Kool Kutz: Case Study


Kool Kutz is a hairdressing company with branches across the country. The company’s major difficulty of operation deals with the sharing of information in all departments’ especially financial, staffing, wages and salaries and customer appointment. Communication of this information has been through e-mail once a week.

Therefore, this situation presented a number of troubles. The process of communication is very lingering, and complicated to perform since to carry out the process only one person was assigned. Customers have changed their preferences and are probably due to lack of centralized recruitment and customer service standardization. The managing Director has realized the importance of centralizing the core activities.

Another problem was that computerized database system that was present was inadequate to support the data entry, storage, and referencing, so as to provide for data timeliness, accuracy, integrity and security. There was also no network available for more than one user to share data, applications and hardware so as to improve the efficiency and productivity of business processes. Lastly, all these matters increased lack of motivation in employees because of rising work load.

Information system requirement

In order to implementation a new system a sizeable number of people who work in the company will be cut down consequently cutting expenditures. The implementation plan is time structured to ensure speedy delivery of the services. The technical crew is qualified and can take the shortest time possible to put all the apparatus in place and in good working condition.

With the purchase of the required equipment and gadgets, the new system or the upgraded business environment will require the implementing staff to be on ground for a few days to teach the users of the new implemented system.

Network operating system i.e. Netware

  1. Purchase of new Pentium computers.
  2. Microsoft Windows operating systems and windows server.
  3. Computer processor of 2 GHz.
  4. Latest word processor.
  5. Highest resolution monitors i.e. 1024×768.

There will be a network of entire business entity which will enable the sharing of resources that is data and information. The management will be able to track the records and continual business transactions from every department.

In this study case, the Wide Area Network (WAN) will be used. The WAN is most prone to threats on or of its security for the reason that it is either connected to the internet or it is a connection of many LANs. Geographically, the Wide Area Network WAN is distributed nationally or internationally. The hard fact is, the more robust the network is, the more it is exposed to the threats to its security. The transmission of information between branches may include the following: wire pairs, fire optic cables, coaxial cables, satellite and even microwaves. The mention of this transmission media matters a lot in the context of WAN security whereby the inclusion of a firewall is determined by which media that may be used. In this WAN study case, any of the above mentioned transmission media can be used depending on the availability of any of the medium, the merits and the demerits of the medium to be used. For this WAN study case, three transmission media will be considered and one medium may be recommended due to its availability and its strength to prevent intrusion or its security. The transmission media must also be in a position to work with a firewall in harmony.

For this Wide Area Network study case, transmission media can be: Fiber optics, Coaxial cable and Satellite

The approach on Wide Area Network (WAN) firewall security is widely expensive but the best one when the securing data and information from many or various abuses e.g. when unauthorized people or users access it, data and information is not deleted, corrupted or stolen.

The Wide Area Network cab b e under threat in many ways, for example, unhappy employer may be posed to destroy, distort, delete or change data or information, accidental information or data deletion, theft, vandalism, unauthorized users, wear and tear and environmental damage like dampness. But for this study case, the worst security threat is from humans or hackers.

The measures are two; one, the use of firewalls and two, the use of user IDs and passwords and or the two combined. In the diagram below, the security of a network will be acknowledged and ensured.

The security of a network
Adapted from Guttman, Barbara; 1998.

The diagram depicts that if one wants to access data from another W/station he/ she has to go through firewall, router and the server.

Reasons for the new system

Due to the expansion of the business, the manual based method of performing its activities recording revenue, allocation of jobs , record keeping of various projects and other business activities became a problem and lead to the following tribulations:

  • The current manual system has too much paper work resulting into large cabinets of records. It takes a lot of time to retrieve information from this pool of papers.
  • The process of updating each record is tedious hence records lack consistency.
  • The current manual system does not offer any summary reports that can be used to aid in decision making
  • The current manual system does not offer any back-up services i.e. if something happened to the cabinet of files, then all information will be lost.
  • The current manual system has very poor security services as the cabinets are secured using just a padlock
  • The department of finance is experiencing more problems in controlling the funds to various projects.
  • Data duplication- This is where the information meant to be recorded for one transaction is recorded more than once leading to data redundancy
  • Erroneous data entry: Since the data is entered manually, cases of errors in the records were frequent especially in the finance department
  • Poor management and administration- This is very evident since the information produced by the current manual system is untimely and inaccurate duel to human error in manual computation hence cannot be used to make very accurate and timely decisions for administrative purposes example controlling projects.
  • High storage costs-Storage of data was done manually in files that were stored on shelves ended up hence increased purchase of more files and shelves(Earl M.J.; 1996).


