Fitting an Activity-Centric system into an ecology of workplace toolsPresentation Transcript
Fitting an Activity-Centric system into an ecology of workplace tools ArunaBalakrishnan Carnegie Mellon University April 13, 2010 Tara Matthews Thomas P. Moran IBM Research – Almaden
2 An activityis a set of interrelated actions and events arounda common goal. Christensen et al. 2002; Gonzalez et al. 2004
3 Work is fragmented across tools.
Activity Centric Computing: Solution? ACC systems structure work around the construct of an activityby: Supporting a diverse set of actions Consolidating related people, artifacts, resources, and actions. Bardram et al. 2006; Kaptelinin et al. 2003; Muller et al. 2004; Yarosh et al. 2009 4
Lotus Activities 5
Research questions For what purposes do users choose an ACC system among an ecology of many other workplace tools? Does Lotus Activities, an ACC application, provide a solution to work fragmentation across tools? 6
Study participants 22 Users 8 female, 14 male average age 37 years represented different business units within a global company Stratified sampling methodology 30,000 users of Lotus Activities divided by Activities usage occasional (8), moderate (7), heavy (5), committed (2) 8
Interviews Focused on: whether and how organization by activity affected their ability to collectrelated artifacts together Coded for common themes using grounded theory 9
Ecology of tools survey What tools do you use for different tasks? Tools Lotus Activities Lotus Notes email, calendar, todo’s Sharedrepositories databases Wikis IM Meetings either phone or in-person Task Types Group Management Tasks Share materials Support awareness Coordinate tasks Reuse materials Collaboration Tasks Generate ideas Solve problems Draft documents Make decisions (McGrath and Hollingshead, 1993) 10
Survey results 12
Activities supported bounded in-progressprojects. Boundeddefinite goal and shorter-term end-point In-progressactivelybeing carried out 13 [Lotus] Activities… is the most effective way when I’ve got a specific short-term kind of project that involves multiple people where I will use it as a place to store our documents and our communications as well as assign to-dos and trackthose...
Repositories and Wikis for long-term use. 14 A wiki is for a more elaborate effort of consolidation of information created over the course of months. The Activity is just for that set of concrete tasks – let’s say one week…– where you have to do something very specific... Once it is done, you may want to share that on the wiki.
Complimentary tools Lotus Activities worked in conjunction with shared repositories and wikis. Using all these types of tools did not add to fragmentation of work across tools because they were used during different phases of a project. 15
Collaboration tasks 16 Participants use Activities for group management tasks more than for collaboration tasks.
Collaboration tasks 17 Participants use Activities for group management tasks more than for collaboration tasks. Participants use email, IM and meetings for directed communication.
Email contributes to work fragmentation. Participants were motivated to try Activities in order to replace email. (17 participants) 18 Everyone is realizing that email is not an effective way to keep that cohesive stream of thought. They are starting to move to Activities. Email is not the ideal way because you have the mail-tag thing. You send mail around and hope that everyone reads it. And you also have the problem of somebody being missed or somebody joins the team later and trying to get them up to speed. This is the biggest advantage of Activities - when you introduce new people, email fails completely.
Design characteristics drive tool use. Design characteristics Limited structure Liberal access controls 23 Perceptions Lightweightness Shared Ownership It is not complicated from an organizational perspective. It is really a stream of consciousness. More traditional shared repositories have more structure and take more time to organize. It is a great place to quickly share information and get people connected, especially when you have a team that might expand as the event unfolds from 3 to 20 people involved in the Activity. It allows us to bring people in quickly.
Design characteristics drive tool use. Design characteristics Limited structure Liberal access controls 24 Perceptions Lightweightness Shared Ownership The flexibility at which an owner can just go in, create a new Activity and just start adding people. And then those people can just add other people, they don’t have to go back to the owner. That’s just amazing.
Summary For what purposes do users choose an ACC system among an ecology of many other workplace tools? Activities supported bounded, in-progressprojects. Does Lotus Activities, an ACC application, provide a solution to work fragmentation across tools? Activities helped, but does not eliminate fragmentation or the need for other tools for different tasks… Why? Wikis and repositories preferred for long-term archival use. Email contributes to fragmented tasks. 25
Thank you!Barton Smith, Jimmy Lin, Lana Yarosh Image Attributions http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorda/449428013/
Questions? ArunaBalakrishnan firstname.lastname@example.org Tara Matthews email@example.com Thomas P. Moran firstname.lastname@example.org Summary Activities supported bounded, in-progress projects. ACC system helped reduce fragmentation for a specific type of task.