INFS 622-001 Systems Analysis and Design
Wed 7:10-10PM, Innovation 204

Instructor: C. Randall Howard, Ph. D
Office Hours:
Wed., 5-7PM, Engineering Building Rm 4437 or by appointment
Phone: 703-899-3608

GTA: Katherine Irvin, MS
Office Hours:
  By appointment
Phone: 703-946-8700

Course Description
Integration of computing technologies, systems analysis, system design practices, and management criteria in the design of large-scale information management and decision-support systems. Includes cases, computing lab.

Course Objectives
INFS622 is a core-course for the CS, Applied-IT and HAP Informatics programs. Dr. Howard leverages his 30+ years of system engineering, architecture and consulting experience to run heavily mentored group interactions along with industry-relevant lecture material.   Students learn the material, and also know how to apply and connect the artifacts together by semesterŐs end.  The result is a valuable skill that enables the students to ŇsellÓ a cohesive story that greatly increases the chance of acceptance and approval of any proposal or recommendation.  In doing so, students learn to:

á       Refine & apply new Ňtranslation and ŇlanguageÓ skills to mediate between business & technical communities

á       Tools to determine best fit to address the problems and shape solutions

á       Explain rationale and recommendations to stakeholders


Prerequisites: INSF 501, 515 and 590 or equivalent, or by permission.




This syllabus serves as our ŇcontractÓ for the course and the semester.  Such items as the textbook, topics, learning objectives, grading, etc. are conveyed in this syllabus.  Students are expected to prepare BEFORE class on material scheduled for each session.  This is vital to encourage participation, which is a vital element of ProfessorŐs Discretion. While the workload is designed to be as balanced throughout the semester:

Ÿ  The front part of the semester is heavier by nature

Ÿ  There are points at which the workload is heavy though

Ÿ  It is up to the students to prepare accordingly

Other ground rules are listed in the first lecture.  These are listed to help facilitate a smoother running of the semester.  Students are expected to review the material and leverage it to the fullest.  Due to such a large class, special accommodations are being made. 

Project work time w/ the professor will generally be available before class in room 4437 in the Engineering Building.  Appointments must be made.

Grading Guidelines:

Grade Component



Homework Assignments*


Core tenets in the textbook

á       Homework 1 - 5 questions

á       Homework 2- 15 questions

Group Project


Application of material in the textbook and lectures

  • 20% presentation
  • 20% team work (as determined by team member assessments and observations)
  • 30% description completeness
  • 30% technical soundness

Online Exams*


Material discussed in class

á       Exam 1

á       Exam 2

á       Exam 3



The professor may engage the class in various means to encourage participation

Ÿ  Attendance

Ÿ  Participation in class

Ÿ  Dialog w/ professor (in person or email)

Ÿ  Feedback as requested (e.g. surveys)

Ÿ  Class & project engagement






Grading Policy:

All work must be submitted at the scheduled time and place unless prior arrangements are made.  Missed reports cannot be made up without these prior arrangements. All assignments will be graded on correctness as well as style and presentation. Each assignment is due on the announced date before 12 midnight, with the exception of the projects that are due before class begins on presentation day.   There will be a 10% penalty per day for late submissions unless otherwise specified.

All submissionsŐ file names need to indicate student or group names.

a.     For individual submissions, use this format:


b.     For group submissions, questions, etc. for the Professor,

                             i.     CLEARLY mark the subject of the item as  w/ ATTN TO PROFESSOR: subject  (I do not monitor group discussion areas)

                           ii.     Send a follow-up email to the Professor that the item has been posted

                          iii.     For Submissions, use this format:

Group#_ArtifactName_State (eg.,Initial, Draft, Final), Version (e.g. #)

                          iv.     Submit on groupŐs File Exchange area on Blackboard


ALL submissions should be in MS Word, unless otherwise specified. In other words, DO NOT SUBMIT PDFŐs – we cannot effectively provide feedback on .PDFŐs.  A 10% penalty may be assessed for not following these instructions!

Grading Scale:

Letter Grade

Numerical Range





















Academic Integrity:

The integrity of the University community is affected by the individual choices made by each of us. GMU has an Honor Code with clear guidelines regarding academic integrity. Three fundamental and rather simple principles to follow at all times are that: (1) all work submitted be your own; (2) when using the work or ideas of others, including fellow students, give full credit through accurate citations; and (3) if you are uncertain about the ground rules on a particular assignment, ask for clarification. No grade is important enough to justify academic misconduct. Plagiarism means using the exact words, opinions, or factual information from another person without giving the person credit. Writers give credit through accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or endnotes. Paraphrased material must also be cited, using MLA or APA format. A simple listing of books or articles is not sufficient. Plagiarism is the equivalent of intellectual robbery and cannot be tolerated in the academic setting. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, please see me.