The methodology used to develop this program is Structured Analysis and Design Methodology (SSADM). This method is best suited in developing large, high quality systems in the shortest time. I decided to use Structured System Analysis and Design Methodology because of the following reasons:

  • The method is easy to understand even for novice users.
  • It does not require many tools during system development hence its cheaper.
  • It involves users early enough in the development of the system.
  • The main aim of this system is to make the operations in the organization more effective and efficient.

The objectives of the new automated system are to:

  • Enable faster data into and out of the organization.
  • Make the data in the organization more secure against hackers and people who maliciously destroy them
  • Make the processing of payments within the company faster and reliable
  • Monitor all payments made

System Coding

This represents a variety of sample codes that have been used within the program.

Integration and Testing

Testing is an essential part of the system development playing a vital role in the realization of an operational system and cannot be ignored. It involves the execution of the program using varied test data with the aim of realizing errors in the system and to make the system run smoothly. The types of test I used were functional testing (black box) which looked into the functionality of the system and the structural (white box) testing which I used to check into the logical structure of the system. I finally used the bottom up testing beginning with the unit tests through to the integration testing and to the system test to check whether the system components could perform as a single unit(Adams, D.R, Powers M.J, Owles, V.H, 1985).

Justification of the Testing Techniques

I chose these testing techniques because of the following reasons:

Due to the inaccessibility to the variety and advanced testing tools, I chose this because of its cost effectiveness as it requires the Personal Computer with a monitor, mouse and a keyboard as its tools. The software required to run the non-executable codes of the system is Microsoft Visual studio. Bottom up testing enhances the testing in bits that is manageable and hence high chances of error detection.

Project plan

Configuration Management: Configuration management deals with “the development and use of standards and procedures for managing an evolving software system” Sommerville (2004). Requirement changes may take place during the development and operation of the system. So it is important to originate a consistent plan for the inclusion of such new requirements into the new system versions.

There are certain specific items that will be managed for the development of the stock inventory database, GUI and peer to peer network, which are as follows:

  1. Risk Plan.
  2. Project Budget.
  3. Feasibility Report.
  4. Requirements Specification Document.
  5. Logical Systems Design Specification.
  6. Test Plan (White box and Black box).
  7. Implementation Plan.
  8. User Documentation.
  9. Backup Plan.

Risk Management and Plan: To define Risk Management, Sommerville (2004) said “the process of identifying risks, assessing their severity, planning measures to put in place if the risks arise and monitoring the software and the software process for risks”. In this sense, risk must be identified, analyzed and dealt with by putting in place counter measures to deal with any potential threat to the project objectives. This fact of risk management is an essential matter for all projects as they can be vulnerable to potential risks.

So I have tried to identify all the possible threat and plan contingency to avoid and deal with possible risk factors. A risk plan is needed to be formulated to assist in such management of risks. The table below is an illustration of the risk plan that was used for the project. As seen, it clearly shows the type, nature, probability and impact of some potential risks together with strategies to deal with all identified threats.

Risk ID # Risk Item Category Probability Impact Avoidance Strategy
1 Staff turnover Human 50% 5 Present document to staff explaining that I am doing project that requires consistent data.
2 Absenteeism of staff Human 50% 4 Consult other staff or continue work on other aspects of project.
3 Budget going over limit Human/Organization 60% 4 Planning, organizing and monitoring accounting schemes for purchasing or items.
4 Management change Human 20% 9 Research and document management history.
5 Existing computer system(s) unavailable Technical 40% 7 Ensure systems secured in safe place. If Damaged, repair or purchase new system.
6 Requirements change Organization 40% 8 Implement change management policies, adapt to new changes.
7 Project size underestimated Human 50% 10 Dedicate more working hours to each remaining day
8 Priority change Human 40% 8 Constant contact with business, continue work on other aspects.

