What and How clarification

> For the “what” are you asking for
> what will be the specific inputs and outputs of the system for instance in
> my project with “smart irrigation systems” for the input are you asking what
> will be the inputs for instance a sensor detecting a broken sprinkler or
> pipe along with the clients location and contact information?For the
> output, is it referring to what we will do once we have received the
> information from the sensors for instance would notifications be a form of
> an output ? Finally for the “how” part is this how this information will be
> send out and processed?

That is a good summary of the questions.

What – big picture, think of the information system as a “black box” – information goes in and different information come out. What is the objective of the system? What are you trying to accomplish?

How – describing the information “transformations” or processes. What is happening to the information inside the system? This may be a new way of thinking about information systems for many students. Think of it as a recipe or detailed directions. Computers aren’t very smart so they have to be told all the little steps to take the input and provide the desired output.

In your irrigation example – for “how” – what happens inside your information system when a broken sprinkler is detected? Think about the little steps to figure out what needs to be done.


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