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see the attached question doc

see the attached question doc
Prepare 1 page of review for each article No specific format (however, you are graduate students. show your professionalism) Should include brief summary, discussion, insights, implications to you, etc.  Prepare in a regular document format (e.g., doc, pdf). Do not compress (zip) the file. Please submit in a single file (two reviews in a document) Watch out for plagiarism. Please use your own words
see the attached question doc
The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 Contents lists available atScienceDirect The Journal of Systems & Software journal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/jss Integrating UX work with agile development through user stories: An action research study in a small software company AlisaAnanjeva ∗ ,JohnStoubyPersson,AndersBruun Aalborg University, Computer Science, Selma Lagerlöfs Vej 300, DK-9220 Aalborg Oest, Denmark a r t i c l e i n f o Article history: Received 19 December 2019 Received in revised form 1 July 2020 Accepted 12 August 2020 Available online 21 August 2020 Keywords: User experience Agile software development Action research User story Artifact a b s t r a c t The integration of user experience (UX) work with agile software development has been addressed in extensive research of challenges and process models. However, in-depth research of context-specific improvements of this integration with actual UX professionals and agile developers in their actual practice is limited. This study examines how the integration of UX work with agile development can be improved in the context of a small Danish Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company. We used the problem- and solution-oriented action research method over 12 months in the company. During this period, we initially carried out extensive participant observations, recorded 32 semi-structured interviews, and finally conducted two improvement iterations with evaluations of their effect on agility. We identified user stories as an essential indicator of UX integration. Verbose user stories imply problems in collaboration and trust, while concise user stories and deliberation improve integration of UX work with agile development. The conclusion is that integrating UX work with agile development in practice is complex, contextualized, and difficult even for only a small part of it. We propose that concise user stories and deliberation can be useful and well-defined focuses for integrating UX work with agile software development without sacrificing their agility. ©2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction During the last two decades, both agile development and user experience (UX) work have become standard practices in the software industry (Brhel et al.,2015;Bruun et al.,2018;Chilana et al.,2010;Larusdottir et al.,2017). Both domains strive to build quality software (Ferreira et al.,2011) and contribute to economic success in highly competitive markets (Brhel et al., 2015). However, agile development and UX work utilize different approaches, values, and views on what quality software isFer- reira et al.(2011),Larusdottir et al.(2017). Even though both domains are iterative, the rigor of UX up-front activities clashes with the rapidness of agile development (Larusdottir et al.,2017), which imposes a challenge for integrating UX with agile develop- ment (Chilana et al.,2010;Ferreira et al.,2011). UX integration has been an area of interest for the academic community for over a decade (Brhel et al.,2015) and has gen- erated numerous studies of processes, challenges, and success factors (Brhel et al.,2015;da Silva et al.,2013;Kuusinen et al., 2012). These studies are valuable in gaining an understanding of the current state of UX integration; however, they have captured only a glimpse of a practice, lacking an understanding of events ∗ Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: [email protected](A. Ananjeva),[email protected] (J.S. Persson),[email protected](A. Bruun). that have an effect on the transformation of a practice (Kashfi et al.,2019). One of the main challenges within UX integration is to build a common ground between UX professionals and agile develop- ers (Garcia et al.,2019). Artifacts, such as prototypes and user stories, aid the establishment of a common ground and a common understanding (Brhel et al.,2015;Garcia et al.,2019;Jones and Thoma,2019). Artifacts are boundary objects between UX pro- fessionals and agile developers, and are used during collaborative activities (da Silva et al.,2018;Garcia et al.,2019). Artifacts are therefore seen as a fundamental part of the software development process (Zaitsev et al.,2020). A user story is a popular artifact within software development (Lucassen et al.,2016). The user story method stems from agile discipline and is used to describe user values and needs (Cohn,2004). A user story is short, compre- hensible, and negotiable in order to mediate information to any kind of stakeholder regardless of their department, educational background, or technical insight (Cohn,2004). Thus, user stories are beneficial for the interdisciplinary work. Generalizable and rational solutions are not effective because these are rarely followed in practice due to local circumstances within each organization (Ferreira et al.,2011). Thus, UX integra- tion research needs a more nuanced view of how user stories can be useful in practice, which requires long-term studies (Kashfi et al.,2019) that emphasize the situated practice in which the issue of UX integration is embedded (Ferreira et al.,2011). A https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2020.110785 0164-1212/ ©2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 2 A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 case study, a prevalent research method used when studying UX integration with agile development, makes it difficult to uncover what aspect of a practice improves UX integration (da Silva et al., 2015). Thus, researchers ought to make interventions that are tailored for the local practice (Mckay and Marshall,2001). We contribute to the calls for research (Kashfi et al.,2019) with an action research (AR) study (Hayes,2011;Mckay and Mar- shall,2001) conducted in a small Danish Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company – ServiceSoft. Our aim was to determine how we can improve the integration of UX work with agile software development. The use of weimplies not only we as researchers but also the practitioners, thus emphasizing the collaborative nature of AR. The verb improverefers to change, which is a core principle of AR, to benefit practice and contribute to re- search (Mckay and Marshall,2001). Integration implies that we recognize UX and agile software development as distinct but mutually dependent practices and areas of research. Segregating them into two independent areas would undermine their in- terdependent relationship in making useful software (Detweiler, 2007;Ferreira et al.,2011). Thus, in this study, we as researchers collaborated with practitioners on making changes that improve the integration of UX work with agile software development while maintaining the distinctive strengths of the two practices. In the following, we first contextualize our study in related research. Afterward, we describe our AR approach to address our research question and the problematic situation in a specific com- pany, ServiceSoft. ServiceSoft is a pseudonym used throughout the article to ensure the anonymity of the company. In the find- ings section, we present our two interventions at ServiceSoft and note what consequences they had on the agility of its practice. Finally, we discuss the contribution of our findings, limitations, followed by a conclusion. 2. Related research In the following section, we appreciate the problem of UX integration in agile software development through related re- search. In Section2.2, we present user stories, and discuss artifact mediated communication as a possible solution to the problem of UX integration. 2.1. Integration of UX in agile software development Agile developers value rapidity, flexibility, adaptability, lean- ness, and customer-centricity (Conboy,2009;Persson et al.,2018). UX designers value in-depth up-front activities with a purpose of understanding the end-user and the context of use (Bruun et al.,2018;Larusdottir et al.,2017) and rigorous user evalua- tions (Brhel et al.,2015). Despite these differences, integration of UX with agile development is essential for introducing the users’ point-of-view in software development without under- mining their agility. We do not consider agility to be binary or something a company or a project group either is or is not. Agility is a dynamic continuum – a combination of independent and interdependent conditions – and is broadly understood as the ‘‘continual readiness of an ISD method to rapidly or inher- ently create change, proactively or reactively embrace change and learn from change while contributing to perceived customer value (economy, quality and simplicity) through its collective components and relationships with its environment’’ (Conboy, 2009, p. 340). The literature regarding UX integration is immense, and con- tributes to an understanding of the challenges, success factors, and best practices for merging the two domains. A majority of the research regards processes and techniques, which are more mature aspects of UX integration (Brhel et al.,2015). A Cycle Zero process (Sy,2007), also referred to as Sprint Zero (Wale- Kolade et al.,2014), is often purposed as a possible solution to UX integration (Brhel et al.,2015). Cycle Zero is a parallel and interwoven development process during which UX professionals work a sprint ahead of agile developers (Sy,2007). Little Design Up-Front (LDUF) is an agile adaptation of in-depth up-front ac- tivities (Kuusinen et al.,2012;da Silva et al.,2013). However, processes and techniques are rarely methodically followed in practice due to the highly contextualized nature of software development, which can make them ineffective (Fitzgerald,1997; da Silva et al.,2018). Rational plans and solutions (Ferreira et al., 2011) often do not consider organizational settings (Kashfi et al., 2019), nor communicative aspects (Brhel et al.,2015), of UX integration.Barksdale and McCrickard(2012) have argued that UX integration is a question of establishing a shared practice. However, there are multiple views on how to achieve such shared practice.Wale-Kolade et al.(2014) suggested that UX profes- sionals must have skills in front-end development, while other research (Bruun and Stage,2015) has suggested training agile developers in basic UX methods. Both approaches argued that obtaining skills of the other domain helps bridge the gap between the UX professionals and agile developers. In a comprehensive literature review of UX integration with agile development,Brhel et al.(2015) found a lack of research regarding collaborative aspects of UX integration which are im- portant for establishing a shared practice (Barksdale and Mc- Crickard,2012). Collaboration is important in the early stages of software development for creating a common understanding of the problem and detailing the design and implementation (Brown et al.,2011) to achieve a common goal (Barksdale and McCrickard, 2012). However, the complex and interdependent aspects of so- cial interactions require cognitive attributes regarding how a team learns and shares knowledge and best practices, as well as relational attributes concerning trust (Barksdale and McCrickard, 2012). Lack of trust can hinder the emergence of knowledge; if UX professionals ‘‘believe that sharing practices with agile software developers will be used against them in some way, they may be less inclined to share that knowledge’’ (Barksdale and McCrickard,2012, p. 68). The issue of trust goes both ways; the agile developers also tend to distrust UX practices (Barksdale and McCrickard,2012;Bruun et al.,2018;Chilana et al.,2010). To obtain mutual trust both domains must be willing to compromise, learn, and share knowledge (Barksdale and McCrickard,2012; Wale-Kolade et al.,2014). When sharing information, written specifications and requirements cannot stand alone (Cohn,2004). Verbal communication is required in order to efficiently share new knowledge (Cohn,2004;Melnik and Maurer,2004). Thus, in order to obtain mutual trust, verbal communication is essential. Sketches, mock-ups, prototypes, and user stories are central means of communication for UX professionals and agile develop- ers (Brhel et al.,2015;Garcia et al.,2019). These artifacts facilitate communication and support collaboration between the two do- mains (Brown et al.,2011;Garcia et al.,2019;Paay et al.,2009) and help teams to reach an agreement regarding a product (da Silva et al.,2018). In the early stages of software development, artifacts are fundamental to support information sharing, focus the ideation process (Brhel et al.,2015;Brown et al.,2011;Garcia et al.,2019), and achieve a common understanding of a prob- lem (Brown et