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CHIMIT Tables of Contents: 0708091011

Proceedings of the 2007 Symposium on Computer Human Interaction for the Management of Information Technology

Fullname:Proceedings of the 2007 Symposium on Computer Human Interaction for the Management of Information Technology
Editors:Eser Kandogan; Patricia M. Jones
Location:Cambridge, Massachusetts
Dates:2007-Mar-30 to 2007-Mar-31
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISBN: 1-59593-635-1, 978-1-59593-635-6; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: CHIMIT07
Papers:22
Pages:124
Links:Conference Home Page
  1. Studies of systems management
  2. Designing for IT management
  3. Technology and use
  4. Usability and security
  5. Poster session

Studies of systems management

Design guidelines for system administration tools developed through ethnographic field studies BIBAFull-Text 1
  Eben M. Haber; John Bailey
Information Technology system administrators (sysadmins) perform the crucial and never-ending work of maintaining the technical infrastructure on which our society depends. Computer systems grow more complex every year, however, and the cost of administration is an ever increasing fraction of total system cost - IT systems are growing harder to manage. To better understand this problem, we undertook a series of field studies of system administration work over the past four years, visiting a variety of enterprise and large university sites. One of our most compelling observations was how often the tools used by system administrators were not well aligned with their work practices. We believe that this misalignment was the result of administration tools designed without a complete understanding of the full context of administration work. To promote the design of better tools, this paper describes system administration work in more detail based on examples from our field studies, outlines the dimensions along which enterprise sysadmins differ significantly from other computer users, and provides a set of guidelines for tools to better support how administrators actually work.
Deciding when to trust automation in a policy-based city management game: policity BIBAFull-Text 2
  Kenya Freeman Oduor; Christopher S. Campbell
As businesses and governments strive to improve productivity and deploy more elaborate IT systems, the need for complex systems management grows. Completely automated systems are not yet a reality, so the benefits that automation offers can only be achieved through collaboration with human operators. The question, however, is what factors influence decisions about how this human-computer relationship will be coordinated? A great deal of research has pointed to trust and perceived reliability as key factors in whether automation will be properly used, misused, or disused in systems management. To explore this question, we conducted an experiment in which an automated decision aid presented suggestions or policies to participants while they managed a simulated city (i.e., Policity). The goal was to maximize the health of the city's population by adding hospitals, housing, businesses and other facilities and services. Participants were randomly assigned to conditions where the decision aid performed with varying (i.e., high or low) reliability levels. Results showed that users' perception of the decision aid's reliability directly influenced their trust in the decision aid. Consequently, the relationship between users' perceived reliability and the decision aid's (actual) reliability had a direct effect on human performance. Population health suffered when the decision aid's suggestions were disused and misused compared to when they were appropriately used. Additional results and implications are discussed.
Towards an understanding of decision complexity in IT configuration BIBAFull-Text 3
  Bin Lin; Aaron B. Brown; Joseph L. Hellerstein
In previous work we laid out an approach to quantifying configuration complexity [3]. In that earlier work, we explicitly focused on complexity as experienced by expert systems managers, and thus looked at straight-line configuration procedures, ignoring the complexity faced by non-experts as they have to decide what configuration steps to follow. Decision complexity is the complexity faced by a non-expert system administrator -- the person providing IT support in a small-business environment, who is confronted by decisions during the configuration process, and is a measure of how easy or hard it is to identify the appropriate sequence of configuration actions to perform in order to achieve a specified configuration goal. To identify spots of high decision-making complexity, we need a model of decision complexity for configuring and operating computing systems. This paper extends previous work on models and metrics for IT configuration complexity by adding the concept of decision complexity. As the first step towards a complete model of decision complexity, we describe an extensive user study of decision making in a carefully-mapped analogous domain (route planning), and illustrate how the results of that study suggest an initial model of decision complexity applicable to IT configuration. The model identifies the key factors affecting decision complexity and highlights several interesting results, including the fact that decision complexity has significantly different impacts on user-perceived difficulty than on objective measures like time and error rate. We also describe some of the implications of our decision complexity model for system designers seeking to automate the decision-making and reduce the configuration complexity of their systems.

