An Informal Introduction to Task Modelling
After a presentation of what task modelling is and what it can be used for, I used to show this example to raise awareness among the audience about the difference between effective and useless task models. The demonstration unfolds into the the 3 (clickable) images below. The link in italics allows to operate an animation of the system.
- The system to be modelled
- Play with the animated system to understand it thoroughly
- An awkward task model of it
- A convenient task model
Comprehensive presentation of TIM (Task-oriented Information Modelling), a formal language allowing to describe work.
This paper describes a method for system design based on task modelling, alongside with a software allowing to set up task models and translate them into UML use cases and use case descriptions. Some major task modelling methods are briefly considered to point at the broad context in which the conceptual framework has been designed. While introducing a resolute user-centered bias in the design process, the method builds on a simple set of categories (objects, facets, operations) combining into the descriptions and actions that populate task content (pre-and post-conditions, input, output, steps). As combination types are very limited, formal expressions translate easily into the controlled language used to specify tasks within the software.
This paper describes a practical method to include task modelling into Unified Modeling Language-based (UML-based) software engineering. The reason for this undertaking is increasing awareness of the capability and handiness of task models to picture the functionalities of a system (as awaited by customers), but also the lack of expressive power of UML use case diagrams, when underspecified, to make the functionalities of a system fully understandable to software developers.
The described method builds on a task modelling software, a plugin transforming task models into use case diagrams and use case descriptions, and a UML software enabling to display use case diagrams. The plugin puts a set of rules interpreting the content of task models at work, in order to generate an XML file readable by the UML software, and a ready-to-use PDF output containing the use case descriptions.
The advantages of this workflow are to enforce the link between the different project stakeholders (customer, architect, developers), to allow for cost-free iterations affecting the requirement scheme, to enable usable incremental modelling and to introduce interface design into the first step of the design process.
This report aims at stressing the differences between a structured content standard often used for technical documentation engineering and a formal language designed for the description of work, which can be used to produce technical documentation but does not draw its structure from document content, as does the DITA standard.