Re: Task-based vs. System-Based Procedures

Subject: Re: Task-based vs. System-Based Procedures
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: susan-gallagher -at- vertel -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2000 11:16:40 PST

Susan Gallagher said:

In general, what we commonly refer to as task-based procedures
assume the user's perspective while system-based procedures
assume the developers' or software interface perspective.

Tony Markatos responds:

This is a very common misconception. Indeed, the "byline" of another TW related listserv is "Tasks are what end-users need to accomplish in order to meet their [business] goals; functions are what designers build into systems." Such confuses systems design with bad systems design.

Make no mistake about it, in good systems analysis/design, the developer's perspective is EXACTLY the same as the end-user's perspective. In the ideal, one software module (and it's associated procedures) accomplishes one end-user task. This is THE major principle upon which formal systems analysis/design techniques - such as Structured Systems Analysis and Design - are based upon.

Yes, particularly because of technology limitations, there is often a need for even the best designer to include modules that do things that the end-user really does not care about. But the overriding principle in design is that there should be a one-to-one correlation between essential module and end-user task. (Essential meaning: has to be done to meet user's requirements.)

Technical Writers like to be thought of in terms of best practices; so do analysts/developers.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

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