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Company - Case Studies
The case studies listed below provide some examples of how TaskArchitect has been applied and adapted - by both experienced analysts and people new to task analysis.
You'll see that not only is TaskArchitect used by a very wide range of businesses on mission critical projects, the way that it has been applied is as unique as every customer. We designed TaskArchitect with that flexibility in mind - a task analysis tool should allow the analyst to freely apply their creativity to the project at hand. TaskArchitect is designed to be a hierarchical task analysis tool, which means that it supports all of the varieties of analysis methods based on HTA.
Virginia Modeling Analysis & Simulation Center - Task Analysis to support the Ohio-class Submarine Interior Communications Subsystem Life Cycle Support and Modernization Project
The Virginia Modeling Analysis & Simulation Center (VMASC) used TaskArchitect while conducting a task analysis in support of the Ohio-class Submarine Interior Communications (IC) Subsystem Life Cycle Support and Modernization Project for SPAWAR Charleston. The task analysis was part of a larger study intended to define user requirements and justification for life cycle support and potential integration and replacement of some or all components of the Submarine IC Subsystem. As an added benefit, the submarine squadron that participated in the task analysis used the results of our task analysis for training drills.
The task analysis included five techniques: hierarchical task analysis (HTA), personnel analysis (PA), communication analysis (CA), link analysis (LA), and systematic human error reduction and prediction approach (SHERPA). TaskArchitect helped us organize data collected during interviews into a format more suitable for observational data collection while underway on a submarine. In addition, TaskArchitect allowed us to easily combine and analyze the data collected from different TA techniques.
The following example shows how we associated the different types of task analysis data using TaskArchitect. Figure 1 is an HTA diagram of combating a fire in the engine room with communication-related sub-steps color coded by the IC subsystem used.
Data gathered from the different task analysis techniques were combined to create a temporally-anchored series of link analysis diagrams demonstrating the dynamic nature of submarine IC usage during a potentially life-threatening activity. Figure 2 contains a sample link analysis diagram of the four submarine platforms highlighting communication during the second level one operation: respond to the casualty (fire). The diagram was easily created by hand using the TaskArchitect reports feature.
The SHERPA was conducted on critical errors associated with communications task. The results for error probability and criticality were easily aggregated by communication subsystem and task sub-step using TaskArchitect. The results helped identify IC subsystems associated with a number of potential critical communication errors during a fire in the engine room, some with lethal consequences.
Center for Human Performance Research (Netherlands) - Cognitive Task Analysis of new air traffic control concepts
Like many of their counterparts around the world, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is currently wrestling with how to meet the demands of higher predicted air traffic in the coming years. As part of this effort, CHPR conducted a cognitive task analysis (CTA) of current "baseline" and possible future air traffic control concepts, including: new controller tools, new working methods, and even fundamentally new airspace layouts.
The main aim of the analysis was to identify (on the basis of CTA) potentially-critical issues, error modes and associated performance indicators to be explored in subsequent real time simulations of the new concepts. To this end, Task Architect was invaluable in carrying out the CTA, and helped facilitate focus group workshops with subject matter experts, as well as structuring results (both task flow and conditional logic) and subsequent review of the analysis. In the end, subject matter experts were quite impressed with the results: By systematically analyzing the potential introduction of new operational concepts, and stepping through task performance in a structured way, they were able to discover several critical (yet sometimes very subtle) aspects of task performance (e.g. task responsibility, decision voids, specific potential error modes, and key issues for training) that likely would not have otherwise become apparent.
Metro Development Solutions - Identification of tasks affected by the introduction of new systems
Metro Development Solutions is a consultancy based in the UK specializing in all aspects of change from HR policy to training services. The utilization of Task Architect supported an assignment for a large urban rail company in London..
Due to a major project, two job roles were affected by the introduction of new control systems. The supplier of these systems had produced detailed predictive task analyses of how these roles would use the new control systems.
It was essential for the client to understand the training need for staff moving to the new systems. In order to produce a Gap Analysis, a direct comparison between old and new systems was required resulting in the need for retrospective task analyses.
Task Architect was utilized for ease of use and speed of data entry. An important factor in making the comparison clear between the old and new was being able to clearly present the task analysis in a way that corresponded with the previously produced predictive task analysis.