al.,2011). However, there is a scarcity of studies that examine whether artifacts facilitate emergence of mutual trust between the two domains in practice (Garcia et al.,2019), which has been established as one of the key factors that posi- tively affects integration of UX with agile development (Barksdale and McCrickard,2012). A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 3 2.2. User stories A user story is a method to describe the functionality of a soft- ware, with an emphasis on user values and needs (Cohn,2004) and stems from the domain of agile software development. A user story is often written in the format ‘‘As a [type of user], I want [some goal] so that[some reason] ’’. The aim is to keep the story short and comprehensible to any stakeholder involved, which makes a user story a link among different types of stakeholders, regardless of department, educational background, or technical insight. Thus, this format enables dissemination of knowledge between UX professionals and agile developers. User stories consist of three dimensions: card, conversation, and confirmation (Cohn,2004). The research on user stories most often involves the artifact – the card– focusing on syn- tax, semantics, and the pragmatic properties of the user sto- ries (Brhel et al.,2015;Lucassen et al.,2015), that is, the user story evaluation tool INVEST, which supposes that a good user story is Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimatable, Small and Testable (Lucassen et al.,2015,2016), and user story tem- plates (Lucassen et al.,2015). The confirmationis also a frequently mentioned dimension; it is deemed to further the integration of UX with agile development when used as an evaluative tool, for instance, during usability testing (da Silva et al.,2013;Peres et al., 2014) or acceptance tests (Cohn,2004;Lucassen et al.,2015). The conversation , however, is mostly overlooked by the academic community. Even though it has been established that artifacts support collaboration (Garcia et al.,2019) and coordination (Za- itsev et al.,2020), few studies have been conducted regarding how a card or an artifact should further a collaborative practice between the two domains and how it contributes to emergence of mutual trust.Lucassen et al.(2016) studied the effectiveness of user stories in practice, and found that practitioners experience that user stories further a common understanding of the require- ment, which consequently leads to the development of the right software. However, they do not describe how the process of the conversation furthers the collaboration and how the knowledge is being spread. We address the identified research shortcomings through AR in a small software company, ServiceSoft, as detailed in the following section. 3. Methodology To further our understanding of how we can improve the integration of UX work with agile software development, we used an AR method in ‘‘the seeking of solutions or improvements to ‘real-life’ practical problem situations’’ (Mckay and Marshall, 2001, p. 47). AR is a problem- and solution-oriented method of initiating a sustainable change that emphasizes both theory and practice with the objective to apply, as well as add to, the existing body of knowledge (Mckay and Marshall,2001), in this case on the integration of UX with agile software development. Following an iterative process encouraging relevance in a situated practice (Avison et al.,1999;Mckay and Marshall,2001), we collaborated with ServiceSoft, a Danish SaaS company, over 12 months. As stated byFerreira et al.(2011, p. 972) ‘‘[o]nly an examination of the values and assumptions within their organi- zational setting brings an understanding of how [practitioners] work and why’’. AR focuses on understanding ’’what the practi- tioners do, not what they say they do’’ (Avison et al.,1999, p. 96) and on real-life problems to avoid ‘‘the potential separation of research and practice’’ (Mckay and Marshall,2001, p. 48). The first author carried out participant observations and ad hocconver- sations, and recorded 32 semi-structured interviews (Myers and Newman,2007) to collaboratively formulate the problem (Nielsen and Persson,2016) of UX integration with ServiceSoft. Research activities are elaborated in Section3.2Moreover, we conducted two problem-solving cycles involving ServiceSoft employees and managers to ensure relevance and collaborative learning of the situation. 3.1. The company — ServiceSoft ServiceSoft is a small Danish SaaS company which creates cloud-based software for meeting and workplace management. The most popular product is a Microsoft Outlook (Microsoft, Redmond, WA, USA) add-in. This Outlook add-in enables users to find all relevant resources, such as meeting rooms and hot desks, across locations and time zones. It also indicates their status at the time of the meeting and displays available facilities at the site. At the time of the study, the company had six meeting and workplace management software products and an app under development. The company has two locations with their main office in Den- mark, and a smaller office in Boston, Massachusetts in the USA with a total of 28 employees in the two locations. The mission, as well as the vision, of the company is to revolutionize workspace and enable a modern workplace environment. At the time of the study, the company had over 150 enterprise customers and more than 200,000 active users worldwide. ServiceSoft has var- ious user groups such as secretaries, canteen employees, and administrative staff. In order to accommodate the broad needs of enterprise customers, each product is customized for each group. This requires an in-depth understanding of each group and its activities. The responsibility for product development is distributed between two teams: the product team (PT), which is responsible for the UX work, and the development team (DT), which represents agile software development. The study was conducted at the main office, where the PT and the DT are located. At the time of the study, the DT had four developers, who describe themselves as generalists, even though they all have areas of expertise and specific responsibilities (e.g. front-end or back- end development). The head of development is a former senior developer at ServiceSoft. He became head of development due to his fifteen years’ experience with the integration of agile devel- opment processes, and he is in charge of agile transformation. His responsibilities involve dissemination of agile values throughout the DT and adaptation of Scrum (Schwaber and Beedle,2002), which is a popular agile project framework (Larusdottir et al., 2017). At the beginning of the study, the product manager was re- sponsible for most of the PT’s activities. However, to make the product more user-centered, the PT was expanded to four mem- bers: product owner, product manager, a user on-boarding spe- cialist, and product expert. All members of the PT have an exten- sive knowledge regarding the domain, customers, end users, and have an insight into business development. The PT follows Scrum principles initiated by the DT, and use an adjusted version of Cycle Zero (Sy,2007). They are responsible for the up-front activities, such as understanding the user, obtaining domain knowledge, information hierarchy, some visual design, development of user stories, and testing software. The PT aspires to carry out field work in order to meet the users in their working environment, and get insights directly from the users. However, due to a lack of resources, field work is not always possible in the context of ServiceSoft. Therefore, in order to carry out the UX work, the PT communicates with other departments, such as Marketing and Customer Success Management (CSM). The PT mostly collabo- rates with the DT, regarding technical limitations and possibilities for what is possible to implement. The DT and the PT share information through Azure DevOps (Microsoft, Redmond, WA, 4 A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 USA) which is an agile development management tool. Further- more, the PT has an intermediary role in making sure that all departments know of new features, new products, their busi- ness value, and what customer problems are being solved and how. Communicating with the different departments, gathering and disseminating the same information many times without compromising it is a challenging for the PT. Thus, the PT is not only required to collaborate and communicate with the DT while sustaining its agility, but also to enable the other departments to do their job. ServiceSoft’s transformation towards becoming agile and user- centered, considering that both domains have been recently es- tablished, makes it an interesting setting for studying how to improve the integration of UX work with agile software devel- opment. AR theory (Mckay and Marshall,2001) states that the improvement of a problem situation requires a targeted inter- vention based on an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and real-world context in which the problem occurs. In the fol- lowing section, we describe our research activities and how these contributed to our understanding of the problem situation. 3.2. Research activities To gain an in-depth understanding of the problem situation at ServiceSoft, the first author conducted participant observa- tions (Lazar et al.,2017). The first author participated in the day-to-day activities of the PT from August to December, 2018. During that time, she was able to gain firsthand experience work- ing with both the PT and the DT (seeFig.1). The first author had multiple ad hoc conversations with both the PT and the DT and also recorded 32 semi-structured interviews in accordance with the guidelines described inMyers and Newman(2007). The 32 recorded interviews were distributed between all four developers, head of development, and three PT members (see Fig.1) During the study, sections of the interviews that are rele- vant to the research question were selectively transcribed (McLel- lan et al.,2003). We used the selectively transcribed interviews to capture, and substantiate, breakdowns (astonishment or myster- ies) in our understanding of the problem situation (Brinkmann, 2014). An example of this approach occurred during the first inter- vention; the product manager shared how she felt when the DT responded to a user story (see Section4.2). We captured this breakdown with the quote: “you tell me this, but yet I don’t believe you and I will challenge you no matter what you say’’. (Product Manager). Through this statement, we found that a user story is not just a representation of user needs, it is also a UX professional’s work and pride. Similar to this example, every breakdown nuanced our understanding of the problem and the solution, which guided our inquiry. The aim of the inquiry with the semi-structured interviews was decided in biweekly debriefings (Spall,1998) with the second and third authors. The interview data were used as a shared point of reference between the authors in substantiating the first author’s observations and experiences at ServiceSoft. The first author is a Master of Science in Informatics focusing on Computer Science, Software Engineering and Communication studies. The second author is an associate professor in Computer Science with experience in conducting qualitative studies and action research of agile software development over the past 10 years. The third author has a prior experience working as a UX professional, and his current research concerns theoretical, methodological, and practical aspects of UX. Both the second and the third authors contributed with an in-depth knowledge, and experience, in re- gards to agile software development, User Experience practice, and integration of both domains. Together we identified collabo- rative issues between the UX professionals and agile developers at ServiceSoft. By studying the two domains as two separate but interconnected entities we inquired as to how the two domains perceive themselves and each other, and how they collaborate in order to understand the problem situation. Furthermore, to de- termine a potential contribution to the academic community and to identify a problem-solving approach, we related the problem situation to the existing body of knowledge. Our initial understanding of the problem situation was that the DT lacked user understanding, and the PT was overworked by time-consuming up-front activities (seeFig.1). Initially, Service- Soft was interested in this intervention, however, due to a lack of resources and a direct access to the end user this intervention was found to be unattainable. We pivoted our study focusing on what is actionable in the context of the company. Eventually we deter- mined that the collaborative issues were particularly manifest in their use of the user story method (seeFig.1) as elaborated in the section on our findings. The PT developed verbose user stories, which was in opposition to the agile value of less documentation and more frequent communication (Cohn,2004;Conboy,2009) between the two domains. In the context of ServiceSoft, verbose user stories, albeit an artifact, limited the conversation dimen- sion of a user story, thus reducing collaboration and knowledge dissemination between the two domains. To initiate change and solve the problem situation of UX integration with agile development, we initiated a targeted in- tervention which was based on the established knowledge that a user story must be concise (Cohn,2004). Through two itera- tions (seeFig.1), we were able to initiate change at ServiceSoft and acquire knowledge on how an improvement can be intro- duced for UX integration without undermining the agility of the software development practice. Agility is undermined when time- consuming UX work, for instance, rigorous up-front activities and usability evaluations, hinders the rapidness of agile software development practice (Larusdottir et al.,2017). However, UX activities are important in order to ensure that actual user experi- ences become an integrated part of the development process. It is essential to integrate UX work with agile software development, without undermining the agility of both the UX and the software development practices (Persson et al.,2018). We evaluated the impact of our intervention on the agility of the development prac- tice according to Conboy’s (2009, p. 341) three-point taxonomy of agility. First, to be agile, a method component mustcontribute to one or more of the following: (i) creation of change, (ii) proaction in advance of change, (iii) reaction to change, and (iv) learning from change. Second, to be agile, a method component must contribute to one or more of the following and must not detract from any: (i) perceived economy, (ii) perceived quality, and (iii) perceived simplicity. Third, to be agile, a method component must be continually ready, that is, requiring minimal time and cost to prepare the component for use. Conboy’s taxonomy of agility is used to analyze the agility of the software development practice and the UX work (Persson et al.,2018). 