Designing for IT management

Cube management system: a tangible interface for monitoring large scale systems BIBAFull-Text 4
  Elliot Jaffe; Aviva Dayan; Amnon Dekel
Data Centers and Network Operation Centers focus on the challenge of monitoring thousands of devices. They attempt to quickly identify unusual or aberrant behavior. Once the device or problem area has been identified, it is handed off to another team for further investigation and repair. In this paper we present a monitoring system for large-scale installations which uses a tangible interface to reduce the cognitive demand on the administrators and which provides a natural mechanism for handling multiple failures and for delegating tasks among several administrators.
Activity-based management of IT service delivery BIBAFull-Text 5
  John Bailey; Eser Kandogan; Eben Haber; Paul P. Maglio
Growth, adaptability, innovation, and cost control are leading concerns of businesses, especially with respect to use of information technology (IT). Though standards such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) offer the potential for cost savings through the use of formal processes and best practices, such top-down approaches tend to be either highlevel - often far removed from the actual work - or low-level - often inflexible given the rapid pace of technology and market change. We conducted field studies to examine work practices in IT service delivery. Our results suggest that unstructured work activities comprise a significant and vital portion of the overall work done by people in IT service delivery. These activities include negotiating work items and schedules, seeking and providing information and expertise, and using and sharing custom tools and practices. Unstructured activities are conducted in parallel to formal, structured IT service processes, but are not well supported by existing integrated tooling. Thus, they are not easily accounted for and rarely result in reusable assets or feedback to improve the formal IT processes. Based on these findings, we propose an administrator workspace aimed specifically at blending structured and unstructured work activities to support effective, reusable, and quantifiable IT service delivery.
IT ecosystems: evolved complexity and unintelligent design BIBAFull-Text 6
  James L. Lentz; Terry M. Bleizeffer
Modern enterprise IT systems consist of many specialized functional components, often designed by multiple vendors, interconnected in a plethora of permutations to accomplish different goals. An increasingly large number of technical specialists support these systems. Designers of system administration and management tools for these environments must address complexity issues arising from variations in system architectures and topologies, integration between new and legacy systems as well as internal processes and organizational culture. This paper describes aspects of variability within and between IT environments and discusses approaches for managing complexity.

Technology and use

Network-centricity: hindered by hierarchical anchors BIBAFull-Text 7
  Steve Abrams; Gloria Mark
Network-centricity is a concept under consideration as a useful paradigm for complex organizational operations, combining the strengths of bureaucracy with the innovative possibilities afforded by the ongoing explosion of information and communication technologies. Network-centric work (NCW) is that in which the activities associated with work are conducted via informal self-directed networks of people, occurring within an environment enabled by technological and organizational infrastructure. NCW cuts across boundaries within and between organizations and engages participants with more regard for their expertise and motivation than their formal roles. Network-centric organizations embrace NCW alongside bureaucracies oriented to providing the resources and articulating the vision to which the NCW is to be oriented. Network-centricity is motivated by a desire for rapid adaptation and flexibility to changing circumstances. However, in an ethnographic study of a distributed team deployed by a large corporation seeking to benefit from a network-centric approach, we found that the work of the distributed team was hindered by some team members "anchoring" to bureaucratic work practices instead of supporting network-centric practices. We identify several such anchor points and the ways in which they impeded network-centric work.
Managing technology use and learning in nonprofit community organizations: methodological challenges and opportunities BIBAFull-Text 8
  Cecelia Merkel; Umer Farooq; Lu Xiao; Craig Ganoe; Mary Beth Rosson; John M. Carroll
We are investigating how to empower nonprofit community organizations to develop the information technology management practices required to carry out their civic goals. We highlight our methodology of working with nonprofit organizations through three case examples from the field. These examples illustrate that nonprofit organizations are able to and can indeed sustain their IT management practices through various methodological techniques. These techniques -- such as scenario development, technology inventory assessment, and volunteer management practices -- emphasize the importance of long-term critical planning and design skills. Based on our fieldwork, we enumerate lessons that may be valuable for community stakeholders, designers, researchers, and practitioners.
Supporting expertise awareness: finding out what others know BIBAFull-Text 9
  Christian Dörner; Volkmar Pipek; Markus Won
This paper presents an innovative approach to solve the problem of missing transparency of competencies within virtual organizations. We based our work on empirical studies to cope with the problem of competence finding in distributed organizations. Former studies have shown that central storage of expertise profiles is inappropriate due to missing flexibility and high costs of maintenance. The focus of our approach is to support peripheral awareness to become aware of the available competences in organizations. Our approach runs along two lines: making expertise-related communication visible for all members of an organization and visualizing competence-indicating events in collaboration infrastructures. We verified this approach by the evaluation of a prototypical implementation.

