Ethnographic Viewpoints - Related Papers

Ethnography and the social structure of work - David Martin & Ian Sommerville

Achieving dependable systems design and implementation is now considered to be a process where attention needs to be paid not only to the technical system but also to the social and work environment into which the system will be placed. Dependability is seen as a property of the whole socio-technical system. Socio-technical systems comprise, holistically, computer based systems and the social systems of work of the people that work with, through and around those computer based systems. It is ac- knowledged that particular consideration is required to understand how well the technical system will fit with the activities of the users in the proposed setting (the application domain). For instance, highly dependable technical systems may be part of an undependable socio-technical system because they are inappropriate to the setting and users. This chapter discusses the relationship between the social structure of work and the technical structure of a system and the importance of understanding that relationship when designing dependable socio-technical systems.

Martin, D. and Sommerville, I. (2005). Ethnography and the Social Structure of Work. In Structure for Dependability: Computer-Based Systems from an Interdisciplinary Perspective. Jones, C., Gacek, C. and Besnard, D. (eds). London: Springer. [Book chapter]

Process Viewpoints - Ian Sommerville, Gerald Kotonya, Steve Viller and Pete Sawyer

This paper discusses the need for a systematic framework which can be used to analyse software processes and derive process models. We propose the idea of process viewpoints which have associated process models and which incorporate questions about process and potential process improvement. The questions associated with each process viewpoint are derived from organisational concerns which must be explicitly identified. This work has been carried out in the context of a project which is investigating approaches to requirements engineering process improvement.

Sommerville, I., Kotonya, G., Sawyer, P. and Viller, S. (1995). Process viewpoints. Proc. 4th European Workshop on Software Process, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Heidleberg: Springer, 1995.

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.