4. Findings In this section, we present the problem situation at ServiceSoft and our two interventions to improve the integration of UX work with their agile software development. 4.1. The problem situation at ServiceSoft – Verbose user stories In January 2019, ServiceSoft set the goal of making their prod- uct more user-centered, while the DT initiated an agile trans- formation towards less documentation and more incremental software development. These changes limited the up-front ac- tivities of the PT. However, the DT started to experience the A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 5Fig. 1. Research activities throughout the AR study. situation as they were ‘‘doing the product team’s job’’, while the PT ‘‘could not understand that things were not properly deliv- ered’’. The DT became resistant to making changes in the product to avoid wasteful work , which manifested a distrust towards the PT and their activities. The DT began to question the validity of the presented user stories, and multiple user stories were being dismissed. When the PT experienced this distrust towards their professional competences, they started to use a lot of time on writing long and elaborate user stories to increase their credibil- ity. Verbose user stories became the PT’s shield to protect them from the DT. I really feel sometimes that I have to go in front of the lions. [You] would be eaten alive if you are not saying the right thing, if you are not communicating in a right way, if you do not have exactly your value proposition on point, and if you cannot argue precisely and very short then it can be very, very scary to actually come and try to discuss these user stories. That might also be a reason for why I need to prepare myself so much. It might be overdone sometimes. [User On-boarding Specialist – PT] The user on-boarding specialist describes a stressful environment where there is no room for mistakes or ambiguity. She describes the DT as ‘‘lions’’ ready to tear a user story apart. The user on- boarding specialist writes verbose user stories to protect herself and a user story — even ‘‘overdone sometimes’’ in reference to its length. A PT member writes a verbose user story in a close collaboration with the CSM team. The CSM team has a direct access to the end users and their feedback, concerns, wishes and experiences with the product. A PT member applies these insights when creating a verbose user story. The process of writing a verbose user story takes place weeks prior to its delivery and usually contains context descriptions, possible solutions, ideas, and known limitations. However, the DT regarded such possible solutions, ideas, and limitations as final. Both teams were un- aware of each other’s challenges, which undermined the teams’ ability to empathize with each other. The DT felt that the PT took ownership over howa product must be developed and not only what must be done and why. It is a quite important distinction. Because, if you own ‘‘what’’, then you decide what the product should do, but how much of the ‘‘how’’ should you own? Because, we believe that we should own ‘‘how’’, but ‘‘how’’ can have some UX implications. Because, we can say that this is the smartest way of solving a task, however, if it does not fit the flow of the product then we have a problem. At the same time, it is an issue if the Product Team owns ‘‘how’’, because they can think of a solution that simply cannot be done. We are bound by technological limitations. [Front-end Developer – DT]The developer acknowledges that the ownership of ‘‘how’’ is important for both teams. The DT and the PT members preferred clear responsibilities. They did not consider joint ownership of how a product must be developed as a possibility. Both teams de- fended their ownership of ‘‘how’’ the product must be developed. Against this backdrop, the head of development and the product manager introduced grooming sessionsmeant to be a creative outlet and a collaborative tool to involve both the DT and the PT in the exploratory activities. However, power struggles over how, invoked by verbose user stories, became more evident during the grooming sessions due to, at times, heated discussions regarding solutions or semantics: Once [during a grooming session] I had a question regarding something I was confused about, something about a naming. To my question I got a response ‘‘What do you think?’’ My pulse was 120, because I thought that it was disrespectful, and I do not have time for this kind of nonsense. I asked the question for a reason. It was not a rhetorical question. And I wanted to say ‘‘What do YOU think?’’ If I ask a question, it is because I do not know the answer, and I do not expect to get that kind of response back. This is where it has been a challenge for me, that there has not been room for exploration. There has not been room for those who do not understand a problem 100%. They are not invited. Because, when you ask a question, people start to roll their eyes. You attend these grooming sessions with the feeling that one or two people are more or less allowed to decide how to do it. And I think this is a huge problem. [Front-end Developer – DT] The developer experienced being excluded due to lack of knowl- edge, which reinforced defensive behavior. Defensive behavior often occurs during collaboration between the two teams. Both the PT and the DT were aware of the need for collaboration. How- ever, defensive behavior obstructs the dissemination of knowl- edge and the advancement of a collaborative practice. Both teams ‘‘have been talking about collaboration’’ and ‘‘there being a col- laboration’’, nevertheless ‘‘there really has (not) been much col- laboration’’ (Back-end Developer – DT). The back-end developer presented the main challenge that ServiceSoft experienced while integrating UX work with agile software development. Despite targeted actions, ServiceSoft was unable to improve the collabora- tion between the two teams. The defensive attitudes of the PT and the DT, albeit due to different reasons, resulted in unsuccessful discussions concerning the DT and the PT and how they ought to collaborate. Both teams promoted their own agenda, and disre- garded the values that the other team represented. The back-end developer stated that ‘‘We do not involve them, and they do not involve us’’, suggesting an ‘‘Us vs. Them’’ culture. In the context of ServiceSoft, successful integration of UX work would require trust 6 A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 between the two domains, discontinuation of defensive behavior, and a joint ownership of how a product must be developed. The situation called for concise user stories to establish constructive communication and to rebuild the trust between the two teams. At ServiceSoft, verbose user stories were an indicator of deeply rooted collaborative and communicative issues. The DT distrusted the rigor of the PT’s work and feared changes that would not create value; therefore, it questioned each user story. The PT referred to the verbose user stories instead of facing the ‘‘lions’’. Verbose user stories became a wall that limited mutual trust and knowledge sharing. Thus, verbose user stories sustained a vicious cycle of defensive behavior and erroneous assumptions regarding the user and the technical options. To evaluate the agility of the practice at ServiceSoft, we used Conboy’s three-point taxonomy of agility (Conboy,2009). First, verbose user stories that were written weeks in advance and rarely changed impeded ServiceSoft’s ability to react to change despite being in a fast-changing market environment. Second, it took long time to write the verbose user stories, which made the process of information sharing expensive. Third, because pro- ducing verbose user stories was time-consuming they were not continually ready to be utilized when needed because the process was ineffective and inefficient for the establishment of what had be done and how. Thus, in the context of ServiceSoft, verbose user stories hindered the agility of software development. To address the identified challenges and create a change within ServiceSoft, we initiated our first intervention to improve integration of UX work with agile software development. 4.2. First intervention — Concise user stories To initiate change, we started with the product manager be- cause she wrote most of the user stories and held a position of power in the PT. The product manager is a key person. She initiates workshops, process changes and has every-day contact with both the PT and the DT. She is a mediator between the two domains. We chose to speak with a key stakeholder because it increases the success rate for any future interventions due to her position of power (Schaffer,2004). The purpose of the intervention was to shift the product manager’s perception of how user stories should be applied in the agile environment — as conversation starters rather than specifications. 4.2.1. Twenty more sentences We initiated the intervention by presenting the problem situa- tion and confirmed the issue of verbose user stories. Afterwards, we presented the possible solution — concise user stories. The argument was that concise user stories would encourage sharing of tacit knowledge, thus minimizing the risk of a product being developed based on the erroneous assumptions, because the PT would be able to invalidate them through conversation. Initially, the product manager’s response to this approach was positive. She commented as follows: Oh, that is interesting. Because I have gotten so many user stories back because guys say, ‘‘This is not specific enough, I don’t know what this is’’. Okay fine, I will specify it with 20 more sentences for you. [Product Manager – PT] When coming across a communicative barrier (e.g., a member of the DT not understanding the full scope of a user story), the product manager chose to write, rather than communicate verbally. The overall process of information sharing was affected by this preference towards written communication. While the agile manifesto promotes the principle of face-to-face communi- cation, UX work does not imply a particular method for conveying information. 