User Observations

Observing users perform their work is a powerful and unobtrusive way of gaining an understanding of the tasks they carry out and how they use information and other software and hardware devices to achieve an outcome. Even if the processes that support the planned system will be different the observations of the current processes will provide a useful context for discussions. It will also help the analyst empathize with the user and may result in a deeper understanding of the issues they face and provide the basis for the discovery of potential solutions. An analyst will often discover unmentioned documents, checklists and clue cards that can help illuminate the process. Equipped with a mobile phone or camera, it is also useful for the analyst to take photographs of the user working which will help in the requirements analysis phase.

Enterprise Architect supports the modeler in representing files such as photos and scanned documents directly in the model, creating a rich and expressive representation of the user at work. There is the option to represent these as an Artifact (which, with a single key stroke (F12), will launch the file) or to use a hyperlink or even to include the image itself in a diagram.