Figure: Risk Plan assimulated from Sommerville, 2004.

Implementation Plan: A parallel implementation strategy is to be used with single cutover. According to Adams, Powers and Owles (1985) “both systems are operated concurrently for some period of time.” Parallel implementation will be used as both current and new systems will be operated concurrently. This will be done to allow all users already trained in the manual system to continue using the current system until the new system has proved itself.

Technical Issues: Technical issues would deal with the necessary elements to be considered in order to develop the proposed systems. Furthermore, technical issues are broken down in hardware and software issues.

Project cost: The following was the project cost, clearly outlining the cost of each new component that was purchased:


Assembled PC 30,000 5 30,000
Windows XP operating system 10,000 5 10,000
Microsoft Office 2003 25,000 5 25,000
Macromedia Dream weaver 45,000 2 40,000
Floppy disk 30 10 90
Flash disk 1,800 1 1,800
CD-ROM’s 45 3 135
Digital Camera 16,000 1 16,000
Scanner 3,500 1 3,500
Notebook 100 2 200
Ball pens 20 4 100
Traveling expenses 8,000 1 8,000
Report Development 4,000 1 4,000
Presentation 3,000 1 3,000
Miscellaneous 4,000 1 4,000
Total 150,825

Feasibility Study: According to Kendall & Kendall (2002), a “feasibility study is used to gather broad data for the members of management that in turn enables them to make a decision on whether to proceed with a systems study.” In this sense, this section deals with providing management with a clear indication of the nature of the project in terms of business options, costs/benefits and return on investment. This section will form the basis of a feasibility report, which is expected to be used to initiate the project.

Business options: The Company’s perception is to recover cost and gain profits by computerizing the system to minimize processes so as to increase efficiency and effectiveness. This should capture the various activities taking place. In this case, the company would provide auto parts (mainly transmission parts) and accessories to public customers. Furthermore, the business would re-order stock when items reaches a certain re-order level. All stock must be reordered when it reaches its specified re-order level. Furthermore, all stock cards must have up-to-date stock level information.

Cost/Benefit Analysis: According to Powers, Adams and Mills (1984), cost/benefit analysis must ensure that “Identifiable benefits must equal (or preferably exceed) identifiable costs”. So each cost should be weighted against each benefit received.


No matter how much one tried to develop the system effectively and efficiently, there were setbacks worth mentioning that I encountered during my project development:

Inadequate allocation of time to the project development from its initiation to the completion

Understanding the specifications: Some of the specifications were not clear and ambiguous therefore hard to come up with a clear specification of the requirements.

Finite resources: I faced the problem of financial resources as I had limited sources of income and had to depend only on one source i.e. family which proved to be inadequate for developing the whole system.

Resistance from employees

Mitigations of the Challenges Encountered

From the above challenges faced, I had to develop a way of overcoming them to ensure that my project comes to a realization. The following are the decisions and actions I took to counteract the challenges:

Carrying out extensive information gathering through a variety of ways to ensure that I got the various information and views from all the stakeholders to ensure I come up with a clear specifications.

Asking for support from various sources that could assist me financially

The appropriate leadership style help in the implementation of change in Kool Kutz There are some of the leadership qualities for success.

Qualities of leadership to make it a success

Ability to inspire

Have conceptual skills and an impatience for results. All of these qualities are seem as essential ingredients in managing people within a turbulent context, where speed of delivery has assumed renewed meaning,. The softer human issues of management to not detract from the hard core issues associated with a business result orientation, they complement them in reality and give meaning to what could best be described as the “soul of the enterprise” or the passion of winning in a highly competitive global business environment. Changes in values, attitudes and behaviors cannot be effected by a decision taken in the boardroom or mandated in a memo as quoted DavenPort (1993) yet in practice it is these very behavioral issues that assume a vital role in formulating and implementing innovative strategies. The Kool Kutz as a company can manage his employees through the trauma of change and deal with their fears and concerns in the following ways:

  1. By bridging cultural gaps in bringing people from different international cultures together.
  2. By creating a winning corporate culture.
  3. By dealing with organization politics.
  4. By facilitating teamwork.
  5. By building relationships.
  6. By integrating technical and management skills and lastly by managing organizational learning (Davenport, 1993)

Intellectual capital

Above all, intellectual capital is deemed to be the life blood of much business institution operating in global markets. The company must be client centered service rendering, service excellence, ingeminate, innovation, and must be rapidly responsive all the time.

