Re: Product Task Analysis

Subject: Re: Product Task Analysis
From: Tony Markos <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 07:30:37 -0700 (PDT)


You espouse an approach to Task Analysis that is, in
one way, very solid: Proceed in as top down a fashion
as possible.

Such an approach, especially for larger systems, is
critical. A major cause of failure in projects is
trying to perform Task Analysis in a bottom-up
fashion. Closely related, and even more failure
prone, is the TW jumping right away into an ocean of
design detail - and then drowning in those details.

But with your approach, the Task Analyst draws a
hierarchy of task boxes, and then trys to
appropriately connect the boxes together. There is a
significant flaw with such an approach, which is
readily seen when comparing that approach with the
only technique that addresses the flaw: Data Flow

With Data Flow Diagrams, we follow the flows of data
through the system. When our data flows naturally
combine and split apart, we have flushed out an
essential task that very well may have otherwise gone
undiscovered during the analysis. And at its root,
Task Analysis, like all analysis, is a discovery

With a connect-the-boxes approach (such as in
hierarchal decomposition) only the functions that
readily pop into the Task Analyst's head are
identified. The "holes" in our Task Analysis are not
made glaringly evident - we are not prompted to
discover what we do not know.

Note: The connect-the-boxes approach is also very
common in Systems Analysis. It, along with being
fundamentally bottom up, is the tragic flaw of Use

Tony Markos

--- Jon -at- taskarchitect -dot- com wrote:

......For instance you could have an overview document
outlining the high level tasks of
product use, then sub-documents that describe each

.... there?s more information about the tool at

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