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Investigation of Client Collaboration in Developing a Sales and Inventory System through Agile Methodology

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The researchers discovered that one of the problems that Company XYZ experience is having no security and accuracy in their data such that their records including transactions and product status are only manually stored in an Excel sheet. With this, the researchers implemented Agile framework. The Agile Framework is intended to promote Client Collaboration to enhance the quality and adaptability of the system to the company’s daily routine. The researchers developed a system that keeps track of the sales, transactions, and inventory records of Company XYZ. At the end of every sprint, the researchers visited the company to show the prototype of their system. This was to promote the company to give their insights and suggestions to make the system better. The goal of this system is to reduce the difficulty in analysing the company’s sales and inventory status. This system will allow Company XYZ to maximize efficiency such that the employees will be more productive in their work. Each privilege has its own functionality. These are to add, delete, and update information including the inventory status, sales records, transactions, customer records, and new user accounts, granting privileges, and generating sales reports.
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INVESTIGATION OF CLIENT COLLABORATION IN
DEVELOPING A SALES AND INVENTORY SYSTEM
THROUGH AGILE METHODOLOGY
Rafael C. Carandang
University of Asia and the
Pacific
Pasig City, Metro Manila, 1605,
Philippines
josephrafael.carandang@uap.asia
Gianen B. Cervales
University of Asia and the
Pacific
Pasig City, Metro Manila, 1605,
Philippines
gianen.cervales@uap.asia
Nikita N. Rashinkar
University of Asia and the
Pacific
Pasig City, Metro Manila, 1605,
Philippines
nikita.rashinkar@uap.asia
Giuseppe Ng
University of Asia and the
Pacific
Pasig City, Metro Manila, 1605,
Philippines
giuseppe.ng@uap.asia
ABSTRACT
The researchers discovered that one of the problems that Company
XYZ experience is having no security and accuracy in their data such
that their records including transactions and product status are only
manually stored in an Excel sheet. With this, the researchers
implemented Agile framework. The Agile Framework is intended to
promote Client Collaboration to enhance the quality and adaptability
of the system to the company’s daily routine. The researchers
developed a system that keeps track of the sales, transactions, and
inventory records of Company XYZ. At the end of every sprint, the
researchers visited the company to show the prototype of their
system. This was to promote the company to give their insights and
suggestions to make the system better. The goal of this system is to
reduce the difficulty in analysing the company’s sales and inventory
status. This system will allow Company XYZ to maximize efficiency
such that the employees will be more productive in their work. Each
privilege has its own functionality. These are to add, delete, and
update information including the inventory status, sales records,
transactions, customer records, and new user accounts, granting
privileges, and generating sales reports.
KEYWORDS
Sales, Inventory, Transactions, Agile, Customer Collaboration
INTRODUCTION
Company XYZ Co. is a marketing, sales, and distribution company
of critical care products and medical devices. It is currently a small
company that has a huge potential of becoming a bigger company in
the next 5 to 10 years. This company is in the business of delivering
medical products to various channels such as hospitals, drugstores,
doctors and patients alike. Moreover, its mission is to provide the
best healthcare solutions to varying needs of patients in a timely
manner. Thus, its people are committed to ensure accurate, efficient
and on-time delivery of products and services that help save lives.
However, the company is currently experiencing a problem in terms
of managing their data. There is no security and accuracy in their data
such that their records including transactions and product status are
only manually stored in an Excel sheet. Therefore, Software
Engineering is essential in order to develop a system that can solve
the problems faced by the company.
According to Sommerville[1], Software Engineering is an engineering
discipline which that is concerned with all the aspects of software
production from the start of the software specification up until the
software evolution. Moreover, Software Engineering has two
different types of approaches which are called the Plan-driven
Process and Agile Process. Both aim to solve the problems with
regard to the business process of the company. However, the
difference is that Plan-driven process is an approach when all the
process activities are planned and the progress is measured based on
it, while the Agile process has incremental and continual planning as
the system is being developed.
In terms of the software attributes specifically its usability, the
software product is easy to learn and use and its appearance is
pleasant. Moreover, it is also dependable and secure such that the
software works reliably without major issues and has strong security.
In this case, the system is doing what its supposed to do. The
software is also efficient in such a way that the software product
performs its functions swiftly and efficiently. It processes a minimum
amount of time and does not waste any resources [1]. However, there
are still room for improvements with regard to its dependability,
security and efficiency.
Figure 1. Agile Framework
The Agile Methodology with Scrum framework used in this study is
shown in Figure 1. This will from then on be framed as Agile
Framework. This is to determine whether adopting an Agile
Framework can deliver a system that solves their problems and
increases client satisfaction. This method consists of 6 Phases:
Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Sprint, Meeting with Client, Sprint
Retrospective and Deliverables. One of the main advantages of using
an Agile Framework as an approach in software development is that
the outputs from the development process are decided through a
process of negotiation during the software development process[1].