Usability and security

Looking for trouble: understanding end-user security management BIBAFull-Text 10
  Joshua B. Gross; Mary Beth Rosson
End users are often cast as the weak link in computer security; they fall victim to social engineering and tend to know very little about security technology and policies. This paper challenges this view as derogatory and unconstructive, arguing that users, as agents of organizations, often have sophisticated strategies regarding sensitive data, and are quite cautious. Existing work on user security practice has failed to consider how users view security; this paper provides content on and analysis of end user perspectives on security management. We suggest that properly designed systems would bridge the knowledge gap (where necessary) and mask levels of detail (where possible), allowing users to manage their security needs in synchrony with the needs of the organization. The evidence for our arguments comes from a set of in-depth interviews with users with no special training on, knowledge of, or interest in computer security. We conclude with guidelines for security and privacy tools that better leverage existing users knowledge.
User help techniques for usable security BIBAFull-Text 11
  Almut Herzog; Nahid Shahmehri
There are a number of security-critical applications such as personal firewalls, web browsers and e-mail clients, whose users have little or no security knowledge and are easily confused, even frustrated by menus, messages or dialog boxes that deal with security issues.
   While there are evaluations of existing applications and proposals for new approaches or design guidelines for usable security applications, little effort has been invested in determining how applications can help users in security decisions and security tasks. The purpose of this work is to analyse conventional and security-specific user help techniques with regard to their usefulness in supporting lay users in security applications.
   We analyse the following help techniques: online documentation, context-sensitive help, wizards, assistants, safe staging and social navigation, and complement these with the tempting alternative of built-in, hidden security. Criteria for the analysis are derived from the type of user questions that can arise in applications and from definitions of when a security application can be called usable.
   Designers of security applications can use our analysis as general recommendations for when and how to use and combine user help techniques in security applications, but they can also use the analysis as a template. They can instantiate the template for their specific application to arrive at a concrete analysis of which user help techniques are most suitable in their specific case.

