Software Engineering Problem

You are a software- engineering consultant. The chief information officer of a regional gasoline distribution corporation wants you to develop a software product that will carry out all the accounting functions of the company and provide online information to the head office staff regarding orders and inventory in the various company storage tanks. Computers are required for 21 accounting clerks, 15 order clerks, and 37 storage tank clerks. In addition, 14 managers need access to the data. The company is willing to pay $ 30,000 for the hardware and the software together and wants the complete software product in 4 weeks. What do you tell him? Bear in mind that your company wants his corporation’s business, no matter how unreasonable his request.

The key information seems to be:

Computers -> 21 accounting   clerks
                       15 order            clerks
                       37 storage tank clerks

14 managers need access to the data

Company pays $30,000

Product must be ready in 4 weeks

Company doesn't care about unreasonable requests

My question is: how do I solve this problem?
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Nancy McCulloughConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1. Create a plan that isolates the scope of your assignment with the company. Scope creep is a major issue in consulting, and you have to protect your time and money as well as theirs.

2. Cost everything out. How many computers, how much time will it take to create the program(s) needed, how much time will it take to install the program, etc. Separate the costs between software and hardware.

3. BEFORE programming, ensure that your plan meets the needs of the business. Have them sign off on what you are about to create for them

4. Build program, test and have company approve creation BEFORE installation.

5. Install, test, bill and get paid.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
You can not solve that problem.  Walk away.
Nancy McCulloughCommented:
This appears to be a question from a class. I don't believe I can answer this until I am assured by EE that this questions passes "GO!" with them. Sorry.
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JCW2Author Commented:
I'm not looking for the answer to this - I'm looking for how to deal with the problem.
Is this for a class?  If so, say so.  If not, what is the context?

Go online, What is the best deal you can get on 68 computers?
JCW2Author Commented:
Yes; this is for a class (book: Object Oriented and Classical Software Engineering, Chapter 1)
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Dealing with it is very simple.  You work up the costs and figure out whether you would make or lose money.  If you would lose money, you say "No thanks." and walk away.  One of the critical parts of any consulting or engineering business is to know when to turn down a customer, when to say No.  I run my business so that I can fire any one of my customers if I need to.
JCW2Author Commented:
Thank you for your help.
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