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Task Analysis
Human Resources » Training & Education

Chrm Message From: nethra_khushi Total Posts: 20 Join Date: 07/02/2007
Rank: Executive Post Date: 07/02/2007 01:45:38 Points: 100 Location: United States

Hello Colleagues,

I am new to chrm but am feeling overwhelemd with joy to see all the relevant info at one place to look for. I have a query for which I am raising this message posting.

What is Task Analysis?
What is its relation with respect to Training?

Your assistance in  this regard shall be really helpful ; )

Warm Regards
Nethra R


Chrm Message From: tesmian Total Posts: 63 Join Date: 07/02/2007  
Rank: Manager Post Date: 07/02/2007 10:37:48 Points: 315 Location: United States

Dear Nethra,

Task analysis analyses what a user is required to do in terms of actions and/or cognitive processes to achieve a task. A detailed task analysis can be conducted to understand the current system and the information flows within it. These information flows are important to the maintenance of the existing system and must be incorporated or substituted in any new system. Task analysis makes it possible to design and allocate tasks appropriately within the new system. The functions to be included within the system and the user interface can then be accurately specified.

Provides knowledge of the tasks that the user wishes to perform. Thus it is a reference against which the value of the system functions and features can be tested.

Method - Task decomposition

The aim of ‘high level task decomposition’ is to decompose the high level tasks and break them down into their constituent subtasks and operations. This will show an overall structure of the main user tasks. At a lower level it may be desirable to show the task flows, decision processes and even screen layouts (see task flow analysis, below)

The process of task decomposition is best represented as a structure chart (similar to that used in Hierarchical Task Analysis). This shows the sequencing of activities by ordering them from left to right. In order to break down a task, the question should be asked ‘how is this task done?’. If a sub-task is identified at a lower level, it is possible to build up the structure by asking ‘why is this done?’. The task decomposition can be carried out using the following stages:

1. Identify the task to be analysed.

2. Break this down into between 4 and 8 subtasks. These subtasks should be specified in terms of objectives and, between them, should cover the whole area of interest.

3. Draw the subtasks as a layered diagram ensuring that it is complete.

4. Decide upon the level of detail into which to decompose. Making a conscious decision at this stage will ensure that all the subtask decompositions are treated consistently. It may be decided that the decomposition should continue until flows are more easily represented as a task flow diagram.

5. Continue the decomposition process, ensuring that the decompositions and numbering are consistent. It is usually helpful to produce a written account as well as the decomposition diagram.

6. Present the analysis to someone else who has not been involved in the decomposition but who knows the tasks well enough to check for consistency.

Task flow diagrams

Task flow analysis will document the details of specific tasks. It can include details of interactions between the user and the current system, or other individuals, and any problems related to them. Copies of screens from the current system may also be taken to provide details of interactive tasks. Task flows will not only show the specific details of current work processes but may also highlight areas where task processes are poorly understood, are carried out differently by different staff, or are inconsistent with the higher level task structure.

More information

Hackos, J. & Redish, J. (1998). User and Task Analysis for Interface Design. Chichester: Wiley.

Kirwan, B. & Ainsworth, L.K. (Eds.) (1992). A Guide to Task Analysis. London: Taylor and Francis.

Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H., Benyon, D., Holland, S. & Carey, T. (1994). Human-Computer Interaction. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley.


If the tasks are already well understood, it may be sufficient to just identify and document the tasks as part of context analysis.

Next steps

If other requirements activities are complete, move on to design.

Background reading

Shepherd, A. (1985). Hierarchical task analysis and training decisions. Programmed Learning and Educational Technology, 22, 162-176.

Shepherd, A. (1989). Analysis and training in information technology tasks. In D. Diaper, Ed. Task Analysis for Human-Computer Interaction, pp.15-55. Chichester: Ellis Horwood.

Nielsen, J (1994) Extending Task Analysis to Predict Things People May Want to Do


Chrm Message From: professormamta Total Posts: 28 Join Date: 07/02/2007  
Rank: Executive Post Date: 07/02/2007 10:42:28 Points: 140 Location: United States

Hello nethra,

Much information about Task Analysis can be found this link

Hope this shall help..


Professor Mamta

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