Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

2 Requirements Analysis
Tasks and shortcomings were analyzed at an international chemicals group, to discover the support demands on a groupware system. Therefore we developed a special technique for analyzing tasks ( Luczak et al., 1999) to tailor the method to the characteristics of a chemical design processes. This approach focuses on the description of C3 processes (Communication, Cooperation and Coordination). It is based on the Unified Modeling Language (UML) with some specific extensions ( Booch et al., 1998).In scope of analyses structured interviews with five chemical engineers were carried out (age (x): 36 ≤ × ≤ 48 years, x + ̄ = 41, sx = 4.09; professional experience (y): 4 ≤ y ≤ 18 years, ȳ = 8.4, sy = 6.55). The interviews took about two hours each and started off with some questions on generic aspects of chemical design process. Within the task analysis the interviewees were then asked to develop the sequence of tasks of a past project from memory. They were supposed to arrange various graphical symbols (representing tasks, communication, information and tools) on a piece of paper, according to the logical sequence. Then, the designers were requested to show the weak points in their sequence. Finally the sequences were transferred to an electronic format and validated in a second meeting.Important results for the development of EVA:
Task analysis:
The personal assignment and the task oriented structure of the project arises from the hierarchical structure of the chemical plant.
Teams are created (and resolved) according to competence and availability of developers.
2 to 3 developers cooperate closely. These developers bridge the gap between theoretical modeling and practical evaluation (e.g. laboratory experiments) of a plant.
A larger group of developers (the whole team or a sub-team) focus on one aim in scope of their cooperation, that was defined before considering the structure of the project.
Cooperators (especially experts) get integrated into projects for a short while (1 to 6 month) disregarding their distance to the project team.
Use of different software tools (in-house, vendors, public domain) for modeling and simulation tasks. These tools are not integrated due to incompatible data formats.

Analysis of shortcomings:
Lack of information exchange between developers / departments.

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