Our third major lesson was not part of our original set of hypotheses: workflow assistance is needed to show simple tool uses while enabling wide flexibility of use. About midway through our project, we encountered increasing objections from tool users and prospective tool users that the large number of information categories was daunting. Some users objected that it is just too much information to provide, while others bravely tried to enter information for every
information category even when the category did not match the needs of the project.
While it was never intended that every project should have information for every information category, it was clear that we had not communicated this idea
to our prospective users and that the display of these categories in the tool user interface complicated the entry and review of ConOps information. Initially, we planned to describe the intended relationship between project goals and
individual information categories in the situated help files, tutorials, and user manuals. Because this placed a burden on the tool user, we made explicit links between the intended ConOps products and the associated information categories, and we integrated those links into the tool.
We added a display for inspecting these relationships that provides workflow assistance to the user. Using this feature, users can see what information categories best support their intended use of the tool. In retrospect, it is possible to consider these project goals as use cases for the Storyboard Tool. As such, the concept of workflow assistance can be viewed as arising from a high-level analysis of the storyboard author’s tasks.
Replaced/Superseded by document(s)
A concept of operations Storyboard Tool was developed to assist authors in building a concept of operations for a new system, refining it with stakeholders, and using it to support subsequent development activities. It was developed iteratively, testing iterations by using the tool to support ongoing research and
development projects at NASA Johnson Space Center. In this paper, we present lessons learned about integrating sketches and descriptions for clearer communication, the benefits of organizing descriptive information as structured data, and assisting the process of concept development. We also discuss the value of supporting workflow process and the role of human factors in systems engineering.