On Being a Film Star for 30 Seconds at the NordWit Centre Meeting

“Please stand on the spot.  Hold the paper in front of you. No, not that high up: Your paper needs to be further down. Remember to smile.  Try to look natural.”

Last week did my first recording of a research presentation. The presentation lasted 30 sek and the short film will appear online soon on the NordWIT web page.

The whole NordWIT Centre team did films, and it will be interesting to see how well this spread in social media. One part of me wishes them to be very successful, since that would mean that people are interested in what we are doing. Another part of me really hopes that they will be NON- successful since I was awfully nervous and I both studdered and look completely NON-natural. I needed to redo the reading six times (at least)!!

Here are my observations from this experience:

  • 30 seconds is a very short time. I did many rehearsals but it was still difficult.
  • Given how nervous I was I think that doing a film using my computer would be easier for me. Quality would probably not be as good though.
  • Doing the films was almost a teambuilding experience

IT in Society Students Presenting Work on Tracking Technologies at the Largest eHealth Meeting in the Nordic Countries?

Vitalis is an important venue for innovators, business and reseracher in eHealth, and brings together 4,500 participants. Next Vitalis takes place 24-26 April 2018 in Gothenburg, and last week the students from the IT in Society class submitted a proposal for a presentation at the conference.

The students will present their research on how health care can improve and become more efficient using tracking technology. I would suspect that it is not as easy as tracking in the snow, as in this blog post’s photo, however.

The students are doing extensive research on the topic this semester, with interviews field studies and literature reviews and studies to industries who have used tracking systems in their organizations to become more efficient.

The students will present their work around Christmas for Region Uppsala, and let’s hope that they are accepted to the conference so that knowledge and insights from their great work has a chance to spread!

 

 

 

 

Improving the Digital Work Environment – Presenting at a NIVA Course on Digital Work Environments

 

Ever since I started as a PhD student I have worked with different action research projects related to improving the digital work environment in organizations. Actions research is the methodology that I have explained previously in my blog, see this blog post which is the first one is a series with five blog posts about action research.

As a PhD student, I worked in a being collaborative project called “Aim Healthy” (Satsa Friskt), where are we worked with digital work environments in eight different government organizations. You can read more about the story behind my PhD thesis here, and the actual thesis is found in DIVA.

Digitalization creates a new kind of work, and also affects the work environment. Many times, this is a positive thing, but many times it’s also quite troublesome. Research have come up with many good ideas about how to improve the digital work environment. These ideas include processes, methods, management principles and better design of the systems. However, it is a very difficult to implement these ideas in practice and to help organizations change in a direction that would lead to better digital work environments.

Last week I presented some of the experiences that I have made from working with this the last 15 years. My HTO research group currently have many projects related to the digital work environment. Below are posters presenting three of them, and the posters are also links to blog posts on the HTO group’s blog that present this work:

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Including Communication and PR in the IT in Society Class

Communication and PR are an important part of innovation and change. People use social media and Wikipedia to understand reality to a large extent. Through these channels we create the truths.  (Or alternative truths :-o). Hopefully in parallel with other more traditional media channels. Even though communication and PR are very important for success, there are very few courses in the IT related programs at the university level that deal with this.

The students in the IT in society class has always marketed their work with an invitation to their presentation the final week, but this year we have put a more explicit focus on communication and marketing of their work.

They have one group of students who will work with communication and PR. It will be interesting to see what they choose to do! It will also be interesting to see what effects this will have on how known the course is, and how well they manage to communicate the results to media, other students, county councils etc.

We know that the students will submit an abstract to Vitalis and if they are accepted a few of them will go there and present in April. Last year the students did a fabulous job presenting at Vitalis 🙂

Equal Opportunities’ Team Retreat 2017

The equal opportunities team at the Department of Information Technology (previously gender equality group) goes on a retreat to beautiful Krusenberg herrgård every year. We spent 24 hours discussing and evaluating the work in the group and planning our work ahead.

I must say that we have an excellent group and there are so many great discussions. I especially appreciate the effort of my colleague Anna-Lena Forsberg who collaborate with me in organising and keeping track of our work. We also have excellent help from the equal opportunities expert Nina Almgren from the university administration.

Equal opportunities work should be integrated in all parts of the core activities in an organisation. It includes working with organisational culture and aspects such as transparency and knowledge. The aim is to create an organisation where everyone has the same opportunities, rights and obligations. This is not easily done though.

Next year our focus of the groups work is firstly to increase our knowledge of equal opportunities. We have an ambitious plan and the first thing that happens is the organisation of an Equal Opportunities course open for everyone at the department. I’m looking forward to attending this course and to learning more about the area. 😊

User and Client Satisfaction in Agile Development

Agile software development affects working with users and user centred design. In our series of papers comparing agile with other development processes we did a paper based on a survey to IT professionals in Iceland. One of the interesting questions was what these people put emphasis on in their work. Do they emphasize clients’ satisfaction, user satisfaction, customer satisfaction or maybe all of the three?  The main results show that both user and client satisfaction is emphasized by professionals using Agile, but for professionals using other processes such as their home-grown process or the traditional waterfall approach, the focus is user satisfaction.

