Coherence - Related Papers

The papers here provide more detail about the Coherence method. The first paper below is a good starting point.

Social analysis in the requirements engineering process: from ethnography to method - Stephen Viller & Ian Sommerville

Over a number of years, we have been involved in investigations into using workplace observation to inform requirements for complex systems. This paper discusses how our work has evolved from ethnography with prototyping, through presentation of ethnographic fieldwork, to developing a method for social analysis that has been derived from our experience of applying ethnographic techniques. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of these approaches with a particular focus on our most recent work in developing the Coherence method. This method is based on a fusion of viewpoint-oriented and ethnographic approaches to requirements engineering and uses an industry-standard notation (UML) to represent knowledge of work. We use a common example of an air traffic control system to illustrate each approach.

Viller S. and Sommerville I. (1999). Social Analysis in the Requirements Engineering Process: From Ethnography to Method. Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Requirements Engineering (RE ’99), Limerick, Ireland, IEEE Computer Society Press, 6-13.

Coherence: an Approach to Representing Ethnographic Analyses in Systems Design - Stephen Viller and Ian Sommerville

This paper is concerned with how to represent in system design the kinds of features of work settings as reported by ethnographic studies of work. Various researchers and practitioners have found that ethnomethodological analyses of work settings can provide useful insights to the work processes and settings that system design is interested in. Previously at Lancaster, we have examined ways in which ethnography can be used in the design process, and how the results of ethnographic analyses can be presented in such a way as to be useful components of the design process. This paper reflects an effort to approach these methodological issues from a different perspective, by examining how the lessons learned from ethnographic studies can be reflected in the design process itself, and in particular how design artefacts (models, documents, etc.) can express the type of information which ethnographic studies produce.

Viller, S. and Sommerville, I. (1999). Coherence: an approach to representing ethnographic analyses in system design. Human-Computer Interaction, 14, 9-41.

Ethnographically informed analysis for software engineers - S Viller, I Sommerville

It is increasingly recognized that human, social, and political factors have a significant impact on software systems design. To address this, ethnographic studies of work have been used to inform the systems design process, especially in cooperative work settings where systems support several users working together. Based on our experience of these studies, we have investigated the integration of social analysis into the systems design process by developing an integrated approach to social and object-oriented analysis. New methods are unlikely to be adopted in industry unless they can be integrated with existing practice. Our approach, called Coherence, addresses this issue by helping identify use cases, generating initial use case models, and by using the Unified Modelling Language (UML) to represent social aspects of work that may have an impact on the design of computer-based systems. Coherence is the fusion of two well-established strands of research on ethnographically informed design and viewpoint-oriented require- ments engineering. This paper introduces Coherence, and focuses on the support provided for social analysis. We have identified three social viewpoints, namely a distributed coordination viewpoint, a plans and procedures viewpoint and an awareness of work viewpoint. Coherence is illustrated using a case study based on an air traffic control system.

Viller S. and Sommerville I. (2000). Ethnographically informed analysis for software engineers. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 53 (1) : 169-196.

Presenting ethnography in the requirements process - John Hughes, Jon O'Brien, Tom Rodden, Mark Rouncefield and Ian Sommerville

In this paper we argue that industrial development of interactive systems has to recognise the social dimension of work if they are to fully meet the real needs of their users Under current approaches this depends on whether an individual requirements engineer implicitly applies a user-centred approach and recognises the importance of cooperation and is sufficiently sympathetic and intuitive to understand the work and reflect this in the system requirements. We wish to move beyond this by allowing for the provision of a more systematic incorporation of the social dimensions of work. To this end we focus on developing a number of alternative models for involving ethnography in the requirements process and a more systematic approach to the presentation of ethnographic material. Our approach to presented ethnographic information is based on the use of number of defined viewpoints and is embodied within a general hypertext tool.

Rodden, T., Sommerville, I., Hughes, J., O’Brien, J. and Rouncefield, M. (1995). Presenting Ethnography in the Requirements Process. Proc. RE95, 27-35, York. IEEE Computer Society Press.