MEMORANDUM


Table of Contents

MEMORANDUM
  • BASIS I
  • BASIS II
  • Common

  • MEMORANDUM

    To:

    BASIS Steering committee
    Gerry Bomotti, Gene Buckley, Dick Cottrill, Tom Dorre, Allen Lacey, David Martinson, and Bob Zimmerman

    From:

    W. David Wimberly

    Copy:

    Bill Moody, Colleen Briney, Bill Overby and William Rains
    BASISONE and BASISII discussion lists

    Subject:

    BASIS April status

    I am pleased to report that Computing Services has hired Ava Findahl as a Systems Analyst to work on the BASIS I project. Ava has a two year associates degree in Business Data Processing from Oklahoma State University Technical Branch, a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and five years experience in data processing at Wal-Mart's Home Office. We are very pleased to have Ava joining our team. We will be continuing on the recruitment trail due to Joy Steely's departure, which will be effective May 7th. We will sorely miss Joy, but wish her and her family the best in Lamar, Missouri.

    Development has been completed on most of the online modules of the Leave Accounting System and is near completion on two of the functions of the General Journal Interface Module. Portions of Leave Accounting have been turned over to the core team for testing and evaluation, as was done with the title and vendor subsystems previously completed. I think the availability and use of these systems has provided some insight into the challenges we will face in the area of user education and training, since that is exactly the process the core teams are going through now. This experience will be helpful as we prepare to address this aspect of the project.

    The approach of prototyping the systems where the users are testing as program development is being performed has presented some problems. What is really needed is a staging or demo area where user testing can be performed in a much more controlled environment. Unfortunately, resources to develop (mantime) and support (mainframe cycles and memory) such an environment are very limited. We will be evaluating other possible solutions to this problem.

    During April we moved to a new release of Natural within our development environment, converting from Natural 2.1 to Natural 2.2. This has not been a totally painless process, as any software upgrade seems to bring new problems along with new features and capabilities. We have solved or developed methods to work around most problems and have been very pleased about some of the new features which we are already relying on. The upgrade was required to stay current with this critical product, and the time spent can be considered an investment since many of the product features will provide for greater programmer productivity.

    BASIS I

    Progress

    Most of the basic online functions of the Leave Accounting system have been developed and turned over to the core team for testing. This includes control table maintenance routines, listing of employees within a budgetary unit, weekly and monthly leave entry functions, the calculation routine to determine the effect of leave taken, and other special support routines. The monthly balance/adjustment and extra time functions are partially completed while the catastrophic leave donation, name search, leave proration, overtime lists, and TARGET routines have not been started.

    The batch side of the system is less complete. Processes to load existing data from MSA and the old leave system are coded and tested. However, the monthly merge of MSA data needs to be much more sophisticated and many more batch functions are still required for the complete system.

    All in all we are pleased with our progress and the quality of the system, but it does fall short of our targeted April 30 completion. If desired, the June 1 implementation date could still be achieveable if we exclude the extra time and catastrophic leave aspects of the system. There are currently 70 compiled Natural objects for this application.

    Major issues

    One unresolved issue related to leave accounting has emerged and has been added to this list. All other items relate to subsequent modules of BASIS I which are not currently being addressed.

    1. Vacation and sick leave that is accrued while an individual is on catastrophic leave must be returned to the catastrophic leave pool. We had assumed a manual adjustment would be performed to transfer this accrual when an individual returned from catastrophic leave. It has been requested that this be handled in a more automated fashion, which will require further analysis.

    2. Determine the requirements and methods to be used for defining, storing, and applying the Company/Cost Center distributions for use in charging out salary expenses.

    3. Develop a means for performing available funds checking for salary/budget activity and for projecting future salary expenses.

    4. Understand and define the specifics regarding summer school budgeting and summer teaching appointments.

    5. Determine how to accommodate extra compensation and overloads.

    6. Define any security by value requirements.

    Plans

    See the schedule provided at the end of this report.

    BASIS II

    Progress

    Development during April included the completion of the last few routines for the vendor maintenance subsystem, some enhancement and bug fixes for this subsystem, development of utilities for the entry and validation of Company/Cost Centers, and the initial coding of the Account Change and Inter-departmental Invoice functions of the General Journal Interface Module. GJIM accounting transactions are line oriented which presented some new and unique problems that had to be worked out. The experience gained here and the code developed to deal with Company/Cost Centers will be a great aid in subsequent development.

    The desired core team feedback on the vendor maintenance subsystem was slow to arrive but is very thorough. Due to the detailed nature of many of the questions and the implementation considerations associated with others, we felt these needed to be discussed in a group meeting. This issue and others that have developed prompted the core team to resume their regular twice a week meeting schedule (the first of which was April 30). Other items to be discussed include:

    Major issues

    All items listed are unchanged from last month's report.

    1. Time is needed for the design and development of a general purpose facility to provide word processing-like capabilities for requisition, purchase order, and general journal descriptions.

    2. Consensus needs to be reached regarding inter-departmental order processing.

    3. A method of identifying and reporting federal expenditures by the period of the obligation needs to be identified.

    4. The requirements of the system remain chock full of exceptions and special handling requirements. We hope we can document all of them and develop a system that takes them into consideration.

    5. There is a need to replace or interface with various inventory systems. The areas that have a possible interest in such a facility include: Scientific Supplies, Dining Services, Physical Plant and Cooperative Extension Service.

    Plans

    See the schedule provided at the end of this report.

    Common

    Progress

    1. We have initiated the use of program walkthroughs, a process where a specific program is reviewed and discussed by analysts other than the developer. This provides additional outside input for the developer and demonstrates potentially new coding techniques and approaches to solving development problems for the analysts performing the review. Of course it also takes up valuable time, so they will initially be limited to one per week and will eventually be conducted on an as needed basis.

    2. Several generalized pieces of code were developed or created from existing routines using new features of Natural 2.2. These deal with variable input formats for fields like dates and social security numbers and the translation of department codes to department numbers. We plan to extensively reuse these Natural copycode members.

    3. The TARGET administration system was functionally complete in March, but during April we cleaned it up, made efficiency enhancements, and redesigned the review criteria maintenance function. During the process, we recognized some deficiencies with our "Effective Dated Record Maintenance" program model (used to record and effective date proxies) and have undertaken the task of revising this model to differentiate maintenance of historical data from the maintenance of future data. Further modifications to several routines will be required once a desk entity is created and new programs will have to be written whenever a criteria type is created.

      More progress was made on the development of the basic TARGET processing model program. It now executes, but is still not complete. This, the development of special support routines, and the development of an edit macro to generate TARGET function modules are all needed for the basic facilities of TARGET to be completed.

    4. Kathryn continues to provide assistance and instruction to the BASIS development staff and to update the program generator macros as new requirements and problems are identified.

    No progress was made in shifting from user based security within NSM applications to desk based security. Hopefully, modifications to systems to support this change can be initiated in May.

    Plans

    See the attached schedule for detail information.

    Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this report.