This approach is important to ensure that the focus is on the objectives to be achieved. The ‘how’ can be modified to respond to the particular circumstances. This ensures flexibility in the management of change. In answering the above questions, it is important to understand that change means:

  • moving from a solid present state to a new solid desired state through a period of transition
  • managing the politics involved in the change process.

Change involves crisis and opportunity

  • managing not only the planning, organizing, directing and controlling an organization but also the power struggles, strategic maneuvering and “cut throat” actions (Davenport ,1993).

The key strategy to facilitating adaptation to change is communication. This should be clear, timely, two-way and must have information and meaning. Management skills required to successfully manage change are:

  1. Analysis and identification of issues requiring solution through the change process. Determine the objectives and resultant changes;
  2. Formulation of strategies for achieving these objectives;
  3. Development and implementation of ways for gaining acceptance of the objectives and the means of achieving them. It is important that those involved in the change process and those affected by change are part of the change process. Successful management of change depends primarily on people management skills (Davenport 1993).


For proper communication a proper channel should be followed. One manager should be able to guide the other. If all the managers make decisions then confusion will arise in a company. It is required that the organization structure of the company to be reviled and clear lines of communication to be introduced. No formal communication forum existed in the company

Formal communications is very vital is a company set up. It eliminates feelings of isolation and insecurity and distress in management. So that production is maximized formal communication should be encouraged. So as to achieve a common goal all company employees should speak in one voice. By proper communication feelings of isolation and insecurity will be eliminated and trust in management will build up.

Principles of Effective Communication

Employees should have an opportunity to be listened to in order to have a good flow of information. The designer must ensure the information has the following principles;

  • Principle of clarity: Idea to be communicated should always be in common and easily understandable language, to allow the receiver to interpret it. There must be no ambiguity. The idea to be communicated must be very clear in the minds of the communicator.
  • Principle of attention: For the receiver to understand, he she must pay attention to what the source is saying.
  • Principle of consistency: Inconsistent messages always create chaos and confusion in the minds of the receiver. So communication should always be consistent with the plans, objectives, policies and programmes of the organization – not conflicting.
  • Principle of adequacy: Your communication should always be adequate – complete in all aspects because incomplete information delays actions and destroys understanding and relations.
  • Principle of integration: Communication is a means to an end and not an end in itself. It should promote co-operation among people at work in order for them to achieve organizational objectives are integrated with the organizational objectives.
  • Principle of timeliness and place: Information should be given at the right time. Any delays in communicating the messages will serve no purpose except to make mere historical documents as they lose their importance and effectiveness by the lapse of time (Llorito, David L, 2007).

Barriers to effective communication

There are a number of barriers to good communication in organizations. Some of the communication barriers can be grouped to different groups such as physical barriers, system designed, attitude barriers, organization culture barriers, physiological barriers and presentation of information. This barriers can destroy sharing of information in the organization and reduce profitability by de-motivating employees a de-motivated employee will feel that his job is not satisfying his needs thus he will reduce productivity. In this company in question there are a number of barriers to effective communication within the organization (Haas, John W. and Arnold, Christa L. 1995).

One of the barriers of communication that can be identified from the case study is a physical barrier. Such kind of arrangement makes communication difficult to employees who are not serious to good performance. Another barrier that has been identified as a source of poor communication in organization is organization culture. Organization culture has played an important role in ensuring flow of information is curtailed (Harris, Thomas E. 1993).

The last factor that I have identified towards effective communication is attitude of the seniors’ managers. The heads has a very difficult attitude towards professional management because he believes that he knows everything (Haas, John W. and Arnold, Christa L. 1995).


Coaching is like training people while mentoring is like being a role model and inspiring. This will be clear when we look at the types of roles played by leaders in implementing change.