As in many classes, a number of projects in this class are designed to be completed within your study group. With collaborative work, names of all the participants should appear on the work. Collaborative projects may be divided up so that individual group members complete portions of the whole, provided that group members take sufficient steps to ensure that the pieces conceptually fit together in the end product. Other projects are designed to be undertaken independently. In the latter case, you may discuss your ideas with others and conference with peers on drafts of the work; however, it is not appropriate to give your paper to someone else to revise. You are responsible for making certain that there is no question that the work you hand in is your own. If only your name appears on an assignment, your professor has the right to expect that you have done the work yourself, fully and independently.

GMU is an Honor Code university; please see the Office for Academic Integrity for a full description of the code and the honor committee process. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone elseŐs work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form. Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification. It is your responsibility to know and to follow MasonŐs policy on academic integrity (

The professor utilizes the tools such as SafeAssign (provided as part of Blackboard) to check assignments against published resources AND other studentsŐ work. 

CS Deparment Honor Code Statement:

As with all GMU courses, INFS 622 is governed by the GMU Honor Code. In this course, all assignments, exams, and project submissions carry with them an implicit statement that it is the sole work of the author, unless joint work is explicitly authorized. Help may be obtained from the instructor or other students to understand the description of the problem and any technology, but the solution, particularly the design portion, must be the student's own work. If joint work is authorized, all contributing students must be listed on the submission. Any deviation from this is considered an Honor Code violation. (Š Jeff Offutt).  The Computer Science DepartmentŐs Honor Policy is in force as well, and can be found at the following URL:

To stay safe:

á       Provide citations for your work – group and individual – even if it is Ňadapted fromÓ. 

á       Do not work in groups to complete individual work. 

á       Do not copy and paste material from the text except for short, pithy definitions that cannot necessarily be re-worded easily.

Disability Accommodations:

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 703.993.2474.

Mason Diversity Statement:

George Mason University promotes a living and learning environment for outstanding growth and productivity among its students, faculty and staff. Through its curriculum, programs, policies, procedures, services and resources, Mason strives to maintain a quality environment for work, study and personal growth.

An emphasis upon diversity and inclusion throughout the campus community is essential to achieve these goals. Diversity is broadly defined to include such characteristics as, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Diversity also entails different viewpoints, philosophies, and perspectives. Attention to these aspects of diversity will help promote a culture of inclusion and belonging, and an environment where diverse opinions, backgrounds and practices have the opportunity to be voiced, heard and respected.

The reflection of MasonŐs commitment to diversity and inclusion goes beyond policies and procedures to focus on behavior at the individual, group and organizational level. The implementation of this commitment to diversity and inclusion is found in all settings, including individual work units and groups, student organizations and groups, and classroom settings; it is also found with the delivery of services and activities, including, but not limited to, curriculum, teaching, events, advising, research, service, and community outreach.

Acknowledging that the attainment of diversity and inclusion are dynamic and continuous processes, and that the larger societal setting has an evolving socio-cultural understanding of diversity and inclusion, Mason seeks to continuously improve its environment. To this end, the University promotes continuous monitoring and self-assessment regarding diversity. The aim is to incorporate diversity and inclusion within the philosophies and actions of the individual, group and organization, and to make improvements as needed.


Students must use their MasonLive email account to receive important University information, including messages related to this class. See for more information.

If you have special circumstances arise that may impede your performance in the class, please let me know.  Your situation will be held in the strictest of confidence.  It may require informing my TA or administration as needed so that they can also support you as well.  Mason offers a great deal of help in many areas, but we cannot help unless we know.