4.2.2. I will challenge you no matter what you say The product manager remained unconvinced that concise user stories were applicable in the context of ServiceSoft. I see the point. And it sounds like a nice method. However, since the motivation for it is to make developers ask questions, or to inspire them to ask questions. However, instead of asking questions about the user, they actually question the whole user story, and that I don’t think is knowledge sharing, that is more ‘‘You tell me this, but yet I don’t believe you and I will challenge you no matter what you say’’. [Product Manager – PT] The product manager experienced the DT’s distrust of the user stories as criticism towards her work rather than exploration. The product manager felt that she had to act cautiously to guard against unconstructive criticism from the DT. Thus, she used verbose user stories as a shield to protect herself and the sto- ries from the DT’s criticism, sustaining the defensive behavior that undermined the agility. She dismissed the idea of concise user stories, believing that ‘‘the more precise you get, the better results come out of it’’ (Product Manager – PT). The product manager experiences that verbose user stories lead to ‘‘fewer questions, meaning less resistance to actually take up the user story’’ (Product Manager – PT). The situation, which is described by the product manager, fits with Cohn’s description of a poor practice. When a developer believes that a story card reflects all the details of a story, then ‘‘there’s no further need to discuss the story’’ (Cohn,2004, p. 20). However, the product manager associated successful information sharing – ‘‘better results’’ – with fewer questions and less argumentation. While the product manager rejected our intervention, we still found her resistance to concise user stories enlightening. We found that preferences towards written communication and pro- fessional pride are also influencing the problem situation. Our conclusion was that we needed to involve both the PT and the DT because the problem situation required engagement from both teams — not only the product manager. Therefore, the second intervention addressed both teams to shift their current collab- orative practice from verbose user stories towards concise user stories. 4.3. Second intervention — Deliberation on user stories The second intervention at ServiceSoft involved both the DT and the PT in a workshop. Three PT members and five DT mem- bers participated. The workshop had the overall goal of initiating reflective conversation regarding the current problem situation with user stories and propose a solution. 4.3.1. In love with the product We started out by presenting the problem situation; how the user story method is applied in the context of Service-Soft, how it affects collaboration, and how it could be applied. Both the PT and the DT recognized that knowledge sharing was challenging because ‘‘it is difficult to be aware of things you know’’ (Product Expert – PT). Even the product manager was open to the proposed change towards more concise user stories, and expressed that she would like ‘‘to see whether it (read concise user story) could be a better solution’’. During the first intervention, the product manager was convinced that verbose user stories contributed to acceptance of a presented user story, while concise user stories lead to doubt and disbelief. Nevertheless, she expressed eagerness to try the recommended approach to concise user stories and reciprocal communication. The product manager highlights the issue of not being in love with the problem as a fundamental issue of UX integration in the ServiceSoft context: A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 7 We should fall in love with the problem (read user story) and not with the solution (read product). I think that we get too attached to the solution and almost try to falsify the problem. [W]e have destroyed many user stories by falsifying them. [Product Manager – PT] The product manager argued that the DT and the PT were ‘‘in love’’ with the product, which led to occasional invalidations of user stories. The PT and the DT were not only defensive towards each other but also towards the users. They undermined the severity of the problem and argued against the user’s needs in order to defend the product. Thus, the issue was not only between the PT and the DT, but also impacted the end user. Both the PT and the DT agreed that ‘‘there should not be such a thing as falsifying a problem’’, and simply stating that ‘‘the users should know better’’ is not a solution (Product Manager – PT). 4.3.2. We are all in this together The product manager emphasized that they had a common goal and shared the responsibility of reaching this goal together, as she noted: We are just two teams. There are other teams in the organization, and they are all responsible for the user story, every single one of us. We all have the solution to the problem; it is both of those things. We are all in this together. [Product Manager – PT] The product manager stated that the entire ServiceSoft organiza- tion was responsible for a user story. Thus, integration of UX was not only a question of merging two conflicting domains; it was an organizational transformation. 4.3.3. The verbal part that needs to be there After the presentation, we asked the PT and the DT to reflect on good experiences in their collaboration. Both the PT and the DT agreed that good collaboration implies ‘‘open-mindedness’’ and ‘‘keeping ego out of the equation’’. We found, that in order to encourage a good collaborative practice, both the PT and the DT need to ‘‘find a solution together’’ (User On-boarding Special- ist – PT), ‘‘understand each other’’ (Front-end Developer – DT), and be willing to ‘‘change one’s mind’’ (Back-end Developer – DT). The product manager noted that open-mindedness coincided with an ability to reach a common agreement on the basis of a conversation, and emphasized a need for an “environment where we all got a common agreement on what we are looking at’’ (Product Manager – PT). The PT and the DT’s willingness to accept each other’s differences and compromise was the way of best addressing the issue of the verbose user stories becoming a wall between them. ServiceSoft was striving for a deliberative practice; however, they were unable to create the environment that supported de- liberation. Therefore, through the workshop on the sensitive topic of collaboration, we established how deliberation could be sup- ported in the context of ServiceSoft. An open and reflective con- versation concerning the collaborative issues resulted in a com- mon agreement regarding the actionable outcome of the work- shop: [Head of Development — DT]: The actionable outcome here, am I correct here that we are going to try to ignore or limit descriptions in user stories, to avoid biases and assumptions to see how that goes? [Product Manager – PT]: Yes. [Front-end Developer – DT]: And then, of course, the verbal part that needs to be there for us to be effective. So, make the descrip- tions more open. [Conversation between the workshop participants] The head of development presented the changes that would be implemented, both PT must ‘‘try to ignore or limit descriptions in user stories” in order “to avoid biases and assumptions to see how that goes’’. The product manager was going to facili- tate these changes because she wrote the majority of the user stories. Therefore, it was important that the product manager was engaged in the process of change, which she had expressed multiple times during the workshop by stating that she is ‘‘up for trying something else’’ (Product Manager – PT). The front-end developer highlighted the verbal communication as a tool which might assist an accomplishment of these changes. Thus, through the process of deliberation, we were able to initiate change, which might lead to an improved integration of UX work with agile software development in the context of ServiceSoft. 4.3.4. A workshop about how to have a workshop Two months after the workshop, we did two follow-up inter- views with the product manager and the head of development to evaluate how the change affected the integration of UX work from the standpoint of agility (Conboy,2009). Both the product manager and the head of development stated that ServiceSoft was in the process of eliminating verbose user stories, but had not yet succeeded. During the workshop, the core issues had been vocalized, but they were not easily solved in their daily practice. Therefore, ServiceSoft focused on solving the underlying collaborative issues. In the past two months people are more willing to stand up and show initiative and cooperate. We agree that maybe ‘‘my way is not the best way’’. My own attitude has changed — the way I deliver the message. But I have not cracked it (read user story) yet. We have discussions, and are talking about how we should communicate. We had a workshop about how to have a workshop, and how to make the two teams work better together. [Product Manager – PT] Management now strives for emergence of trust between the two teams. They involve relevant stakeholders from both teams to negotiate how collaboration between the PT and the DT should be cultivated. Even though ServiceSoft was not able to com- pletely eliminate verbose user stories, they adopted a deliberative practice towards making them more concise. Management has ‘‘created a space where big user stories can get a proper at- tention’’ (Head of Development – DT). Both the PT and the DT now ‘‘work together’’, and “involve other major stakeholders, like our CEO or Head of CSM, if a user story in any way concerns them’’. (Head of Development – DT). They recognized the value of deliberation and of using concise user stories; a concise user story was continually ready and easily changed. A concise user story allowed the PT to use less time on documenting information, and more time on disseminating the knowledge. However, even this small change towards concise user stories for integrating UX work with agile development was complicated and not easily achieved. 5. Discussion Integrating UX work with agile development is a consid- erable challenge that has been a research interest for over a decade (Brhel et al.,2015;da Silva et al.,2018) with many studies of its challenges and success factors (da Silva et al.,2013;Brhel et al.,2015;da Silva et al.,2018;Kashfi et al.,2019). However, few studies are concerned with the problem identification and improvement in practice through AR. Against this backdrop, we present two key contributions from our two AR iterations at ServiceSoft. First, a user story, albeit a small part of a complex practice, can be an indicator of deeply rooted UX integration problems. Second, deliberation with concise user stories helps UX integration. 8 A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 5.1. The user story as an indicator of integration At ServiceSoft, UX professionals applied user stories to me- diate user needs to the developers. However, the developers questioned the credibility of user stories delivered by a UX pro- fessional — rather than by a user. A problem of agile developers’ distrusting UX professionals has been well described in previous research (Bruun et al.,2018;Chilana et al.,2010). At ServiceSoft, the UX professionals wrote extensive context descriptions in the user stories and avoided verbal communication, which directed developers’ attention to semantics and sentence structures. This practice with user stories sustained a gap between the two pro- fessions and impaired their agility, according to our evaluation using Conboy’s (2009) framework. Extensive context descriptions written weeks prior to implementation hindered their reaction to change, thus disregarding the fast-moving environment of agile software development (Persson et al.,2016). Moreover, the UX professionals providing solutions to a user story, which develop- ers treated as definitive without exploring further possibilities, impaired the creation of change. Thus, user stories with extensive context descriptions – verbose user stories – indicated unsuccess- ful UX integration and limited agility. This finding nuances the current assumption that artifact mediated communication is an element of a successful UX integration (Brhel et al.,2015;Andrei et al.,2017;Kashfi et al.,2019). We identified properties of a user story that can negatively affect integration of UX, e.g. verbose and solution oriented, or pos- itively affect integration of UX, e.g. concise and ready to change. However, concise user stories do not in themselves indicate suc- cessful integration of UX with agile development.Schmitz et al. (2018) argued that terseuser stories and subsequent discussions do not further common understanding of user needs. They stated that ‘‘the communication methods used in Blue Velvet allowed the developers to remain mentally entangled in their own vision for the system’’ (p. 38). On the basis of this, we argue that researchers ought to understand an artifact in situ: recognize how practitioners use an artifact and why, identify stakeholders involved and how they are affected by an artifact in use. We present a more nuanced view on the type of communica- tion required in order to achieve a common vision for the system. Concise user stories needdeliberation. 5.2. Deliberation for integration At ServiceSoft, verbose user stories hindered deliberation and lead to a ‘‘mistaken belief that the story cards reflect the details and that there is no further need to discuss the story’’ (Cohn, 2004, p. 20). Deliberation concerns ‘‘mutual communication that involves weighing and reflecting on preferences, values and inter- ests regarding matters of common concern’’ (Mansbridge,2015, p. 27). ‘‘Mutual’’ implies a two-way communication; ‘‘weigh- ing and reflecting’’ regard rational and thoughtful consideration; and lastly, ‘‘preferences, values and interests on matters of com- mon concern’’ refer to the importance of a collective and not an individual (Mansbridge,2015, p. 29). Deliberation signifies the importance of a thoughtful, reasonable and reflective practice, with a purpose of achieving a common understanding through argumentation and consideration of different claims (Marques and Maia,2010;Mansbridge,2015). Decisions should be based on fair and reasonable discussions, while sharing and building knowledge as a group (Marques and Maia,2010). Thus, UX work is not established exclusively by a UX professional, it is built thor- ough a deliberative practice with agile software developers. This insight complements findings presented byKashfi et al.