In this case, using an Agile framework reduced overheads in software
process and was able to respond quickly to the changes in customer
requirements made by the company. As an agile framework promotes
client collaboration in order to deliver working software that can
adapt to changing requirements without excessive rework, a study
was conducted to determine the client's response and involvement
towards the agile.
The researchers chose to implement the Agile framework since it is
not necessary for them to specify all the requirements all at once.
Based on the definition of Sommerville[1], in Agile development,
program specification, design and implementation are interleaved. It
is also essential that the client is involved in version specification and
evaluation throughout the software development. Hence, in order to
build a strong relationship with the client, the researchers had regular
client meetings. Through this, they were able to adapt or negotiate
in terms of customer specifications. Moreover, in this kind of
approach, frequent delivery of new versions is needed for evaluation
and thus focusing on the actual code is much more essential than
having written documentations.
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
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The researchers used collaborative sessions to get a better
understanding of their client and develop a system that caters their
needs in terms of managing the company’s records. To begin with,
the main objectives of the researchers was to:
To identify the client process issues;
To discover the effects of Agile Frameworkin client’s
motivation of being involved in the development; and
To propose a system that is customized based on clients
demands.
METHODOLOGY
The researchers used the qualitative approach in gathering
information for the problem. According to StatisticsSolutions[2], a
qualitative research approach seeks to tell the story of the scope’s
comments and experiences in their own words. Hence, it focuses on
narratives rather than numbers. The researchers visited the company
several times in order to immerse themselves in their environment to
better understand the business process and the causes of the
problem. Moreover, interviews were conducted to all of the
employees to enhance the understanding the root cause of the
problem. The researchers used their gadgets and journals to take note
all of the narratives and comments that the company has said. On
top of that, voice recording was also used to ensure that all of the
information will be taken into account.
The researchers made a system for the company. With this, they
implemented the Agile Framework. Their intention for
implementation of the Agile Framework was to better manage the
progress of the system and also ensure customer collaboration. The
developers had 20 working days and 10 days of weekends of sprint
approximately 4 weeks to complete a sprint. The developers held a
weekly stand up meeting with the adviser to report on what user
stories the developers had done in the past 7 days. After the sprint, a
meeting with the client was held to inform the progress of the system.
It is during this phase that the developers received feedbacks and
comments with the presented prototype. After this stage, a sprint
retrospective was done to demonstrate with their adviser the current
status of the system and to also discuss the challenges and solutions
that the researchers had.
The benchmark for the researchers to measure their clients interest
and involvement in the progress of the system was based on the
interviews, evaluation and the clients feedback that are based on the
metrics of the university’s internship evaluation form. The client
evaluated the researchers progress on the system after each Sprint.
The evaluation was based on the Likert Rating Scale with 1 as the
lowest and 5 as the highest. The client rated the system based on the
system’s usability, dependability and security, efficiency, and
acceptability. The evaluation also included the general evaluation of
the researchers, this was based on the researcher’s professionalism,
receptive of constructive criticism, competency, resourcefulness,
adaptability, responsive and communicates with clarity during the
Sprint meetings. The evaluation form also had a portion where the
client could comment or give feedbacks to the researchers based on
the system. The form was enclosed in a sealed envelope and only the
mean scores from the three sprints were shared with the researchers.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The researchers gathered all of the comments during the interview
and made an analysis out of them. These comments help determine
the problem of the company. Moreover, the comments and
suggestions of the company helped the researchers determine what
system the cmopany needs. Listed in the table below are some of the
issues and comments that the client mentioned during the interview:
Table 1. Content Analysis
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT ISSUES
There were inconsistencies
found in the inventory records.
The company has a
difficult time
tracking the stocks
of the products in
the inventory as they
did not use product
codes.
The company has to
update the inventory
records from time to
time.
There product status were not
up to date.
SALES MANAGEMENT ISSUES
The sales records were not
accurate.
Since the company
is manually
encoding the data,
there were data
redundancies.
There were two
copies that they
have to update. One
copy is for the
General Manager,
and the other one is
for the Sales and
Operations
Director. If one
copy is not updated,
there will be
confusions between
the two records.
Sales and Inventory Records
are not affected once a
transaction is done.
The client has to
manually update the
sales and inventory
record if there is a
transaction.
Some information
are not consistent
such as the prices.
SECURITY ISSUES
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The records of the company
were not secured.
There was no
proper security with
regard to accessing
the confidential data
in the company as
they did not have a
system that would
be accessed by the
authorized users.
