Print Email Facebook Twitter Time Trace: Visual Project Management for Designers Title Time Trace: Visual Project Management for Designers Author Borthwick, M.E.G. Contributor Pasman, G.J. (mentor) Stappers, P.J. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Industrial Design Programme Master of Science Design for Interaction Date 2010-03-19 Abstract Time management is an essential part of every company, and the amount of energy devoted to keeping a business running smoothly can be surprisingly large. To keep track of the relevant factors there are a variety of management tools available, with different focuses and purposes. Companies tend to use a mix of these tools to fit their specific needs, and also use self-created tools such as whiteboards and checklists. Because time management is scattered over many tools, there is limited flexibility to update a project when something changes. The majority is text and numerically based, which makes them slower to update, and means that people cannot gain an overview of their situation without reading a lot. In the case of designers, the complexity of the situation increases. Most tools are suited to businesses with well-structured processes. This doesn’t match with the needs of designers, who have a less structured process. Expert designers tend to work intuitively, so time plans are followed ‘opportunistically’; only for as long as they are of benefit. Task durations are difficult to estimate, since there is great variation between projects. Also, one good idea can change a whole plan, so the need for a flexible tool is even greater. To have such a tool, that was used consistently, would also mean that planning knowledge could be recorded accurately for use in the future. Primary research conducted at Kiss the Frog Productions B.V. (referred to as KTF) confirmed these assumptions, and revealed deeper insights into what planning factors make a project effective and satisfying to work on. Using the results of this study, a prototype was created for a new time management system. This prototype was tested with four design companies to gain further insights for its development. The end result, TimeTrace, is a living, breathing time planning software for design companies, which gives an accurate visualisation of what is happening with all design projects at all times. The default screen is an overview, showing a visualisation of all projects. This screen is used to create popup windows, which extract the relevant information needed for planning activities, by any person at any moment. All visualisations can be directly manipulated to change the plan, without the need to type in a lot of text/numbers. Information is synchronised to update across the whole system. TimeTrace addresses the problems and insights uncovered throughout the project, and in doing so effects changes to three paradigms of current time management processes: Visual not Numerical: unlike most management programs, TimeTrace does not present project data using numbers. All time-related information is represented through visual proportions, and elements such as people and projects are represented through icons and colour codes. This makes it fast to ‘read’ and flexible to adjust. It is also more in keeping with how people perceive the passing of time; as proportions of their day orweek; not numerical figures. Shared Responsibility: the usual management scheme for companies is top-down; project managers make the decisions. TimeTrace encourages managers to benefit from their employees knowledge, by providing a system that can be contributed to by everyone, and ensures that everyone stays informed. Situational Awareness: Plans are usually used to provide a framework at the beginning of a project, and are intended to be followed as closely as possible, and updated when necessary. For designer, this close following of the plan is not a reality, so TimeTrace instead puts the focus on offering continuous situational awareness. Instead of making decisions based on the initial plan, it is possible to make decisions based on the reality of how the project and organisation is running at any given moment. It stays up to date by doubling as a financial system; when tasks are confirmed for financial purposes, they are fed back into the system and used to renew the visualisations. TimeTrace is also a very important record for the company. It stores all past project information, so that it may be of help in making future plans. Information about the usual duration of tasks is offered as suggestions, when a new plan is being made. It also keeps a record of the typical process of the company; by detailing the main phases and sub-phases of a project, project managers and designers are reminded of the full range of the tool box they can draw on for every project. Subject interfacetime managementproject managementinformation designsituational awarenesssoftwareinteractiondesign To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:cc85f9bc-78c1-4c85-b062-5821fcca6325 Embargo date 2011-03-19 Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2010 Borthwick, M.E.G.