McKee Custom Drywall is a locally owned and operating business in Western North Carolina. As a growing company, McKee Custom Drywall was in great need of a new form of a financial accounting system. At the time, approximately one year ago, MCD was dealing with completely too much paperwork and had a limited understanding of computer technologies available for their business. After hearing of their dilemma, I offered a solution to their problem. That solution was for me to create a financial accounting system which included a database that created a General Ledger, A/R, A/P, Equipment Inventory, Invoices, Reports, Proposals, Quotes, Collection Letters, a Cash Flow Analysis, a Company/Vendor information log, and a checking account that was able to access information from the MCD bank account to keep financial information up to date forms.
Without realizing, the project that I was going to develop and implement involved much more than I could possibly accomplish within one year. My proposal at that time potentially could have taken one person several years to complete. After the realization of this time constraint mistake with my senior project development, I resubmitted a project proposal, upon discretion from my Senior Project Advisor and the Senior Project Committee Chair. The revision allowed for myself to use a financial software package already designed for a small business. The decision that allowed me to use an already created format took me for a major turn around in project development and management for the McKee Custom Drywall project. The next approach I took was to present this idea to the owner of MCD, Mr. Olan McKee. He agreed that the revision was substantial but warranted due to the imperative nature of the need for a financial accounting system for his business. It quickly became apparent that the need for a System Development Lifecycle was a necessity.
The SDLC then became the major focus for my senior project. The SDLC allowed for me to create a system requirements documentation and analysis that was essential in choosing the right type of software for the MCD Company. After creating, analyzing and discussing the requirements and features with the owner and financial manager several times, we finally agreed on the product that would be used to implement the financial accounting system for MCD. The software that was chose for the project was QuickBooks 2002 version. There were several reasons why this software was chosen. First, the MCD Company already had the out of date, 1999 version of QuickBooks. Compared with the cost of purchasing a brand new software system, the upgrade, to the current 2002, version was substantially a lower cost than the other major competitors that were analyzed. Second, the requirements and analysis document proved that out of the 4 major software packages, QuickBooks functionality and reliability standards contained a substantial amount of requirements over the other software packages. The QuickBooks installation, design, and use were an important aspect to the users of the financial accounting software.
Throughout my senior project I was able to learn some of the ups and downs of project management and the design of software application architecture. Using the System Development Lifecycle for the development of my senior project allowed for me to increase my knowledge in project management. The implementation of a systems application with a company, independently and outside of my educational setting at UNCA, helped me learn more about User Centered Design (UCD), managing change, training and much more. I felt the senior project process was a tremendous learning experience although the approval process was, at times, difficult.
Advisor: Mr. Walt Turner