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A gas-flow planning tool

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Fluxys’ Flow Engineers at the central control room perform the complex task of planning and monitoring gas flows through the transmission system in real-time. For the new gas-flow planning tool, ...

Fluxys’ Flow Engineers at the central control room perform the complex task of planning and monitoring gas flows through the transmission system in real-time. For the new gas-flow planning tool, POLARIS, the human-machine interface (HMI) was therefore of major concern.

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  • Designing a gas-flow planning tool. Fluxys is the independent operator of the natural gas transport, transit grid and storage infrastructure in Belgium . Fluxys’ Flow Engineers at the central control room perform the complex task of planning and monitoring gas flows through the transmission system in real-time. For the new gas-flow planning tool, POLARIS, the human-machine interface ( HMI) was therefore of major concern. Namahn designed a tool that retrieves, manages and displays vast amounts of flow planning data from other applications, while enabling Flow Engineers to monitor and update without interrupting their workflow. We have worked closely on the POLARIS project since 2003 as part of an agile development process.   Understand Field study We observed the daily practice of gas flow planning and studied the highly complex business context. The Flow Engineers’ real-time tasks require constant attention as crucial data are continuously updated from other applications and human operators . Requirements analysis We facilitated requirement workshops and specified requirements covering business, functional and infrastructure aspects. These were visualised in the form of HMI concepts, use cases and other specification documents. We need to be highly flexible because user requirements change as market conditions and the tool as such evolve. For this project, we visualized requirements in the form of UI concepts, facilitated requirement workshops, specified requir-ements and wrote use cases.   Explore Prototyping The design of the HMI was integrated with the functional analysis to create an explicit link, between, for example, display panels in the HMI and system operations and security settings in the analysis.   Define Detailed specifications We captured all details of the POLARIS HMI in specifications for each module. Individual HMI elements and actions were listed with their respective references to the underlying data model. Separate specifications covered generically applicable HMI patterns, access rights, graphs & behaviour and colour settings.   Outcome Fluxys has secured a high acceptance of the product and continues to involve our designers for further iterations as well as for developing new document templates, design and modeling guidelines and training modules to support its IT analysts and developers. We integrated our design efforts via two parallel design tracks: one to shape longer-term concepts, and one to deliver detailed HMI design in a three-months cycle. The intensive collaboration with Fluxys in an agile development process has integrated our HMI design effort in the full cycle of business analysis, requirements specification, functional analysis, development and testing. The agile character of this project lies in a three-monthly sprint which entails that the full development cycle for a functionality has to always result in the delivery of working software in only three months time.        

A gas-flow planning tool A gas-flow planning tool Presentation Transcript

  • Designing a gas-flow planning tool. Fluxys is the independent operator of the natural gas transport, transit grid and storage infrastructure in Belgium . Fluxys’ Flow Engineers at the central control room perform the complex task of planning and monitoring gas flows through the transmission system in real-time. For the new gas-flow planning tool, POLARIS, the human-machine interface (HMI) was therefore of major concern. Namahn designed a tool that retrieves, manages and displays vast amounts of flow planning data from other applications, while enabling Flow Engineers to monitor and update without interrupting their workflow. We have worked closely on the POLARIS project since 2003 as part of an agile development process. time since Q3 2003 – present duration ongoing Market Business to business Discipline i teraction design information architecture
  • Approach explore define
    • Scenarios of Use
    • Conceptual design
    • Engineering specifications
    understand
    • Field study
    • Requirements analysis
    • Understand
    • Flow Engineer position and business context diagram
    • Field study
    • We observed the daily practice of gas flow planning and studied the highly complex business context. The Flow Engineers’ real-time tasks require constant attention as crucial data are continuously updated from other applications and human operators .
    • Requirements analysis
    • We facilitated requirement workshops and specified requirements covering business, functional and infrastructure aspects. These were visualised in the form of HMI concepts, use cases and other specification documents. We need to be highly flexible because user requirements change as market conditions and the tool as such evolve.
    • Explore
    • Two iterations of the Polaris Offtake arbitration module
    • Prototyping
    • The design of the HMI was integrated with the functional analysis to create an explicit link, between, for example, display panels in the HMI and system operations and security settings in the analysis.
    • Define
    • Example from the POLARIS UI access rights specification
    • Engineering specifications
    • We captured all details of the POLARIS HMI in specifications for each module. Individual HMI elements and actions were listed with their respective references to the underlying data model. Separate specifications covered generically applicable HMI patterns, access rights, graphs & behaviour and colour settings.
    Disabled for nomination agent, reader Disabled for observer
  • Outcome Fluxys has secured a high acceptance of the product and continues to involve our designers for further iterations as well as for developing new document templates, design and modeling guidelines and training modules to support its IT analysts and developers. We integrated our design efforts via two parallel design tracks: one to shape longer-term concepts, and one to deliver detailed HMI design in a three-months cycle. The intensive collaboration with Fluxys in an agile development process has integrated our HMI design effort in the full cycle of business analysis, requirements specification, functional analysis, development and testing. The agile character of this project lies in a three-monthly sprint which entails that the full development cycle for a functionality has to always result in the delivery of working software in only three months time.