Methodology Framework for Information Systems Development


Methodology Framework for Information Systems Development (MeFIS) is a framework for describing and analyzing information systems development methodologies. It has been developed as a result of multiyear research in the area of information systems development methodologies at the Prague University of Economics.
The reasons for this work were:
MeFIS is the tool for managing the information about general information systems development aspects (i.e. Methodologies). It also serves as a basic template for the definition of the information systems development aspects as well as for the specification of methodical differences for specific type of developed systems (Business Intelligence or ERP for instance).
The central point of the MeFIS is the “Methodology Framework for Information Systems Development – Conceptual Model” - MeFISCoM (see the figure below).

Methodology Framework for Information Systems Development Conceptual Model (MeFISCoM)

MeFISCoM is the conceptual model describing the basic concepts of the information systems development methodology and their basic mutual relations. As the information system – the product of the methodology use - is always the model of some real-world system, this conceptual model of the ISD methodology has strong features of a meta-model (it models modeling) and its convergence with other traditional meta-models (describing languages, methods, and techniques) is obvious.
MeFISCoM describes basic elements of the MeFIS together with their basic dependencies. It is modeled with the Class Diagram from the UML [17], what is the usual tool for meta-modeling (it is also the basis of the Meta Object Facility (MOF) [7]) and de-facto standard for the conceptual modeling. Bright classes in the model specify the contents of the general part of the methodology. Dark classes define the contents of the specific complements of the methodology which are necessary for describing the specificities of the given specific kind of the system. Such specific complements are defined here via the concept Domain. Each Domain specifies particular phases of the general methodology process and their steps which are relevant to the given domain (i.e. kind of the developed system) as well as the specific relevant Critical Success Factors, Principles, and Dimensions of the system. In addition it also defines the specific contents of each Dimension in the given Domain. Each Domain complements the general Methodology Framework with its specific Domain Practices and Task Patterns.
As it follows from the model each methodology in general have to specify the set of general phases. Regardless of the basic sequence of phases defined by the methodology (methodology is an ordered set of phases, according to the model), each phase have to define its predecessor and successor. This construction expresses the basic difference between the “main stream” of phases, defined by the logical ordering of main logical groups of activities (i.e. phases), and particular possibilities and/or necessities of mutual ordering of chosen phases given by specific type of methodology or problem, which is also one of important interests of a methodology.

Further information about MEFIS is presented in [Øepa, V.: Methodology Framework for Information Systems Development, CITSA 2004 Conference Paper, 2004].
More information about this, and related projects is accessible (only for contributors) at www pages [PanRepa Projects Infrastructure].
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CITSA 2004 Conference Presentation - MeFIS
CITSA 2004 Conference Presentation - Methodology Patterns
CITSA 2004 Conference Paper - MeFIS
CITSA 2004 Conference Paper - Methodology Patterns