A Design Theory for Cognitive Workflow Systems
TL;DR: The proposed design theory for CWS is presented and is validated through an action research intervention, which has important implications from both research and practical perspectives.
Abstract: This paper addresses the design problem of providing cognitive support for workflow systems in software development. Software development is demanding knowledge work that requires creativity and adaptability to changing requirements and situations. This type of work involves cognitive actions that require substantial support in several forms in order to address needs such as collaboration, communication, knowledge management, awareness and transparency, and the coordination and structuring of the development processes. The literature and our empirical results show that there is a lack of cognitive support in current workflow models. Hence, we identify the need for a design theory for cognitive workflow systems (CWS). In this paper, such a theory is presented. The proposed design theory for CWS is validated through an action research intervention. This design theory has important implications from both research and practical perspectives. The results will help developers in their daily work, enhance the efficiency of the development processes, and facilitate decision-making activities.
Summary (2 min read)
- Software development is increasingly challenging and intellectually demanding creative knowledge work .
- Software systems are usually developed as a multidisciplinary e®ort , typically in collaboration with several types of stakeholders such as engineers, industrial designers, and marketing personnel [6, 7].
- Building a work°ow that supports cognitive work !!.
- Section 2 discusses related studies, work°ow modeling, and design theory and states the motivation for this research.
- Section 3 presents the research process and provides the theoretical framework for this research in the form of kernel theories.
2. Theoretical Background
- This section presents the theoretical concepts related to work°ow modeling in the context of knowledge work, discusses related studies, and states the motivation for this research.
- In addition, the design theory approach is brie°y described.
- Thus, a work°ow that supports knowledge sharing and enables the use of cognitive skills is required.
- Abstracting and synthesizing from related works, the authors identi¯ed a set of characteristics of software development, which they classi¯ed into six categories: cognitive work support, collaborative work, communication, knowledge management, awareness and transparency, and coordination.
- The original approach by Walls et al.  has been reviewed in literature, and there are considerations that it might initially have been too cumbersome to use (cf. [29, 33]).
3. Industrial Case and Development of a Design Theory for CWS
- This section introduces the study that prompted the development of a new design theory for CWS.
- During the action research intervention, the requirements, design principles, and prototype were re¯ned.
- 2. Toward design principles for CWS Next, the authors describe their design theory for CWS as a set of six design principles.
- This led to serious problems such as a lack of feedback and an insu±cient understanding of others' activities.
- In their work, the developers created, stored, and shared information while implementing their tasks, and each developer accumulated information, knowledge, and experiences.
4. Evaluation and Specifying Learning
- Design theory provides a prescriptive theory that informs how to do something [11, 53].
- In the present study, the result of design theory is a list of design principles that, if followed in the design process, both provide a system that addresses design goals and produce a system that has the requested features implemented in it !!.
- This way, the work°ow provided shared knowledge about processes, products, tools, and team members, including the use of experience and skills.
- By these means, the prototype o®ered information about the developers' goals and described the dependencies between activities and work items.
- There are several works that discuss the work°ows and their modeling and technical solutions; however, not many authors have applied the cognitive viewpoint to work°ows.
5. Discussion and Conclusions
- The aim of the proposed design theory for CWS is to provide a set of requirements and design principles for creating an e®ective work°ow system that supports cognitive work in software development.
- In summary, cognitive work°ows designed by following the proposed design principles would provide a better understanding of the context of work, especially the real needs of all processes, phases, and functions; this in turn would provide better development results, primarily because the produced data and other results will ful¯ll their purpose more e®ectively and ensure less wastage.
- The authors design theory for CWS leads to six design principles that help to resolve the shortcomings of current work°ow systems and their design methods.
- The action research demonstrated the relevance, feasibility, and usefulness of the proposed design theory in a real-world environment.
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"A Design Theory for Cognitive Workf..." refers background or methods in this paper
...It provides a prescriptive theory, with, for example, methods, techniques, and principles of form and function for constructing an artifact ....
...Design theory provides a prescriptive theory that informs how to do something [11, 53]....
...Design theories rely on the knowledge of kernel theories for their design principles ....
"A Design Theory for Cognitive Workf..." refers background in this paper
...Kernel theories: Selected kernel theories and justi ̄catory works include discussing awareness and coordination in shared workspaces [46, 49] and developing and A Design Theory for Cognitive Work°ow Systems 13 November 8, 2016 3:53:41pm WSPC/117-IJSEKE 1750006 2ndReading...
...understanding of others' activities, which also provides the context for one's own activities [46, 47]....
"A Design Theory for Cognitive Workf..." refers methods in this paper
...Action research cycle with pre-study (adapted from )....
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Frequently Asked Questions (2)
Q1. What contributions have the authors mentioned in the paper "A design theory for cognitive work°ow systems" ?
Other characteristics and requirements could also be identi ̄ed ; however, this work addressed the research problem from these six viewpoints, all of which complement each other and contribute to de ̄ning cognitive support for collaborative work. However, this work did not address these areas individually but, rather, focused on viewing work°ow systems from a cognitive point of view.
Q2. What have the authors stated for future works in "A design theory for cognitive work°ow systems" ?
5. 1. Implications and future research areas One of the possible future research topics would also be the quantitative analysis to support the validation of design theory more. This work provides valuable insights for academic research and lays the foundation for further scholarly inquiry, including a validation of the ¯ndings in other companies and domains besides information and communication technology, and as no testable hypotheses are presented, there is an opportunity for further development of this design theory. Thus, the proposed design principles provide a promising solution to current issues in cognitive work°ows.