Task Architect made the process easy. Irrespective of the order the tasks were observed in, the Task Architect interface allowed for them to be simply moved into the corresponding sections. This process was effortless due Task Architect’s automatic renumbering functionality. This significantly reduced production costs and lead time. In addition, Task Architect also provided powerful tools for entering task order and its easy to use define properties allowed for documentation of which support systems were used by staff when completing tasks. The results had the supplementary benefits of providing a greater understanding of how job roles were undertaken by staff – this had never been documented in detail before.
Once the task analysis had been completed, it was straightforward to identify the tasks (usually at the sub-task level) that were affected for the introduction of the new systems. This became the Gap Analysis and formed the backbone of training development.
Whilst Task Architect had made the process of task analysis clear and simple, it was also a very effective tool when it came to producing the final reports. It allowed for the results to be clearly presented both in hierarchal diagrams and tabular formats.
CAE Professional Services – Rapid collection of C130 maintenance task data
CAE Professional Services provides a unique combination of services - Project Management, Human Factors, Modelling & Simulation, Business Analysis & Usability, Emergency Management Analysis & Design. Their clients are from a range of markets, including High Tech, Defence, Aerospace, Process Control, Transportation, Biotechnology, and Homeland Defence.
They chose to use TaskArchitect when they were tasked by Research and Development Canada (DRDC) with analyzing human performance issues across all of the maintenance tasks for the C130 Hercules Aircraft in hot environments.
The key driver for choosing TaskArchitect was the speed of data entry. They had a relatively small amount of access to the subject matter experts and needed to make the most of that time. TaskArchitect was used to capture 300 tasks over a 4-5 hour session. They were able to gather the data, verify it with the end users and make modifications all in a single visit. Later, they recorded the data for mean task durations, task descriptions, task criticality and workload ratings and generated a comprehensive report for the customer.
During the project they compared TaskArchitect with the tool that they had traditionally used for capturing the task data, the front end to a modeling and simulation tool. It was clear that TaskArchitect’s high level of usability with functionality focused on supporting data gathering and early analysis enabled them to undertake data capture sessions that could not have been attempted with the previous tool set.
CAE Professional Services are continuing to apply TaskArchitect within their existing design processes and develop new approaches that will enable the speed and flexibility of TaskArchitect to bring significant business benefits to their clients.
Humansystems® Incorporated – Error analysis for a nuclear power provider
Humansystems® was founded in 1982 to provide Human Factors & Ergonomics support to Canadian industry, government and business. HSI® consultants' expertise and experience cover most aspects of Human Factors and Ergonomics. The HSI® framework allows them to undertake a range of projects in Human Factors / Ergonomics from office layout to full-scale research promptly and cost effectively. www.humansys.com
In two projects for a nuclear power provider Humansystems® chose TaskArchitect because of its’ integration of a graphical hierarchies of the tasks with user definable data collection forms. While other mixes of tools provided part of this functionality, none of them brought it together in a package to support Hierarchical Task Analysis.
Humansystems® project was to identify areas where errors would be reduced through the introduction of new designs for a standby generator and a chlorine injection system. A combination of the review of technical material, informal interview and equipment reviews allowed them to build a comprehensive list of tasks.
TaskArchitect’s ability to take the work out of moving tasks around, through automatic renumbering and adjustment of the hierarchy made the application of Hierarchical Task Analysis within the project both easier and faster. Features such as support for the structuring of plans made it easier to adopt a consistent style of analysis. The display of task data in columns next to the task list brought a level of familiarity to TaskArchitect, it looked like the kind of information they would traditionally collect using Excel. Simple export to Excel helped them to review the data with their subject matter experts at a distance, and new features such as the export of task hierarchy diagrams are anticipated to make bridging that distance even easier.
The clarity of the task hierarchy diagrams and their ease of production helped the analyst to review and interpret the data more easily than they could with more text based tools.
AirAffairs – Training needs analysis for the UK Military
Air Affairs was established in 1997 in response to demand by the UK Ministry of Defence and Armed Services for high-quality, independent training and human factors support. They have considerable expertise in carrying out team and individual Training Needs Analysis (TNA) development of competency frameworks and applied human factors research using techniques such as hierarchical task analysis and cognitive task analysis in a variety of military and non-military settings. http://www.airaffairs.co.uk/
Two examples of the projects where they have used TaskArchitect are a training needs analysis of the skills required to operate a bilge water separated system for the Royal Navy, and a team training needs analysis for the British Army.