Leaders as mentors (influencers)

Influencing Skills: This is an important skill which is necessary in a good leader, as it is important that we are able to influence others. People who lack the ability to influence tend to be in the background powerless and undervalued for their potential. This also impacts their decision making when faced with viewpoints of others. Influencing is an interpersonal skill which results from evaluation of the level of interactivity and assessment. Through this assessment one will learn about some of the main ways in which people can influence others and one also has an opportunity to review one’s own influencing styles. No one can effectively control the eventual outcome of the influencing process. It is totally dependent on the person concerned to determine whether to change their views in the direction. The assessment provides a clue into the factor that increases the probability that influence will occur. Influencing is about increasing potential probabilities (Lester, Richard I. 2007).

Influencing skills can be categorized under varying influencing styles and the score in the specific criteria will determine the level of influencing skill. There influencing styles are Being Assertive; Possessing Expertise, Using political Acumen, Undertaking thorough preparation, Giving high impact presentation and Being client centered. The score of 5 on the Being assertive indicates you are comfortable at influencing others by knowing what you want and voicing your requirement persuasively and persistently. You do not easily take a “no” for an answer. You are determined and have desire to aim for a winning position and you try your level best. You have inherent within you a set of personality attributes which make you comfortable as leader.

These qualities are a degree of boldness, energy to take action for change, persistence to pursue an issue diligently, a forceful style with both strength and weaknesses. Forcefulness can make a person persuasive and it aids assertiveness to a certain degree when situation demands. Resourcefulness is a trait which comes very handy for assertive role of an individual and helps him/her adapt to the situation and expectations of others. This also leads to clear and innovative ways to overcome setbacks and resistance (Lester, Richard I. ,2007).

The influencing style of possessing expertise indicates that you can influence others by your knowledge of your subject. The high score of 8 on this style indicates that you are influential because other people feel that your advice is reliable. It is acknowledged that you give sound advice and considered view on the area of your expertise. You also posses these qualities which are valued by people like technical competence, balance, communication skills and perception of needs. Your ability to use your depth of knowledge for objective and dispassionate view is considered an asset and valued by people. Your perception of the needs to adapt to the situation and effective communication skills to make complex and technical issues simple and presentable makes you a qualified expert in the field( Harris, Thomas E. 1993).

A Leader as coach

A moderate score of 6 on the political acumen provides an insight into your personality as someone who will influence others by lobbying, building networks and taking important roles. This allows you to reach the center stage where most decision is made. Your desire is to play a significant role in the decision making process. You are empowered with skills which can enhance in detecting power networks, building coalitions with others, developing arguments, winning arguments and obtaining significant support( Lester, Richard I. 2007).

A good score of 7 on the Undertaking Thorough Preparation is an indicator of the fact that you try to be well briefed and analyze situations in advance. A person who is thoroughly prepared is influential because their command of the situation earns respect. This implies that you possess a set of abilities like time to prepare, even when the everyday demand of time leaves little room for preparation. You consider potential opportunities to gain advantage in most uncompromising situations. “The effective influencer sees possibilities where other people do not even see a glimmer of hope.”(Woodcock and Francis,1998)

The good score of 7 on presentation impact implies that you influence others by conveying your views in a structured and persuasive manner. You impress people by your choice of words and the techniques which you use for communication. You are an effective presenter and you have mastery in these four key areas clear presentation, arguing a logical case, dealing with audience reaction and personal strength. Even though concept is hard to describe “charisma” is the term which is used to describe those who possess the quality of extraordinary degree (Lester, Richard I. 2007).

A good score of 7 on the style being client centered indicates that you are caring and understanding about your client’s needs and wants. You adapt and acquaint yourself to the needs of the people you interact with and seek to influence them by adapting your approach. You are motivated by your audience and thus seek relate effectively to your audience. As a client centered person you possess skills which make you influential, like listening, understanding others perspectives and direct relationships. Good listening skills establish communication channels and relationship of trust which is crucial in the process of influencing (Lester, Richard I. 2007).

People, who aim to influence, need to build on these styles and must probe, question and collect information. They need to understand the mental framework to interpret the needs of the others. One influencer understands how others think he /she can adapt the styles to greater effect (Haas, John W. and Arnold, Christa L. 1995).