(2019). They advocate a shared ownership over UX work as a way to im- prove collaboration between UX and non-UX practitioners (Kashfi et al.,2019).Jones and Thoma(2019) found that lack of shared decision-making, and limited autonomy hinder UX integration. They recommend close proximity, early and frequent commu- nication, shared ideation and problem solving, crossing over of knowledge and skills, co-creation and prototyping and making joint decisions (Jones and Thoma,2019), which complements the notion of deliberation. In ServiceSoft’s integration of UX with agile development, concise user stories imply deliberation. Nevertheless, the concise user stories are also a product of deliberation.Dourish(2017) described the interdependence between the deliberation and an artifact. He stated that an editableartifact, which user stories are’’, focuses attention on the idea that what is going on is not simply communication but deliberation, and that the document that anchors the meeting is one to be not simply produced but transformed within the context of the meeting itself’’ (Dourish, 2017, p. 101).Dourish(2017) view supports our finding that an artifact enforces deliberation and, at the same time, is formed by it. At ServiceSoft, the UX professionals were not able to apply concise user stories due to the lack of deliberation, which led to uncertainty and defensive behavior that was manifested in extensive context descriptions. Chilana et al.(2010) present the challenge of distrust towards UX work, and how it negatively affects UX practice and collab- oration between stakeholders.Chilana et al.(2010) argue that in order to improve the UX work the long-term educational changes are needed. We argue that through deliberation, UX profession- als and agile developers can agree on a possible solution to a common concern – a user story. Deliberation can reduce the developers’ distrust in a user story and in UX professionals’ work, as well as reaffirming UX professionals’ trust in the developers and allowing them to dismiss the need for extensive context description. Thus, deliberation aids an emergence of concise user stories, which becomes an interconnected practice for successful integration of UX with agile development. However, the delib- erative practice required a common action (Ferreira et al.,2011), both teams needed a change in how they perceive themselves and each other (Section4.1). Through ‘‘knowledge-building discursive processes’’ (Marques and Maia,2010, p. 615), they can come to acknowledge each other as an integrated part of one whole. However, the interconnectedness of the described practice does not allow a stepwise guide to achieving such desired change. Deliberative theory states that ‘‘when talking and exchanging points of view, individuals may improve thought patterns and the interpretation of … issues’’ (Marques and Maia,2010, p. 615). Yet, our study showed that addressing the issue through a conversa- tion with a singleperson, a key UX professional in an influential position, did not initiate the change. Only through deliberation – open, inclusive, reflective, reciprocal discussion with relevant stakeholders – were we able to improve their integration. Thus, we propose that deliberative practice is not only a solution to a successful UX integration, but also a means to initiate change towards successful UX integration. 5.3. Transformation in integration Integrating UX work with agile software development is a transformative process. Just asStolterman and Fors(2004) un- derstand digital transformation as “the changes that the digital technology causes or influences in all aspects of human life” (p. 689), we understand a transformation in integration as the changes in practice that affect all aspects of software devel- opment. The UX professionals transform user experiences into artifacts (Brhel et al.,2015) that the agile software developers transform ‘‘into working software’’ (Ferreira et al.,2011, p. 967). A. Ananjeva, J.S. Persson and A. Bruun / The Journal of Systems & Software 170 (2020) 110785 9 Their collaborative practice is transformed through deliberation on the artifacts they use among themselves (Dourish,2017). This transformation is a knowledge-building discursive process towards organizational change (Kashfi et al.,2019), which is not easily achieved (Schein,1996). Existing literature on UX integration with agile software de- velopment often focuses on large transformations, such as es- tablishing shared practices (Ferreira et al.,2011), processes (Sy, 2007), and methods (Andrei et al.,2017). We argue that in order to achieve a transformation in integration on a larger scale, we ought to first focus on the small transformations.Schein(1996) states that the key to an effective change is ‘‘the ability to balance the amount of threat’’ (p. 30), which means that the change should not be overwhelming for an individual or a group. Thus, large-scale transformation in integration can hinder successful and sustainable change in practice. We as researchers need to understand the small transformations in practice, how they occur, and why, which requires the high level of involvement afforded by action research. 6. Limitations Our study focused on how user stories and deliberation affect collaboration on the activities prior to software implementa- tion in exploring and establishing a common understanding of user needs and technological limitations. The user’s perspec- tive is a continuous concern; therefore, future work is needed to understand how concise user stories and deliberation affect other activities in agile software development. Furthermore, in follow-up interviews with the product manager and the head of development at ServiceSoft, we found that they continued to recognize the value of concise user stories and deliberation but struggled to reinforce it. Therefore, further studies are needed to examine reinforcement practices for the integration of UX work with agile software development on different organizational levels. This is a concern that is similar to improving agility on different levels in a fast-moving software organization (Persson et al.,2016). Another limitation of our study concerns our research method. AR concerns ‘‘local solutions to local problems’’ (Hayes,2011, p. 16), where the researchers and the community partners collabo- rate on finding relevant solutions to real problems. This research process limits control of the study (Kashfi et al.,2019;Mckay and Marshall,2001) and does not promote the generalizability and neutrality usually associated with scientific rigor (Mckay and Marshall,2001;Hayes,2011). Some researchers might find AR lacking in the scientific merit, question the validity of AR and the subjectivity of the researcher (Avison et al.,2018). The validity of AR is expressed through trustworthinessthat embodies credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability (Hayes,2011, p. 7). Credibility of our study stems from a high level of involve- ment, which enabled us to obtain tacit knowledge and firsthand experience, which are difficult to gain through interviews and observations. Our findings might be transferable; therefore, fur- ther research is required in order to establish transferability of our findings on concise user stories and deliberation in similar contexts. Dependability was ensured through biweekly meetings that the first author had with the second and third authors. The second and third authors were independent entities throughout the study, ensuring inquiry audit. Furthermore, the collaborative and democratic nature of AR enabled us to confirm our findings, which ensured that both the solution and the problem were rele- vant in the ServiceSoft context. Thus, potential biases of the first author were elicited by the second and the third author, and the company. We were aware of the biases and we embraced them. AR requires researchers not to perceive the interventions and their presence ‘‘as ‘‘contamination’’ or ‘‘bias’’ but as an inevitable part of the social construction of scientific knowledge’’ (Hayes, 2011, p. 7). Kashfi et al.(2019) criticized the concept of interventionin AR for limiting the researcher to only investigate ‘‘the impact of these manipulations’’ (p. 39). They argued that action researchers disregard ‘‘other types of events that in a real industrial setting may influence integration over time’’ (p. 39). However, AR holds that ‘‘The best way to understand something is to try to change it’’ (Kurt Lewin as cited inHayes,2011). In our real industrial setting, we were forced to consider a wide range of events to understand what needed to be changed and why. However, we recognized that, after the problem situation had been established, we focused on the importance of user stories and may have disregarded other possible events important to the integration of UX work with agile software development. 7. Conclusion Integrating UX work with agile software development is com- plex, contextualized, and difficult in practice. From two AR itera- tions in a small software company, we showed how concise user stories and deliberation are useful focuses. Verbose user stories with voluminous context descriptions are artifacts that, as such, should support collaboration between UX professionals and agile developers (Garcia et al.,2019). However, our study showed that verbose user stories became a wall between the two practices and contributed to sustained defensive behavior. Each verbose user story became another brick in the wall, further segregating the two practices with erroneous assumptions regarding the user and technology. We propose based on our AR study that delibera- tion involving inclusive, reflective, and reciprocal communication based on concise user stories help improve the integration of UX work with agile software development. CRediT authorship contribution statement Alisa Ananjeva: Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal anal- ysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft. 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Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Spall, S., 1998. Peer debriefing in qualitative research: Emerging operational models. Qual. Inq. 4, 280–292. Stolterman, E., Fors, A.C., 2004. Information technology and the good life. Inf. Syst. Res. 687–692. Sy, D., 2007. Adapting usability investigations for agile user-centered design. J. Usability Stud. 2 (3), 112–132. Wale-Kolade, A., Nielsen, P., Päivärinta, T., 2014. Integrating usability practices into agile development: a case study. In: ISD. Zaitsev, A., Gal, U., Tan, B., 2020. Coordination artifacts in agile software development. Inf. Organ. 30 (2), 100288. Alisa Ananjeva , M.Sc., is a Ph.D. fellow at the Department of Computer Science at Aalborg University, Denmark. Alisa’s research interest lies in the interface between Information Systems (IS) and Human–Computer Interaction (HCI). She is interested in problem-based research and research methodologies such as Action Research and Action Design Research. Alisa aims at finding and solving problems in collaboration with the industry practitioners. John Stouby Persson , Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Department of Computer Science at Aalborg University, Denmark. He does collaborative practice research on managing the development of information systems. Following a pragmatist philosophy, his research interests pertain to the management of global software development, agility, digital transformation, business cases, and benefits realization. In this context, he has published qualitative studies and action research of agile software development over the past 10 years in predominantly Information Systems research outlets. Anders Bruun , Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University, Denmark. Anders’ research in HCI deals with theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of user experience and inter- action design. This research emphasizes development and assessment of novel methods that reliably measure UX in digital products, including a combination of quantitative real time measurements from wearable sensors as well as post-hoc qualitative responses from users. Anders’ research interests also include studies of the challenges arising in the intersection between software development and interaction design practices. Industry collaborations have led to publications on e.g. identifying and overcoming challenges related to integrating user experience and software development practices.
