The 7 Steps of Hierarchical Task Analysis: Part 7

REPORTING THE RESULTS OF YOUR HIERARCHICAL TASK ANALYSIS 

When you have finished your analysis, it is time to report your results to others.  In this post, we are going to tell you exactly how to construct your report in a clear and professional manner.

INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

Review the need that caused the analysis to be conducted in the first plant.  Explain how the goals of the task analysis meet those needs.  Clearly identify the objectives of the analysis:

1.    Objective One
2.   Objective Two
3.   Objective Three

METHODOLOGY 

Provide a detailed account of how the analysis was conducted. Include the procedures you used and where you collected your data from. Describe any particular exercises or drills you conducted and whether these were real task operations, enactments, or simulator trials. Report when subject matter experts were used to obtain task descriptions.

GUIDANCE FOR THE READER

Do not assume your reader understands task analysis.  This section doesn’t need to be long but you should include sufficient help and guidance so the expected reader can follow what was done in the analysis, the reasons for the methods, and how the data may be interpreted.

ASSUMPTIONS

There are always assumptions in a task analysis in regard to the way the real task is carried out. Typically, these assumptions will refer to the expected manning of the plant, the status of tasks being undertaken in parallel, and the availability of particular plant equipment. Clearly list your assumptions.

RESULTS OF THE ANALYSIS

This is where you report the results of your task analysis.  We recommend using diagrams as much as possible to communicate your work.

A.    A left-to-right, or overview, slide provides a summary overview of the scope and level of detail achieved in the analysis.
B.    A table is used to display the tasks on the left and specific properties that represent important results from the analysis.
C.    A timeline chart is used when time sequences need to be displayed.
D.    A link analysis is used when identifying relationships between properties like communications between operators.
E.    An annotated image may be useful when you need to demonstrate what the interface or environment of the task is like.

FINDINGS

The findings from the analysis should be set out to correspond to the objectives of the analysis. Generally, these will be reported in terms of the tasks under investigation. For each task there will be findings in regard to the various decomposition categories used in the analysis. It is usual to list those findings where there is an apparent mismatch between the particular task requirements and the provisions made to support the operators when undertaking it. The findings should provide sufficient detail so that the report reader can understand how the conclusion was reached and be clear about its implications.

A.    Finding associated with Objective 1
B.    Finding associated with Objective 2
C.    Etc.

RECOMMENDATIONS

It is usual to summarize the findings as a list of recommendations. The recommendation should reference the particular task and the finding. In addition, where appropriate, it should propose remedial measures to meet the reported issue or mismatch. 

Recommendations should be prioritized according to an agreed classification. The usual scheme, in the case of safety case assessments, is to assign the recommendations into three categories as follows:

Essential: Issue addressed presents a direct challenge to safety.

Desirable: Modifications that can benefit reliability and safety, but if not implemented are unlikely to present a direct challenge to safety.

Advisory: Issue addressed is not a significant safety/reliability improvement.

IMPLEMENTATION

Many reports stop with recommendations, but we recommend you go one step further and explain the consequences of the recommendations.  If your recommendations are going to affect the cost, schedule, or achievability of the organization.  Explain that clearly here.

You should also consider how to monitor any proposed changes to ensure that intended results are achieved.  This may require establishing metrics to track tasks and properties of concern.  This is the only way to ensure the original concerns of the analysis will be met.