Poster session

Integration and organization of information for display BIBAFull-Text P1
  Asaf Degani; Michael Shafto; Leonard Olson
In this poster we present several methods for abstracting data into information and then integrating and organizing it for the purpose of display. We use an example from analysis of pilot-automation interaction to illustrate some of the underlying concepts.
   In this poster we present several methods for abstracting data into information and then integrating and organizing it for the purpose of display. We use an example from analysis of pilot-automation interaction to illustrate some of the underlying concepts.
Understanding documentation value in software maintenance BIBAFull-Text P2
  Sumita Das; Wayne G. Lutters; Carolyn B. Seaman
This study examines effective documentation use in software maintenance. Interviews with software maintainers, with diverse levels of experience, revealed three themes: reliance on source code, characteristics of useful documents, and the interplay between people in the maintenance environment and documentation. All of these findings improve our understanding of the role of documentation in maintenance. This awareness has practical import - project managers can fund the most useful forms of documentation and maintainers can improve their ability to locate and reuse this information.
Managing collaborative activities in project management BIBAFull-Text P3
  Shaoke Zhang; Chen Zhao; Qiang Zhang; Hui Su; Haiyan Guo; Jie Cui; Yingxin Pan; Paul Moody
People working with current ad-hoc collaboration tools suffer from information overload and information scattered. Our five-month study of project managers found their work was comprised of fragmented activities implicitly organized by activity threads. Most of these activities were communicative to track and report project status, which introduced frequent interruptions and low efficiency. Accordingly, we explored an activity centered approach to help them manage work information. In our Activity Centric Project Management prototype, solutions like integrating activity with project task, providing timely activity awareness based on RSS, utilizing activity data to generate status report, and allowing third-party easily to update task status were introduced.
Bridging artifacts and actors: supporting knowledge and expertise sharing work practices through technology BIBAFull-Text P4
  Aditya Johri; Volkmar Pipek; Volker Wulf; Michael Veith
In this paper we present findings from longitudinal case studies examining work practices in three different organizations. We propose that knowledge and expertise sharing (KES) within organizations can be supported by focusing on two mutually intertwined elements -- artifacts and actors -- and their interaction within a particular setting. We find that a closer examination of work practices helps in developing better support as the new design meshes well with technology already available within the organization. In this paper we discuss our research and design methodology and present specific technological modifications we introduced in organizational work practices.
Midweight collaborative remembering: wikis in the workplace BIBAFull-Text P5
  Kevin F. White; Wayne G. Lutters
This paper presents preliminary findings from a series of semi-structured telephone interviews regarding the use of wikis in the workplace. At both technical and non-technical organizations issues included article creation, management support, critical mass, and trust.
Telling the user's story BIBAFull-Text P6
  Virginia Hill; Velda Bartek
In this paper, we describe how user roles and persona accurately target a product's audience. Beginning with the definition of user roles and personas, we show how user roles feed the persona creation process. Personas then serve as the primary design communication vehicle within the product team.
Transcending organizational boundaries: virtual team approach in UI guideline development BIBAFull-Text P7
  Richard E. Cordes; Thomas M. Spine
This paper covers the experience of creating the IBM Web Application User Interface Design guidelines. The guidelines represent the integration of five other guideline sets that were in use at IBM. This paper discusses how the guidelines were developed, problems encountered, and lessons learned in that process. Some of the problems included difficulty in finding realistic examples of guideline topics, too much time spent on low-level detail with not enough on developing design patterns, and the time constraints of the virtual team. Recommendations for overcoming these issues are given.
Understanding complex IT environments using information analytics and visualization BIBAFull-Text P8
  Amit Behal; Ying Chen; Cheryl Kieliszewski; Ana Lelescu; Bin He; Jie Cui; Jeffrey Kreulen; Michael Maximilien; James Rhodes; Scott Spangler
Today's business environments are going through several major transformations. First, most business environments are increasingly dependent upon vast amount of information. However, in part because of sheer volume, effective use of information is becoming more and more difficult. Second, the IT environments that support businesses are evolving from a simple machine- and automation-centric operational model to a complex people- and interactive service-centric operational model. Where, it becomes critical to analyze and understand the relationships between people, their skills, technologies, and organizations and effectively leverage human and technological resources to drive service delivery excellence and innovation. Unfortunately, very few tools exist to leverage the available information and analyze such relationships. This paper describes a solution, called "Business Insights Workbench" (BIW), which couples a number of information analytics techniques with a unique set of visualizations to help uncover hidden relationships among the key factors of the business environment (e.g., people, their skills, technologies, and organizations). Such understanding can bring many benefits to IT organizations, e.g., effective staffing for projects, collaboration and knowledge sharing, and technology growth and innovation. We use an IT business consulting services (IT BCS) organization as an example to illustrate our approach.
Using a process graph to improve system-user knowledge sharing BIBAFull-Text P9
  Tamara Babaian; Wendy Lucas; Heikki Topi
We present our approach to addressing a critical design issue affecting users of ERP systems: the lack of transparency of the underlying business process model. To enhance system-to-user communication involving complex process flows, we have implemented a dynamic process graph and a set of related task links that are displayed alongside the traditional ERP task interface. This solution can also benefit other applications involving prolonged processes that are unfamiliar to the user.
The small world and scale-free structure of an internet technical community BIBAFull-Text P10
  Jie Yan; Dimitris Assimakopoulos
In this paper, we analyse the structure of the questioning and replying network in a very large Internet technical community, China Software Development Net (CSDN). Results reveal that the CSDN network presents both 'small world' and 'scale free' properties. The technology and knowledge management implications for this network structure are discussed with respect to technical knowledge and innovation diffusion.
Using SITDRM for privacy rights management BIBAFull-Text P11
  Farzad Salim; Nicholas Paul Sheppard; Reihaneh Safavi-Naini
SITDRM is a privacy protection system that protects private data through the enforcement of MPEG REL licenses provided by consumers. Direct issuing of licenses by consumers has several usability problems that will be mentioned in this paper. Further, we will describe how SITDRM incorporates P3P language to provide a consumer-centered privacy protection system.