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Usability: Gaining a Competitive Edge IFIP World Computer Congress 2002 J. Hammond. T. Gross. J. Wesson (Eds) Published by Kluwer Academic Publishers @IFIP.2002 User Requirements Analysis A Review of Supporting Methods Martin Maguire Research School in Ergonomics and Human Factors Loughborough University. UK [email protected] Nigel Bevan Serco Usability Services. UK [email protected] Abstract: Understanding user requirements is an integral part of information systems design and is critical to the success of interactive systems. However specifying these requirements is not so simple to achieve. This paper describes general methods to support user requirements analysis that can be adapted to a range of situations. Some brief case studies are described to illustrate how these methods have been applied in practice. Key words: user requirements, user-centred design, usability methods 1. INTRODUCTION Understanding user requirements is an integral part of information systems design and is critical to the success of interactive systems. It is now widely understood that successful systems and products begin with an understanding of the needs and requirements of the users. As specified in the ISO 13407 standard (ISO, 1999), user-centred design begins with a thorough understanding of the needs and requirements of the users. The benefits can include increased productivity, enhanced quality of work, reductions in support and training costs, and improved user satisfaction. Requirements analysis is not a simple process. Particular problems faced by the analyst are: • addressing complex organisational situations with many stakeholders • users and designers thinking along traditional lines, reflecting the current system and processes, rather than being innovative • users not knowing in advance what they want from the future system (Olphert & Damodaran, 2002) 134 Part Two Technical Sessionsn • rapid development cycles, reducing the time available for user needs analysis • representing user requirements in an appropriate fonn. This paper considers how these problems can be addressed by selecting appropriate methods to support the process of user requirements generation and validation. It describes each method briefly and shows how it contributes to the requirements process. The basis for the application of different user requirements methods is a simple process as shown in Figure I below encompassing 4 elements: Infonnation gathering —. User needs identification Envisioning —. Requirements and evaluation specification Figure 1: General process for user requirements analysis The four stages, and methods used to support the stages, are described in the next sections, followed by a summary table highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each technique. 2. INFORMATION GATHERING The first step in user requirements analysis is to gather background infonnation about the users and stakeholders and the processes that currently take place. The following methods may be adopted: Stakeholder analysis identifies all the users and stakeholders who may influence or be impacted by the system. This helps ensure that the needs of all those involved are taken into account. If required, the system is tested by them. User groups may include end users, supervisors, installers, and maintainers. Other stakeholders include recipients of output from the system, marketing staff, purchasers and support staff (Taylor, 1990). Stakeholder analysis identifies, for each user and stakeholder group, their main roles, responsibilities and task goals in relation to the system. One of the main issues is how to trade-off the competing needs of different stakeholder groups in the new system (see 4.5 Allocation of function and user cost-benefit analysis). User Requirements Analysis: A Review ojSupporting Methods 135 Secondary market research involves researching published sources such as research reports, census data, demographic information, that throw light upon the range of possible user markets. Websites representing special groups of users such as that for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (www.mib.org.ukldigital) give information about the nature of the user population they represent (Mander & Smith, 2002). Context of use analysis is used when a system or product is developed. The quality of a system, including usability, accessibility and social acceptability factors, depends on having a very good understanding of the context of use of the system. For example, a bank machine (ATM) will be much more usable if it is designed for use at night as well as during the day, in bright sunlight as well as normal light, and by people in wheelchairs as well as those able to stand. Similarly in an office environment, there are many characteristics that can impinge on the usability of a new software product e.g. user workload, support available, or interruptions. Capturing contextual information is therefore important in helping to specify user requirements. In order to gather contextual information, stakeholders attend a facilitated meeting, called a Context Meeting. Here a questionnaire is completed to capture the characteristics of the users, their tasks and operating environment (see main headings in Table 1 below). Usere.COUD Tasks Technlcal environment · System skills and experience. · Task list. · Hardware . · Task knowledge. · Goal. · Software . · Training. · Output. · Network . · Qualifications . · Steps. · Reference materials . · Language skills. · Frequency . · Other equipmen t. · Age & gender . · Importance. · Physical and cognitive capabilities. · Duration. · Attitudes and motivations. · Dependencies . Physical environment , Ol’lanisational environment · Auditory environment. · Work practices. · Thermal environment. · Assistance . · Visual environment. · Interruptions. · Vibration . · Management & communications structure. · Space and furniture . · Computer use policy . · User posture . · Organisational aims. · Health hazards . · Industrial relations. · Protective clothing & eQuipment. · lob characteristics. Table 1. Context of use factors Context of use analysis was one of the outcomes of the ESPRIT HUFIT project and developed further in the ESPRIT MUSiC project (Bevan and Macleod, 1994). Context of use analysis within usability activities are also reviewed in Maguire (200Ic). 136 Part Two Technical Sessionsn Task analysis involves the study of what a user is required to do in terms of actions and/or cognitive processes to achieve a task. A detailed task analysis can be conducted to understand the current system, the information flows within it, the problems for people, and opportunities that indicate user needs. There are many variations of task analysis and notations for recording task activities. One of the most widely used is hierarchical task analysis, where high level tasks are de-composed into more detailed components and sequences. Another method creates a flow chart showing the sequence of human activities and the associated inputs and outputs (Ericsson 2001). Kirwan & Ainsworth (1992) provide a guide to the different task analysis methods, while Hackos & Redish (1998) explain some of the simpler methods for user interface design. Rich pictures can help stakeholders map, explore and understand a complex problem space and thereby help to identify hidden requirements (Checkland, 1981). The technique involves creating a series of sketches to show how people and systems relate to each other in an organisation. They may show peoples’ roles, power structures, communications and reporting mechanisms. Drawing simple figures of people with thought and speech bubbles linked to them can show particular problem areas in the current environment that may lead to new user requirements. Field study and observational methods involve an investigator viewing users as they work and taking notes of the activity that takes place. Observation may be either direct, where the investigator is actually present during the task, or indirect, where the task is recorded on videotape by the analysis team and viewed at a later time. The observer tries to be unobtrusive during the session and only poses questions if clarification is needed. Obtaining the co-operation of users is vital so the interpersonal skills of the observer are important. For further information see Preece et al. (1994). Diary keeping provides a record of user behaviour over a period of time. They require the participant to record activities they are engaged in throughout a normal day that may lead to the identification of user requirements for a new system or product. Diaries require careful design and prompting if they are to be employed properly be participants. Video recording can be used to capture human processes in a stakeholder’s workplace or other location. The results can then be revised for the purpose of understanding more about the work and generating relevant questions relevant to user needs. Video can also be a useful supplement to other method e.g. to demonstrate new system concepts to users during user/stakeholder discussion groups. User Requirements Analysis: A Review a/Supporting Methods 137 3. USER NEEDS IDENTIFICATION Once user data has been collected, user needs can start to be identified. A number of methods exist for identifying such needs. User surveys involve administering a set of written questions to a sample population of users. Surveys can help determine the needs of users, current work practices and attitudes to new system ideas. Surveys are normally composed of a mix of ‘closed’ questions with fixed responses and ‘open’ questions, where the respondents are free to answer as they wish. This method is useful for obtaining quantitative as well as some qualitative data from a large number of users about the problems of existing tasks or the current system. For further information see Preece et a1. (1994). Focus groups bring together a cross-section of stakeholders in a discussion group format. This method is useful for requirements elicitation and can help to identify issues that need to be tackled. The general idea is that each participant can act to stimulate ideas in the other people present, and that by a process of discussion, the collective view becomes established which is greater than the individual parts. For further information see Bruseberg & McDonagh-Philp (2001). Interviewing is a commonly used technique where users, stakeholders and domain experts are questioned to gain information about their needs or requirements in relation to the new system. Interviews are usually semi­ structured based on a series of fixed questions with scope for the user to expand on their responses. They can also be used as part of task analysis. For further information see Preece et al. (1994) and Macaulay (1996). Interviews on a customer site by representatives from the system development team can be very informative. Seeing the environment also gives a vivid mental picture of how users are working with the existing system and how the new system can support them (Mander and Smith, 2002). Scenarios and use cases give detailed realistic examples of how users may carry out their tasks in a specified context with the future system. The primary aim of scenario building is to provide examples of future use as an aid to understanding and clarifying user requirements and to provide a basis for later usability testing. Scenarios can help identify usability targets and likely task completion times. The method also promotes developer buy-in and encourages a human-centred design approach. Scenarios of use are sometimes called ‘use cases’, although the term is also used by software engineers to refer to the use of functions. In a related method called personas, a caricature is created with a name, personality and picture, to represent each of the most important user groups. Potential design solutions can then be evaluated against the needs of a particular persona and the tasks they are expected to perform. Personas are 138 Part Two Technical Sessionsn used by innovative design groups to stimulate creativity rather than refine a design solution (Cooper 1999). Future workshops are a way to help users and designers ‘break out’ from a current situations and thinking. Essentially they involve gathering participants and posing questions such as: ‘Where do you want to be 10 years from now’. Once participants have agreed a suitable goal, they then seek to establish a process by which it can be achieved. Another variation is to define new technological developments, discuss when they might be attainable and what implications this might have for the user organisation. Evaluating an existing or competitor system can provide valuable information about the extent to which current systems meet user needs and can identify potential usability problems to avoid in the new system. Useful features identified in a competitor system can also be fed into the design process as potential user requirements. Measures of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction can be used as a baseline for the new system. To obtain accurate measures a controlled user test should be used, but valuable information can still be obtained from less formal methods of testing. 