We began our research with a literature review
and competetive analysis
to expand our understanding of the planning process and the collaboration that is involved in this domain. The literature review gave us insights into both the human and technological aspects that affect collaboration, as well as the analogous domain of operation room planning. The competitive analysis of commercial collaboration tools gave us an overview of what collaboration issues are currently being addressed and how the tools are addressing them.
The bulk of our research employed contextual design methodologies, which involve detailed observation of current user practices to understand the workflow and influences surrounding each user. The primary method used was , which is a special type of interview where we observe users in their workplace and ask questions in order to get an in-depth understanding of their work practices. We also conducted to flesh out and refine our understanding, as well as interviews in the form of retrospective contextual inquiries, in which the interviewee walks us through their daily activities, to get an understanding of domains that were otherwise inaccessible.
- Scientists were unable to communicate plans in a language engineers could use
- Specialized tools created fragmented planning workflow
- Ongoing local problem solving required immediate communication