Week 2 Case Study Project Risk Management The need for this project is due to the decision by Ajax to upgrade their software system and they are uncertain which would be the best method to proceed. The goal for Ajax is to automate their production planning and control system. While the case study does not clearly state the reason it is safe to assume that the new system would be expected to increase productivity and maintain control of the production system. Ajax has chosen two options that they would like to pursue and each option has its own risks associated with it. The first option is to purchase an off the shelf software system that can be modified to meet the needs of the business and the second option is to have the software custom built to the standards that Ajax requires. The off the shelf software system represents a relatively low development risk and could be the more financially sound decision. When buying COTS systems the development time is substantially reduced so the time to market is much less than a custom built package. The company that supports the COTS software would also be able to provide technical support for the product and resolve any issues that are discovered in the testing phase. This brings up an important factor as well when choosing which vendor will be selected for the purchase of the COTS software, as the company should be reputable and have a strong history of positive feedback from other users or companies that it has done business with in the past. Another potential drawback to the COTS software is its adaptability to the company’s current computer systems as this new system may require additional hardware to be purchased in order to operate the system. Since this programming is COTS there will also not be a lot of opportunity to customize the package for the future needs of the company so it may be a short term solution that may need to be repeated after a few years and the business needs change. A positive is that COTS systems are often written to be very user friendly so the time it would take to train the operators would be considerably less than a custom software package. A custom build software package should be considered as a higher risk option but it may be the best option for the future of the company. The development of custom software takes a considerable amount of time to market since the scope of the project is often changing and new options are constantly being requested but it allows Ajax the opportunity to look at the future of where the production system is heading a have tools developed that will allow them to include these items in the development. In order to roll out a custom built package like this the company must also consider the process it will take to install the software and hot it is tested so as not to impact the entire company. When the new software is installed and rolled into production there may also be an adjustment period of the operators of the software based on the complexity of the programming and how user friendly the system is. The project should also take into consideration the input of the end users in the development phase in order to assure their buy-in when the final product is delivered. Given the information provided I would select the new development option of a custom built system. This new system would be a tremendous opportunity for the company to grow in the future and have a competitive advantage based on their technologic advantage. If the project suffers a failure the company would still be able to look into the COTS package as a backup plan for the upgraded system and could still meet the budget requirement if both options are pursued.
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