Based on Table 1, the major concern of the company was managing
their sales and inventory. One of the problems that Company XYZ
Co. experienced was having inconsistencies and outdated
information in their inventory records. Having inaccurate sales and
transactions records are also a problem. With this being said, the root
cause of these issues is the fact that all their data is manually encoded
in different locations. Hence, the employees always have to
communicate in order for them to align the data that they have. Aside
from this, there is no security and accuracy in their data such that
their records including transactions and sales can be accessible
through Microsoft Excel. In this case, the goal of the system is to
record the information of the company accurately in such a way that
all the data stored are updated and consistent.
In each sprint, the developers showed prototypes of their system to
the company to receive feedbacks and suggestions to improve the
system and fit the business process of the company. The tables below
are the rephrased requests and comments of the company for better
understanding:
In sprint 1, the company was pleased to see the progress of their
system. There were only few comments with regard to its
functionalities. Most of them were the feedback in the User Interface.
They also wanted the developers to use their actual data for them to
better appreciate the system. Lastly, they gave comments about the
sales and transactions of the system because it is the most crucial part
of the business process.
Table 2. Client Requests: Sprint 1
Client Response and Comments for Sprint 1
Comments about User Interface
1. The company was pleased with the color of the User
Interface. However, They wish to change the pictures
of medical tablets to vials.
2. The company wanted to include actual data of the
company in the database in order to simulate real
business processes
Comments about the Sales and Transaction portion
1. The company changed the mode of payments into
Cash on Delivery and Credit Card Payment.
2. The company specified two types of processes which
are delivery processed transactions and pickup
processed transaction
Comments about User Access
1. The company wanted salesperson to only view sales
records
Table 3. Client Requests: Sprint 2
Client Response and Comments for Sprint 2
Comments about User Interface
1. The company changed some of terminologies of the
system.
2. The company added more data in the different pages
of the system.
3. The company removed the TIN Number in the
principals table and profile picture in user profile.
Comments about User Access
1. The company changed to permissions of every
employee. They specified 5 types of Privileges.
Table 3 shows the comments and requests of the company during
the second sprint:. The company requested to have different
privileges that fits for each employee in the company. This is to make
sure that the integrity and security of data of the company will not be
compromised. The company showed more interest and collaboration
since the system is almost close to completion giving them more
possible way to make the software better.
The table 4 shows the comments and requests of the company during
the third sprint:
Table 4 shows the comments and requests for the company during
the third sprint. The developers were able to finish and show all of
the functionalities that the system has for the company. The client
was pleased that the system only needed polishing and refactoring.
Their main concern for the system during the 3rd sprint was the
permissions of all the users. It was still unclear and would need more
improvement
Table 4. Client Requests: Sprint 3
Client Response and Comments for Sprint 3
Comments about User Interface
1. The company wanted CSS for the whole system to be
fixed
Comments about User Access
1. The company said that the employees cannot edit their
profile except their password.
2. The company were confused with the permissions of
every employee and wanted to fix permission for all.
Based on the analysis above, The client was concerned more about
the accessibility of the users in the system. They specified what are
the only functionalities each user can only access so the security and
integrity of the data is not affected. Another concern they had is the
design of the system itself. The wanted to incorporate the
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terminologies they use so that it wouldn’t be hard for them to adjust.
Lastly, the company gave possible functionalities that the system may
have. According to Sommerville[1], customer feedback and
collaboration better suits the outcome of the system for the use of
the client. Moreover, it shows that the company is very interested in
using the system.
The figure 2 shows the software context diagram which shows who
are the actors that have the privilege to access the system:
Figure 2. Software Context Diagram
The class diagram below is the structure of the system that the
developers built for the company:
Figure 3. Class Diagram
The sequence diagram below shows the sequence of use when a
user wants to generate a sales report
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Figure 4. Generate a Sales Report
The user inputs the date intervals meaning the starting and ending
date of what they desire. The system processes the given information
to be able to retrieve the data in the database. The system then
process the information into something the user will be able to read.
When the user enters invalid dates, the system will notify that the
selected dates are wrong and will return an error statement
The sequence diagram below shows the sequence of use when a user
wants to generate an inventory status:
Figure 5. Generate an Inventory status
The user inputs the date intervals meaning the starting and ending
date of what they desire. The system processes the given
information to be able to retrieve the data in the database. The
system will then process the information into something the user
will be able to read. Moreover, the system will be summing up all
the products that the company has in stock and will be highlighting
products that are low in inventory. When the user enters invalid
dates, the system will notify that the selected dates are wrong and
will return an error statement
The table 5 shows the evaluation of the client towards the system.
This is to show how effective the system is for the use of the
company.
