DesignLab '96


Large (Workflow) System: Team 4 Report

The Problem

We worked on the Insurance Claims problem.

Team Background

Three of four designers were very experienced. One member had previous experience with workflow. One member was a student.

Team Dynamics

Shared leadership model with three of four members taking the lead at one point or another. There was little disagreement per se; most discussions were centered on trying to understand another member's point. The team was also self facilitating, with members pointing out when too much time was being spent on a specific topic or on side discussions. During debrief, each expressed having felt comfortable with where the other leaders were taking them. They were very comfortable with leaving design details unresolved.

Due to a logistical problem, there were two facilitators and no recorder. The second facilitator to arrive was asked to record instead. He agreed. It became evident very quickly that he was unable to keep up with the discussions (probably because English was not his native language) and other team members started taking turns recording the discussions on the flip charts. Eventually, the recorder left the room, never to return.

Design Process

Team recognized when they had insufficient information and regularly sought clarification from domain expert. Design flow was very iterative, with several visits to Class/Instance modeling, state diagrams, interaction discussions. No formal methodology was used; the team used a pragmatic highly iterative approach.

Many different notations were used. Each member used the notations they were familiar with and the others were able to understand. The specifics of the diagrams seemed less important than the verbal communication that accompanied it. During the debrief, the team commented that the notations were isomorphic so didn't matter.

Design Patterns played a very key role in communication of design concepts. The discussion often stopped when a design pattern was identified. The team felt they could move on without going into further detail.

Patterns Used

Report prepared by Gerard Meszaros.