Senior Manager Skills: These are another set of skills which help the directors, general managers and owners of business’s to evaluate their skills to enhance their position as the leaders of the organizations or business units. These skills are also necessary for the heads of Non-Profit organizations. These skills can be evaluated under four main criteria’s providing leadership, building positive relationship, designing high performing organizations and making effective decisions. These are the skills which deal with empowering others, to inquiring into problems and opportunities, building high performing teams, diagnosing organizational strengths and weaknesses, designing effective organizational processes, maintaining organizational flexibility, analyzing complex information, making decisive decisions, obtaining the support of opinion leaders, exploring business scenarios, developing a coherent vision and aligning the firm behind the vision.

These categories and subcategories mentioned above provide for dynamic leadership within an organization with the aim to progress. These require assessing strategic options, formulating a compelling vision and aligning the organization behind the vision. (Woodcock and Francis, 1998). The audit indicates in the self assessment that the scores are remarkably high for building high performance teams, maintaining organizational flexibility and analyzing complex information. This indicates strong senor manager skills based on the scores and ranking.

A leader is not made in a day, week or year; it is a lifelong process of self reflection, acquisition of knowledge, practice and learning. To be sensitive to change is very important criteria for becoming a leader. The scores provide compelling and specific evidence which provides a look into the leadership assessment. The Influencing skills and their scores since most them are above five indicate strong traits of influencing capacity and the high scores in specific areas of senior manager skill also reinforces the leadership trait inherent in the individual.

These figures are compelling as they tie to your personal purpose or what drives you or motivates you. They are specific as they include outcomes and are presented in well defined steps and activities which have to be completed within a timeframe. This provides with the evidence of progress….which is an indicator of when it is done and the result can be seen, heard and felt…with convincing outcome. The outcome should reflect a compelling and specific course of action fro enhancing the personal and leadership effectiveness (Lester, Richard I. 2007).


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Appendix – A

Questionnaire asked to employees

The rationale behind this questionnaire is to collect data relating to the nature of the business and its processes. All data collected will be analyzed and used in the project entitled, “The Development of an Information System to Support Management for Kool Kutz.” Furthermore, all data gathered will be kept confidential.


  1. How long have you been employed at the company?
  2. What is your job function?
  3. What tasks do you perform in carrying out your job function?
  4. On average, how many customers do you interact with on a daily basis?
  5. What type of services do customers usually demand the most throughout the year?
  6. What information is shared by other workers?
  7. What problems do you encounter when sharing information?
  8. On average, what is the total number of transactions you record on a daily basis?
  9. How long does it normally take to prepare reports?
  10. What type of computer user are you?
  11. What features would you like to have in the proposed computerized stock inventory database?

Appendix B


ID Task Name Duration Start Finish
1 Development of Proposal 52 Days 20-02-09 15-04-09
2 Target Selected Business 4 Days 22-02-09 25-02-09
3 Investigation of Business 9 Days 26-02-09 09-02-09
4 Documentation of Investigation 4 Days 04-03-09 07-03-09
6 Composition of Project Title 1 Day 08-03-09 08-03-09
7 Acquire Letter of Authorization 1 Day 09-03-09 09-03-09
8 Approval of Project 1 Day 10-03-09 10-03-09
9 Project Introduction 3 Days 11-03-09 13-03-09
10 Document Background of Organization 6 Days 14-03-09 19-03-09
11 Document Key Phrases of Project 1 Days 20-03-09 20-03-09
12 Document Objectives-Activities and Deliverables 8 Days 21-03-09 28-03-09
13 Document Relevance of Other Courses 1 Day 01-04-09 01-04-09
14 Document Required Resources 1 Day 02-04-09 02-04-09
15 Get All Possible References 2 Days 03-04-09 04-04-09
16 Document The Critical Success Factors 3 Days 05-04-09 07-04-09
17 Document Risk Assessment Factors 4 Days 08-04-09 11-04-09
18 Do Gantt Chart 2 Days 12-04-09 13-04-09
19 Do Work Breakdown Structure 1 Day 14-04-09 14-04-09
20 Finish Off Proposal 1 Day 15-04-09 15-04-09
21 Continue Research/Start Literature Review 10 Days 16-04-09 26-04-09

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