Table 5. Customer Evaluation of the System
EVALUATION OF THE SYSTEM
Criteria
USABILITY
The system is easy to learn and
use
The system’s appearance is
pleasant
DEPENDABILITY AND SECURITY
The system works reliably
without major issues
The client is confident that the
system is secure
EFFICIENCY
The system performs its
functions swiftly and
efficiently
ACCEPTABILITY
Presented functionality is
complete and according to the
clients request
The system has all the features
that the client needs
The client is convinced that
the system can be deployed in
the company
The table 6 shows the evaluation of the client towards the
researchers. This is to show the professionalism of the developers
towards the company.
Table 6. Customer Evaluation of the Researchers
EVALUATION OF RESEARCHERS
Criteria
Mean Score
Professionalism of the
researchers
5
Receptiveness of constructive
criticism and feedback
5
Competency
5
Resourcefulness
5
Adaptability
5
Clear communication
5
The developers were able to improve and create a better prototype
throughout the Sprints. They were able to incorporate the feedback
and changes received from the client, during the following sprints. At
the end of the third Sprint, the client was convinced that the system
can be deployed in the company and was pleased as the system’s
functionalities were complete according to her requests. According
to the client, the system was easy to use and also appeared to be
pleasant. The developers received positive feedback such as being
open to suggestions and possibilities that inspires the client to work
with the developers seriously on the system. In order to enhance the
developers progress on the development of the system, the client was
asked to assess the workmanship and progress of the system by
evaluating the developers after meetings
Through Agile, they were able to feel the pulse of their clients. By
having regular meetings, the motivation of clients being involved in
the development also increases. This can be measured through their
positive verbal and written feedbacks and good scores at the end of
every Sprint. Moreover, Agile process is the best approach to use in
developing this kind of system. Based on the analysis above, it is
evident that the client gives their requests during the evaluation. The
researcher and client would often have negotiation in terms of the
user specifications. In this case, Agile framework is necessary for the
researchers to have regular client collaboration in the system
development
The figures below shows the User Interface of the system
developed for company XYZ:
Figure 6. Shows the home page for the system
Figure 7. Shows the transactions in the system
Figure 8. Shows the inventory in the system
Figure 9. Shows the sales in the system
CONCLUSION
In conclusion, Software Engineering method and techniques are
necessary in software development. This engineering discipline
enabled the developers to produce a working system efficiently and
productively. Moreover, the researchers were able to identify the
client process issues which boils down to the mismanagement of the
sales and inventory data of the company. This leads to inefficiency,
inconsistency and inaccuracy. With this, the researchers were able to
propose a sales and inventory system for Company XYZ. This idea
was accepted by the client after discussing the proposal. In this case,
the researchers decided to build a system for the company using the
Agile Framework. This is to ensure that the client’s specifications are
met and that working software is able to respond to changing
requirements without excessive rework.
Furthermore, throughout the development process, the researchers
worked closely with their client. They were able to receive a positive
feedback from their client at the end of each sprint. The mean score
of the three sprints serves as a validation that their client was satisfied
with the overall functionalities and appearance of the system. The
researchers were able to improve and create a better prototype after
discussing and receiving feedbacks from their client. Moreover, by
involving their client throughout the system progress, and with the
help of weekly scrum meetings, the researchers, through the agile
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implementation, were able to deliver a Sales and Inventory System
that solves their client problems and through the evaluation and
collaboration we conclude that the client was satisfied with the
system deliverables.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The researchers would like to acknowledge their Mentors for the
knowledge they have given in preparation of the system namely Dr.
and Ms. Kimberly Vallesteros.
They would also like to acknowledge the peers and and friends on
lending their knowledge and insights about the proposed system.
Lastly, they would like to acknowledge God for the guidance and
perseverance He has given to them.
REFERENCES
[1] Ian Sommerville. 2015. Software engineering (tenth edition) 10th ed., Pearson
Education South Asia Pte Ltd.
[2] Anon. Qualitative Research Approach. Retrieved March 22, 2018 from
http://www.statisticssolutions.com/qualitative-research-approach.
Rafael C. Carandang is a 4th year Bachelor of Science in
Information Technology student at University of Asia and the
Pacific.
Gianen B. Cervales is a 4th year Bachelor of Science in Information
Technology student at University of Asia and the Pacific.
Nikita N. Rashinkar is a 4th year Bachelor of Science in
Information Technology student at University of Asia and the
Pacific.
Giuseppe Ng is a faculty member of the Department of
Information Science and Technology (IST) of the University of Asia
and the Pacific (UA&P), focusing on Computing and Software
Engineering. He finished his Masters of Science in Computer at De
La Salle University.
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Mark Anthony Sabili
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
  • Anon
Anon. Qualitative Research Approach. Retrieved March 22, 2018 from http://www.statisticssolutions.com/qualitative-research-approach.