4. ENVISIONING AND EVALUATION Once an initial set of user requirements has been developed, it is important to develop a prototype to illustrate them. User feedback can then be obtained on the prototype to validate and refine the user requirements. Potential techniques are described in this section Brainstorm sessions bring together a set of design and task experts to inspire each other in the creative, idea generation phase of the problem solving process. They are used to generate new ideas by freeing the mind to accept any idea that is suggested, thus allowing freedom for creativity. The method has been widely used the early phases of design. The results of a brainstorming session are, it is hoped, a set of good ideas and a general feel for the solution area to meet user needs. Card sorting is a technique for uncovering the hierarchical structure in a set of concepts by asking users to group items written on a set of cards. This is often used, for instance, to work out the organisation of a website. Users would be given cards with the names of the intended web pages on the site and asked to group the cards into related categories. After gathering the groupings from several users, designers can typically spot clear structures across many users. Statistical analysis can uncover the best groupings from the data where it is not clear by inspection. IBM (2002) is an example of an analysis programme. Affinity diagramming is a related technique that can be used for organising the structure of a new system, and allows participants to work as a group. Designers or users write down items such as potential screens or functions on sticky notes and then organise the notes by grouping them, to User Requirements Analysis: A Review of Supporting Methods 139 uncover the structure and relationships in a domain. Affinity diagrams are often a good next step after a brainstorming session. See Beyer & Holtzblatt (1998) for more information. Storyboards, also termed “Presentation Scenarios”, are sequences of images that show the relationship between user actions or inputs and system outputs. A typical storyboard will contain a number of images depicting features such as menus, dialogue boxes and windows. Storyboard sequences provide a platform for exploring and refining user requirements options via a static representation of the future system by showing them to potential users and members of a design team (Andriole, 1989). Prototyping is where designers create paper or software-based simulations of user interface elements (menus, buttons, icons, windows, dialogue sequences, etc.) in a static or dynamic way. When a paper prototype has been prepared, a member of the design team sits before a user and ‘plays the computer’ by moving the paper and card interface elements around in response to the user’s actions. The difficulties encountered by the user and user comments, are recorded by an observer. Software prototypes provide a greater level of realism than is normally possible with simple paper mock­ ups. Here, the aim is to create a rapid prototype that is used to establish an acceptable design for the user but is then thrown away prior to full implementation. Some design processes are based on a rapid application development (RAD) approach. Here a small group of designers and users work intensively on a prototype, making frequent changes in response to user comment. The prototype evolves into the full system. Hall (2001) discusses the merits and cost-benefits of varying fidelity levels of prototypes. Allocation of function is an important element for many systems. As ISO 13407 (1999) states in clause 7.3.2, allocation of function is “the division of system tasks into those performed by humans and those performed by technology” to specify a clear system boundary. A range of options is established to identify the optimal division of labour, to provide job satisfaction and efficient operation of the whole work process. User cost­ benefit analysis can then be carried out to determine how acceptable each user group will find the new arrangement. The use of task allocation charts and cost-benefit analysis is most useful for systems that affect whole work processes rather than single user, single task products. They also provide the opportunity to rethink the system design or user roles to provide a more acceptable solution for all groups. A process for performing a user cost­ benefit analysis is described by Eason (1988). Design guidelines and standards are referred to by designers and HeI specialists for guidance on ergonomic issues associated with the system being developed. The ISO 9241 standard (ISO, 1997) covers many aspects of hardware and software user-interface design, and contains a widely agreed body of software ergonomics advice. See Bevan (2001) for more information 140 Part Two Technical Sessionsn on ISO standards. Style guides embody good practice in interface design. Following a style guide will increase the consistency between screens and can reduce the development time. For a GU! (graphic user interface) an operating system style guide should be followed to implement good practice and to provide consistency. For websites, design guidelines are evolving but good web design principles are gradually being established (Nielsen, 2000). Nicolle and Abascal (2001) discuss issues and present guidelines to make systems accessible by people with disabilities. Parallel design sessions involve a few small groups of designers working independently, to generate a range of diverse solutions. The aim is to develop and evaluate different system designs before choosing a solution (possibly drawing from several solutions) as a basis for the implemented system 5. REQUIREMENTS SPECIFICATION General guidance on specifying user and organisational requirements and objectives is provided in ISO 13407. The following should be documented within the specification: identification of the range of relevant users and other stakeholders, a clear statement of design goals, the requirements with an indication their priority levels, measurable benchmarks against which the emerging design can be tested, evidence of acceptance of the requirements by the stakeholders, acknowledgement of statutory or legislative requirements, e.g. for health and safety. It is also important to manage changing requirements as the system develops. The following sections describe techniques and methods to support user and organisational requirements specification. Task/function mapping specifies the system functions that each user will require for the different tasks that they perform. By showing the relationship between the tasks and the corresponding functional requirements linked in matrix form, trade-offs can be made between different functions, or to add and remove functions depending on their value for supporting specific tasks. It is also useful for multi-user systems to ensure that the tasks of each user type are supported. Requirements categorisation User requirements: It is important to establish and document the user requirements so that they lead into the process of designing the system itself. User requirements will include summary descriptions of the tasks that the system will support and the functions that will be provided to support them. Usability requirements: It is also necessary to describe the detailed usability requirements in order to set objectives for the design team, and help prioritise usability work. Generally agreed usability goals to define are: effectiveness: the degree of success with which users achieve their task goals: efficiency: the time it takes to complete tasks; and satisfaction: user comfort and acceptability; see ISO 9241, part II ‘Guidance on Usability’ (ISO, 1997). User Requirements Analysis: A Review a/Supporting Methods 141 These are most easily derived from the evaluation of an existing system. Other more detailed usability issues provide more specific design objectives e.g. understandability, learnability, supportiveness, flexibility and attractiveness. Having established usability requirements, it is then necessary to translate the requirements into a specification (specification = requirement + measure). ISO 9126-4 (ISO, 2002) provides a framework for specifying measurable requirements (see also section 6.3). Organisational requirements: A third element is to specify the organisational requirements for the user-system complex, i.e. those that come out of a system being placed into a social context. An understanding of organisational requirements will help to create systems that can support the management structure of the organisation and communications within it, as well as group and collaborative working. Defining and grouping the tasks in an appropriate way will help to create motivating and satisfying jobs, ideally allowing users autonomy, flexibility, provision of good feedback on their performance and the opportunity to develop their skills and careers. Statutory or legislative requirements may also be classed as organisational requirements. The information needed to specify user, usability and organisational requirements will be drawn from the context of use and user needs activities described in previous sections. Maguire (1998) and Roberston & Roberston (1999) provide frameworks for user requirements specification. Prioritisation of user requirements is important so that development resources can be directed appropriately. The DSDM development method uses ‘time boxes’ where the functions and features in each phase of a system’s release are defined by the resources available. This helps control the risks in system development, and allows the customer to redirect future effort to meet the user’s needs more closely. Criteria setting relates to the need for criteria to help decide whether the user requirements have been achieved. This can be done by an inspection team or by user testing, where a representative user sample performs typical tasks with the system and the performance scores and attitude ratings help decide if the system can be accepted. Defining acceptance criteria in advance can be achieved by performing pre-tests on the existing system or on a competitor system, to specify criteria that the new system must be at least as good as these current systems. 142 Part Two Technical Sessionsn 6. COMPARISON SUMMARY Table 2 below presents the advantages and disadvantages of each method presented in this paper to assist in method selection. Method Benefits Drawbacks r . ‘:;. 2. INFORMATION Stakeholder analysis Ensures that all relevant – stakeholders are considered. Secondary market Low cost and provides good Information may be too research overview of potential market. general or out of date. Context of use Provides framework for May be lengthy process. Not analysis documenting all factors that all headings applicable to may affect the usability of the project. Could be short- product. circuited for smaller systems. Task Analysis Defines and models tasks that May be over-formal for can highlight user needs simple tasks or open-ended directly . task s. Rich pictures Allows complex user Pictures may highlight environments to be mapped indicative factors but may out and potential requirements lack sufficient detail. to be iden tified Field study and Allows viewing of what use rs Time consuming to perform. observational methods actually do in context and may User commentary and analyst discover unnoticed processes. observation may disturb tasks. Diary keeping Allows user to record Users may forget to complete activities throughout the day. diaries or summarise activities at the end. Analyst reminders may be annoying. Video recording Cap tures real current activities Time consuming to perform. without the intrusiveness of Requires users to explain direct observation. activities post-observation. 