[unrev-II] Structured interactions in an OHS

From: Garold L. Johnson (dynalt@dynalt.com)
Date: Sun Apr 08 2001 - 05:32:17 PDT

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    Several studies have shown that there are some difficulties in trying to
    capture discussion in specific interaction patterns such as IBIS. The major
    difficulty appears to be an unwillingness of participants to commit to
    structure too early.

    My experience suggests that any categorization scheme needs to supply one or
    more ‘miscellaneous’ bins in order to be flexible enough to work well. E.g.,
    IBIS need a ‘comment’ option and probably an ‘information’ option in
    addition to its current choices. Both comments (my personal input), and
    information (from other sources) may not be fully categorized or separated
    into concerns when they are generated, which is why they don’t fall into any
    of the predefined categories.

    It follows that it must be possible to rearrange (refactor, anneal) the
    information in such a system after the initial entry.

    David Parnas wrote a paper called “A rational Design Process: How and Why to
    Fake It” in which he points out that no real system was ever built strictly
    top down in a single pass, but that we can create a documentation set that
    is what it would have been had we built it that way. This is the way
    mathematics is presented in any good textbook – as an orderly progression of
    thought, which is quite different from the way it actually happened.

    I believe that systems such as IBIS are far more useful if they have this
    flavor of ‘this is how the discussion would have gone if we knew at the
    beginning what we know at the end’. Don’t make the initial input into the
    discussion structure too rigid, and provide ways to reorganize the input
    into the structure that hindsight shows to be what we would have liked to
    have been smart enough to do in the first place.


    Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
    DYNAMIC Alternatives <http://www.dynalt.com/>

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