


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