3. USER NEEDS IDENTIFICATION User surveys Relatively quick method of Does not capture in depth determining preferences of comments and may not permit large user groups and allows follow-up. for s ta tistical analysis. Focus groups Allows analyst to rapidly Recruitment effort to obtain a wide variety of user assemble groups. Dominant views and possibly a participants may innuence consensus. group disproportionately . Table 2. Comparison of user requirements methods User Requirements Analysis: A Review of Supporting Methods 143 3. US ER N EE DS IDENTIFICATION continued Interv iew ing Interviews allow for quick Need to negotiate access and elicitation of ideas and to combine range of possibly concepts. Customer visits differing opinions from brings user context to life. different users. Sce n a rios, use case s Effective way of thinking Scenarios may raise a nd perso n as about future system use in expectations too much. context. Personas can bring Personas may over simplify user needs to life. user population. F utur e wo rks h ops Way of thinking creativel y. Results may seem too ambitious for curren t needs. Ex istin g sys t em or Effective means of May lead to including too C om p e tit or a n a l ysis identifying current problems, many new functions or make possible new features and system too similar to a acceptance criteria. competi tor’s. 4. ENVISIONING & EVALUATING ‘F’ Br ain sto rm Blank page approach Doesn’t cover detailed design allowing for rapid elicitation aspects. and innovative thinking. Car d orting and Effective means of Needs way to combine results a ffini ty diag r a m s organising structure of a if performed by individuals or system e.g. a website . groups separately. S t ory boar d s Demonstra tes software Lacks interac tive quality of interactions and possibly user prototyping. context simply and early in the development cycle. Pro to ty p in g Quick to build and refine. Paper prototypes do not Allows early detection of support evaluation of fine usability issues in response to details . Throwaway software user feedback prototypes do but arc time consuming 10 build . A lloc ation of function Iden tifies task concerns for Needs good overview of and User cost ben efit the whole work process . whole system. Many ana lysis Helps definc fulfilling jobs allocation options can cause and reduces risk of confusion. Cost benefits dissatisfied staff. sometimes hard to estimate. D esig n g uid e lines a nd Draws upon established May be 100 general or s t a ndard s knowledge to assisl design. constrain design. Para llel design Produces range of design Requires certain amount of ideas and solutions. Can pick organisation 10 assemble best from each. design teams. Table 2. Comparison of user requirements methods (continued) 144 Part Two Technical Sessionsn 5. REQUIREMENTS SPECIFICATION , Task/function Way of selecting functions that Knowing when task mapping are relevant to specific tasks. definitions sufficient. Make May be a way to avoid include tasks to justify including too many functions. unnecessary functions. User. usability and Effective way to categorise user May be hard to decide which organisational requirements. Covers user and user requirements fall into requirements organisational levels. which categories . Prioritisation Ensures that effort is put into Poor management of user the most important aspects of expectations may results in the system . disappointed users. Criteria setting Way to determine if developed Not easily to define suitable system has met the user criteria. Extensive testing of requirements . achievement may be resource i ntensive . Table 2. Comparison of user requirements methods (continued) 7. CASE STUDIES This section describes a series of case studies to show how the methods described in this paper support user requirements development. Normally a mix of methods and techniques is needed. Development of intranet site. A study was carried out by HUSAT (Maguire & Hirst, 200 I b) to evaluate and redesign an intranet site for a police service in the UK. Human Factors consultants performed the study working with a police officer who was project manager for intranet development, and a civilian co-ordinator with a knowledge of police procedures and human factors. Semi-structured interviews were performed with users and stakeholders covering: needs and aspirations regarding the intranet, how well the current system meets those needs, and possible improvements that could be made. Interviewees were given access to the intranet site so they could demonstrate their comments. They included a constable, sergeant, inspector, senior officers and non-police admin staff. Following the user and stakeholder interviews, an expert review of the intranet pages was performed to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the current service. General recommendations for change were made following the expert evaluation. These were discussed with police representatives and different options for concept designs were proposed using storyboards and screen prototypes. These methods matched the requirement to create and discuss rapid prototypes within the design team. Having developed the design concept, several options for the graphic design for the site were produced as software prototypes to demonstrate both look and feel. A final design for the home page and secondary level content pages was then produced with web templates to allow the police service to install the new pages and maintain them in the future. User Requirements Analysis: A Review a/Supporting Methods 145 The project showed how a combination of methods can produce an acceptable new system design within a relatively short time (3 months). Expert evaluation of training opportunities. An evaluation was carried out by HUSAT (Maguire & Hirst, 2001a) which provided information about business-related courses to SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises). This was part of a programme of work to develop user requirements for a web-based e­ learning service or ‘virtual campus’. An evaluation was performed by two Human Factors experts who spent time reviewing each of the main parts of the system from their own experience, a knowledge of typical tasks and usability principles. When providing comments on the system the aim was not to improve the current system but to identify features and implications for the new system. Inputs, from a usability perspective, were made to the user specification of the new virtual campus system. These included elements such as: the inclusion of functions to cover course providers as well as users (as this stakeholder had not previously been considered); suggestion for a mechanism to enter, modify and delete course information and course modules; and provision of typical scenarios of use by the users to make sure that the supplier and customer have the same ‘vision’ of the system. The project demonstrated how expert evaluation of a current system can provide useful feedback into the requirements specification for the new system. Interviews to assess future requirements for financial services. Interviews were carried out by HUSA T with family groups to study their management of home finances (Maguire, 1999). Context of use information was gathered, supported by photographs taken of rooms where financial tasks were carried out. The interviews were held as a series of focus group sessions within each household to discuss how and where they performed financial tasks, how they would like to receive services in future and through which devices, e.g. TV, PC, or other domestic appliance. The sessions were video­ taped and areas and devices in the home were photographed. The study showed where household devices were located and where family members performed current financial tasks. This provided a basis for identifying innovative ways to deliver future financial services to the home. Survey to establish user needs for a climate change system. The EC 1ST EuroClim project (http://euroclim.nr.no) aims to develop an advanced climate monitoring and prediction system for Europe. Climate related data will be stored in digital form collected from a network of sites across Europe. The system will produce raster maps and data sets for scientists and public users showing changes in snow on land, glaciers, sea ice, and general climate trends. To understand the diversity of user requirements for data precision, metadata and data formats, a user needs survey was carried out with climate professionals and public users across Europe. Much effort was required to analyse all the different needs and to summarise them in a form that the design team could assimilate. User needs for data quality varied between 146 Part Two Technical Sessionsn users. Therefore charts were produced to show what proportion of users in the survey would be satisfied by different components of data quality i.e. resolution, accuracy and delivery delay. For a specialist system such as EuroClim, it is important to be able to trace the requirements back to the organisations that specified them so that clarification of user needs can be obtained. Based on the information gathered from the survey, a user interface mock-up is being developed to demonstrate the system concept and to ‘prototype’ the user requirements before the system specification is firmed up and development begins. User centred design at IAI. Serco worked with !AI LAHA V to evaluate the benefits of applying user-centred methods on a typical project. The user centred design techniques recommended by TRUMP (Bevan et aI, 2000) were selected to be simple to plan and apply, and easy to learn by development teams. 1 . Stakeholder meeting and context of use workshop The stakeholder meeting identifies and agrees on the role of usability, the usability goals, and how these relate to the business objectives and success criteria for the system. The context workshop collects detailed information about the intended users, their tasks, and the technical and environmental constraints. Both events each last for about half a day. 2. Scenarios of use A half day workshop to document examples of how users are expected carry out key tasks in a specified contexts, to provide an input to design and a basis for subsequent usability testing. 3. Evaluate an existing system Evaluation of an earlier version or competitor system to identify usability problems and obtain measures of usability as an input to usability requirements. 4 . Usability requirements A half-day workshop to establish usability requirements for the user groups and tasks identified in the context of use analysis and in the scenarios. 5. Paper prototyping Evaluation by users of quick low fidelity prototypes to clarify requirements and enable draft interaction designs and screen designs to be rapidly simulated and tested. 6. Style gUide Identify, document and adhere to industry, corporate or project conventions for screen and page design. 7. Evaluation of machine prototypes Informal usability testing with 3-5 representative users carrying out key tasks to provide rapid feedback. 8. Usability testing Formal usability testing with 8 representatives of a user group carrying out key tasks to identify any remaining usability problems and evaluate whether usability objectives have been achieved. IAI concluded that most of the techniques are very intuitive to understand, implement and facilitate. Practicing these techniques in the early stages of design and development ensures less design mistakes later on. All participants and developers thought that most of the techniques were User Requirements Analysis: A Review o/Supporting Methods 147 worthwhile and helped in developing a better and more usable system. The techniques were assessed as cost effective and inexpensive to apply. 8. CONCLUSION To ensure a successful outcome, the design team must satisfy the needs and wants of the user when the development is complete. To achieve this, user needs should not only be elicited by techniques such as surveys, focus groups, interviews etc., but they should also be reflected back to users via simulations in order to prototype the user requirements. The requirements will of course then evolve as the system develops and more formal user evaluation takes place. 9. REFERENCES Andriole, S. J. (1989), Storyboard prototyping: a new approach to user requirements analysis, QED Infonnation Sciences, Inc. Bevan N (2001) International Standards for HC! and Usability. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55, 4. Bevan, N, Bogomolni, I, & Ryan, N (2000) Cost-effective user centred design, www.usability.serco.comltrump Bevan, N. & Macleod, M (1994) Usability measurement in context. Behaviour and Information Technology, 13, 132-145 Beyer, H. & Holtzblatt, K. (1998), Contextual design: defining customer-centered systems, Morgan Kaufinann Publishers. Bruseberg, A. & McDonagh-Philp, D. (2001), New product development by eliciting user experience and aspirations, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55(4), 435-452. Checkland, P. (1981), Systems thinking, systems practice, Wiley. Cooper, A. (1999), The inmates are running the asylum: why high tech products drive us crazy and how to restore the sanity, Sams publishing. Eason, K.D. (1988), Information technology and organisational change, Taylor and Francis. Ericsson Infocom Consultants AB and Linkoping University (2001), The Delta method. www.deltamethod.netl Hackos, J. & Redish, J. (1998), User and task analysis for interface design, Wiley. Hall, R.R. (2001), Prototyping for usability of new technology, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55, 4, 485-502. 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(1999), NCR Knowledge Lab. Report on study of the management of domestic finances by family groups, 7 May, RSEHF (formerly HUSAT), Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Maguire, M.C. & Hirst, SJ. (2001a), Usability evaluation of the LINK project TIGS website and feedback on 0 VC specification. HUSA T Consultancy Limited, 2 March 2001. RSEHF (formerly HUSAT), Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Maguire, M.C. & Hirst, S.J. (2001b), Metropolitan Police Service redesign of corporate intra net pages. HUSA T Consultancy Limited, 26 March 200 I. RSEHF (formerly HUSAT), Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. Maguire, M.C. (200Ic), Context of use within usability activities, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55(4), 453-484. Mander, R. & Smith, B. (2002), Web usability for dummies, New York: Hungry Minds. Nielsen, 1. (2000), Designing web usability: The practice of simplicity, New Riders Publishing. Nicolle, C. & Abascal, J. (eds.) 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