Leading a Contextual Inquiry at Michigan State University
About This Project
Time of Project
- Sep 2010–Dec 2010
- Project management
- Contextual inquiry
- Affinity diagram
- Microsoft Office
- Google Docs
- Emily Bowman
- Shi Chen
- Jeff Green
I managed a team in conducting a contextual inquiry of MATRIX, a humanities digitization center at Michigan State University.
For this project, we conducted several interviews with MATRIX staff, including technical, digitization, and managerial staff. As is important to the process of contextual inquiry, each of those interviews took place at the respondent's workplace, providing our team a view of how MATRIX staff members conduct business on a daily basis.
When we completed all of our interviews, we created a set of models describing various elements of the organization: two cultural models, a sequence model, a communication model, and an artifact model. My team and I jointly developed the sequence model and divided the work for the remaining models evenly. I made the artifact model, which is shown below.
The model shows a screenshot of a ticket tracking tool the organization uses. I indicated ways in which the tool was not meeting the needs of the MATRIX team, and suggested design ideas for solving those problems.
We then took our notes from all of the interviews and built them into an affinity wall – a massive overview of all the information we obtained throughout the investigation. The goal was to organize all the individual notes into categories and subsequently formulate recommendations to address problems related to those categories.
We wrote a report in which we recommended improving communication through systematic policy changes as well as through technical adjustments to communication and task-delegation software. MATRIX expressed a great deal of gratitude for the work we had done and were impressed by our suggestions.