Thursday, April 16, 2015

Task productivity -- reviewing another researcher's Evernote account

One of my colleagues recently mentioned that he had collected some information related to task management and he shared his Evernote folder. It's always an interesting experience to look within another person's Evernote account. It's like being shown a messy basement or a hoarder's garage. Regardless, I found some interesting information:

Lazar et. al. User frustration with technology in the workplace. 

It comes out of Ben Shneiderman's lab so it must be okay... right? So they collected modified time diaries from 50 people in the workplace. They reported wasting 42-43% of their time on the computer due to "frustrating experiences".

The study is old but it gives us some sense of the time lost in a "frustrating experience":

  • email 23.8 minutes
  • word processing 36
  • web browsing 14.4
  • spreadsheet 67.1

Stoitsev et al. 2008. From personal task management to end-user driven business process modeling.

This seems interesting. It was written by an SAP lab and focuses on individual level work modeling. And it still seems a bit heavy-handed.

Du et al. 2009. Work experience reuse in pattern based task management.

Another SAP paper... which makes me nervous. So this is really about recognizing "task patterns" so that we can enable "task copy" i.e., doing the same kinds of things in the same kids of ways. To detemrine these things we have to use a "task journal". We are looking for "experience reuse". Apparently the "UAM project" (Moran, Moody, Cozzi) does something similar. The activity pattern is presented as a checklist with a bunch of worksteps.

So we have to identify process and tasks. Tasks can then have checklists. These checklists than indicate similarity.

Riss et al. 2005. Challenges for business process and task management. Journal of universal knowledge management.

SAP author... again. And it seems complicated... again.

Robertson et. al. Scalable fabric: flexible task management. 

Okay, this one is from Microsoft. Let's see what we get. It seems to be about moving windows and resizing them to enable efficiencies... not a big deal.

End user productivity revisited. July 2011. The Register, Microsoft, Freeform Dynamics. This technical report actually has some nice graphs that I can probably use.

n = 357 IT and business professionals.

This thing introduces some interesting numbers related to what an important measure of productivity could be:

A nice quote: "The top three elements chosen by our respondents clearly show that productivity is as much about individual effectiveness as it about the factors that help an individual to be effective"

Most organizations don't actually do very well on these things:


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