The challenge of the project for the Navy was that the timescales were very tight. As an off-the-shelf product TaskArchitect was far easy to configure for the project than their previous tool, a bespoke database. The very short learning period for TaskArchitect meant that their consultants could be productive right from the beginning of the project.
They started by creating an operational task list of what a Royal Naval operator and maintainer would need to do. Using the task properties they collected information about the conditions, standards, difficulty, importance and frequency for the tasks and the results of the DIF algorithm, all of which were stored in TaskArchitect.
They found it so easy to create and edit task lists that they were able to develop them on the fly with subject matter experts, rather than making a first draft on paper then transferring it to a second tool for review. Automatic renumbering and indentation took a lot of the manual work out of the project. The clear presentation of the results made it easier for the analyst and the subject matter expert to review the analysis. This was particularly important on this project because of the size of the analysis.
They were able to develop the TaskArchitect properties to collect data about the tasks without having to resort to specialist expertise in order to configure the tool – which again saved time and made life easier. They liked the freedom of being able to structure the task information any way they needed for a project.
AirAffairs chose to copy the task lists directly from TaskArchitect and past them directly into Word in order to create their final report – they were very happy they didn’t need export data or deal with complicated templates to produce a report.
The team training needs analysis for the British Army examined the conversion to role for the Battle Field Light Utility Helicopter (BLUH). They analyzed the training requirements for crews and other platforms in order to work together to fly missions with the aircraft. They were able to re-use the TaskArchitect data structure developed in the earlier individual TNA, then quickly and simply add task properties to record information about the different roles involved.
Even small features of TaskArchitect such as being able to increase the font size of the task analysis data made the project easier because it made it more comfortable to spend time manipulating the data on screen.
AirAffairs are migrating their legacy data and new projects from a bespoke Access database to TaskArchitect because of the considerable cost and time savings and independence that TaskArchitect gives them. They anticipate using TaskArchitect in the development and analysis of competency frameworks.
CMC/DRDC – Support for a novel task analysis technique, unique reports and integration with a cognitive modeling tool
In a current project for Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) CMC is applying their extensive experience of Human Systems Integration to analyse a Command and Control System. Unique aspects of the project are a trial of Hierarchical Goal Analysis (HGA) as an approach to complex systems analysis, export of the data to the Integrated Performance Modelling Environment (IPME from Macro Analysis & Design) and export of the data for the creation of Operational Sequence Diagrams (OSDs).
TaskArchitect was used as the central tool for the capture of the data and as a conduit to the other analysis tools. The TaskArchitect team provided on-site support to the CMC team in order to assist with the application of TaskArchitect within the project. This included the assistance in the development of the data structure to support the Hierarchical Goal Analysis, customised reports to clearly show the structure of the data collected (Perceptual Control Theory Control Loops), and export of the data to both the Unix based IPME Tool and FORTRAN based OSD drawing tool.
TaskArchitect was chosen as the data collection tool for the project because of the ease of configuring it to new analysis methods, the speed of data entry and data display and the flexibility of output formats. The wide range of outputs helped with Subject Matter Expert Reviews and review of the project progress by the project sponsors. The ease of learning to use TaskArchitect meant that at times the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) could re-work the data in TaskArchitect to show the required changes. Because of these benefits it has become the central repository for the data, with easy export to IPME and CMC’s proprietary OSD drawing tool.
The export of Hierarchical Task Analysis data directly to IMPE, including perceptual and cognitive aspects of the tasks allowed the task networks to be automatically generated – saving time and increasing the ease of re-working the data set.
Export of the data to CMS’s OSD drawing tool meant that SMEs could review the data in Operational Sequence Diagrams, then on the fly the Hierarchical Goal Analysis data could be re-worked and re-presented for further review.
TaskArchitect’s rapid data entry and display, compared to the tools previously used (ACCESS and Excel) reduced the project timelines substantially and allowed the team to produce powerful reports and diagrams that they could not have contemplated trying to produce before. By enabling the easy movement of data between other tools during and after the reviews TaskArchitect has helped CMC and DRDC to create a very powerful tool suite.
Some of those success stories use TaskArchitect 'off the shelf' - in fact many of the businesses have switched to TaskArchitect because they wanted to move away from bespoke systems. We also support the development of custom features - unique reports, import and export functions and integration with existing tools - because we recognise that the closer our tool integrates with your existing processes and the fewer tools you have to use, the easier it is for you to do your work.
TaskArchitect has become the HTA tool of choice. What will you do with it?