Session Focus

Reference Material


Take Aways from the Material

Business Principles

Data Principles

Tool Principles



o   Lecture:

Ÿ Course Overview

Ÿ Systems Analysis Overview

o   Industry: Lost Art of Analysis

o   Project: Teaming & Subjects

o   Chapter 1 The Systems Analyst And Information Systems Development

o   ProfessorŐs Supplemental

o   8/30 Teams and Subjects

o   SSAD practices add value

o   A SDLC is not the same as a SDM

o   There is no guaranteed success in an IT project


o   Successful solutions take more than technology!



o   Lecture: Core Modeling Skills

o   Industry: Summer School Project

o   Project: Head-starts

o   Class Artifact Overview

o   Chapter 5 Process Modeling


o   Leverage diagrams to convey critical points as to not get lost in verbiage

o   Make sure points donŐt get lost either–use obvious callouts and annotations

o   Bridge the story between business and technical staff


o   Know your interfaces (as in the DFDŐs)

o   DFDŐs have syntax rules (and semantic guidelines)



o   Lecture:  Project Selection

o   Industry: VW Case Study

o   Project: Core Foundations

o   Chapter 2 Project Selection And Management

o   1st Homework

o   Be proactive and engaging vs. reactive and aloof

o   Understand what is commonly understandable by the business stakeholders





o   Lecture: Requirements

o   Industry: Real Estate System

o   Project: Core Foundation Review

o   Chapter 3 Requirements Determination

o   Core Foundations

o   Take the ŇBusinessÓ back to IT

o   Put the ŇIÓ back into ŇITÓ [Aiken]

o   Understand what exists

o   Interpret what is needed


o   There are many ways to get requirements for many situations



o   Lecture: Scenario Development

o   Industry: Prototypical Scenarios

o   Project:  Analysis Proposal Review

o   Chapter 4 Use Case Analysis

o   1st Exam

o   Identify & use the primary scenarios in your environment



o   Use Cases help identify prototypical scenarios



o   Lecture: Data Modeling

o   Industry: Advanced Modeling

o   Project:  Analysis Draft Review

o   Chapter 6 Data Modeling

o   PS: Data Modeling 601

o   Analysis Draft


o   Data models depict our business environments

o   Data models are an ongoing and developing process

o   Data modeling is powerful when leveraged correctly throughout the SDLC

o   Conceptual Data Models are important to business people

o   Logical Data Models help translate business needs to technical specifications




o   Lecture:

Ÿ Analysis of Alternatives

Ÿ Presentation Tips

o   Industry: Why bother?

o   Project: Wrapup Analysis Proposal


o   2nd Homework

o   Develop mechanisms to make complicated and contentious discussions easier

o   Decompose the story into logical pieces





o   Lecture: OOSA&D

o   Industry: OOŐs Impact

o   Project: Design Artifact Headstarts

o   Chapter 7 Moving Into Design

o   Chapter 14 The Movement To Objects

o   Analysis Proposal ŇFinalÓ

o   Development options need to fit the environmentŐs needs

o   Analysis and development evolves over time


o   Generalizations promote extensibility

o   Know when to pick which mechanism: Use cases or DFDs?

o   Encapsulation is central to modern architectures



o   Lecture: Architecture Design

o   Industry: Enterprise Architecture

o   Project:

o   Chapter 8 Architecture Design

o   Mid-Semester Checkpoint (online survey)


o   Data is the most important tier (vs. UI or Application)


o   Cloud computing is here to stay!




o   Lecture: GUI Design

o   Industry: Guest Lecture

o   Project: Design Artifacts

o   Chapter 9 User Interface Design

o   2nd Exam



o   Storyboarding provides dividends



o   Lecture: Program & Data Design

o   Industry: Hadoop Overview

o   Project: Presentation Preps

o   Chapter 10 Program Design

o   Chapter 11 Data Storage Design



o   Understand how data is used throughout the organization

o   Decision support systems take historical data to help w/ decisions about the future

o   Frame the code for difficult logic



o   Lecture: Production Migration

o   Industry: Case Studies

o   Project: Presentation Review

o   Chapter 12 Moving Into Implementation

o   Design Artifacts & Presentation Drafts

o   Understand the level of effort across life-cycle phases

o   Match the right staff to the right tasks


o   Recognize your ŇtoolsÓ (or artifacts)



o   Lecture: Transitions

o   Industry: Case Studies

o   Project: Final Project Preps

o   Chapter 13 Transition To The New System

o   3rd Exam

o   Change requires persistence


o   Pick the right implementation strategies for the right environment



Thanksgiving Break








o   Analysis & Design Proposal Presentations


o   Analysis Proposal

o   Design Proposal

o   Presentations

o   Course  & Project Member Evaluations

NOTE: This very well may be a 4:30-10 session





o   Semester Wrapup

o   Presentation Feedback

o   Final Exam Results

o   Semester Evaluations