We could also see that in Agile it was more common to gather feedback from users than in other software development processes. When asked about how often the participants gather feedback from stakeholders including uses customers, clients, colleagues and friends one can see that those using agile frequently consulted colleagues or friends (66% 1-3 times a month or more often). Fifty percent of them consulted uses at least once a month, but only 20% consulted customer, see table below.

feedback from stakeholders

One should note that the survey involved a relatively small number of participants (N=42), and thus can be seen as an exploratory work that can inform our future work.

If you are interested in reading, you find the paper here

Abstract: The emphasis on User Centred Design (UCD) in agile systems development processes (Agile) has been studied from various perspectives. The context of Agile strongly affects the possibilities for IT professionals to conduct user-centred activities in their work. In this paper, we describe a survey study comparing the responses from professionals using Agile processes and other software development processes. Specifically, we explore the values and perspectives that professionals emphasise in their work, whether feedback is gathered from stakeholders, and how frequently feedback is gathered. The main results show that both user and client satisfaction is emphasised by professionals using Agile, but for professionals using other processes such as their home-grown process or the traditional waterfall approach, the focus is user satisfaction. The survey involved a relatively small number of participants (N=42), and thus can be seen as an exploratory work that can inform our future work

 

 

 

Organizing a Retreat for Writing Applications for Promotion

If you want to be promoted in academia you need to write an application for promotion. Research has shown that women are less likely to ask for promotion, even when qualified, and some would say that we have a very harsh view you of our own qualifications. Others would say that this is due to the context, as the assessment of women’s CV’s is gendered. You find an interesting paper on the topic here. I would say that the problem is the result of a mix of both perspectives.

Perhaps one way of handling this is to encourage women and to facilitate the writing of the promotion documents? In our gender equality work we think that this could be a possible way forward, and we therefore a fund a retret for writing documents for promotion.

Hence, in December, the gender equality group will organize a retreat for writing applications for promotion. People working at the Department of information technology want to write applications for being promoted to for example Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor or Excellent Teacher are very welcome to join. I will organize the retreat together with Aletta Nylén and Anna Eckerdahl from the UpCERG research group.  All three of us will also be writing applications for a promotion this fall.

The idea of the retreat is both to encourage people to write applications, and to create an awareness of what is needed to be promoted. We also hope that those who join the retreat will find support in each other, and that this network will help in the future too. And of course we hope that the retweet will result in a number of applications for promotion.

We have been in contact with all women at the Department who are close to being promoted, and sent them a personal invitation. We have also contacted men who we know are at this stage in their career. I must say that this part of the job was one of the most rewarding things done in a long time. People were very happy about being asked!  

Hopefully this will be an interesting and fruitful occasion. If you’re curious you find a tentative plan here, and I’m very glad if you want to reuse this idea! Perhaps you could organise a similar thing at your university?

 

 

Responsibilities and Challenges of Product Owners

Working as a leader in agile is challenging. You need to find a balance between being the authoritative leader and being that supporter of the teamwork. A few years ago we did a study to try to understand the products owners and their work, looking at the following questions: .

  1. What are the main responsibilities of the Product Owners
  2. What are the challenges of a Product Owner, and how does he or she cope with them?

What did we find? 

  • Most of the product owners found it hard to measure the value when developing new features
  • Some Product Owners use the number of users as their main parameter of success
  • To lead the vision was a difficult responsibility that the Product Owners struggled with

The abstract of the paper:

In Scrum, the Product Owner (PO) role is crucial for the team to be successful in developing useful and usable software. The PO has many responsibilities and challenges, including being the link between customers, other stakeholders and their development teams. This exploratory case study conducted at the software development company Spotify focuses on POs three responsibilities: (a) Identification of customers, (b) Estimation of value of their teams’ work and c) Forming a vision for the product. Additionally, challenges perceived by the POs are studied. Data was gathered through five interviews and on site observations. Results show that the POs activities are divided between daily work, such as making sure that their teams are functional and long-term activities such as making a vision for the product. The main challenge of the POs is to inspire and encourage team members to collaborate and communicate within the team and with stakeholders.

 

 You find this paper and research gate if you’re interested in reading it.

Creating a Learning Environment for Development of Professional Competencies in the IT in Society Class

I would claim that the Learning outcomes of the IT society course are very different from most courses at the University.  The IT in society class has focus on development of professional competencies.

The learning outcomes specified of the course are:

  1. Collaborate in a large project with an external client, and present a professional solution, both orally and in written form to the client.
  2. Handle, validate and analyse a very complex and multi-facetted problem in a constructive manner in a project group.
  3. Evaluate, criticize and validate solutions to IT-related problems from perspectives such as ethics, sustainable development, work environment, economy and usefulness.
  4. Illustrate, show and describe experiences from working in a multi-cultural distributed project.
  5. Evaluate and analyse one’s abilities and competencies regarding working in a multi-cultural and distributed project, as well as develop strategies that lead to lifelong learning.

In this blog post I will be talking about the last learning outcomes in the list above, number 5. The learning outcome that people should have the ability to evaluate and analyse one’s abilities and competencies, and to develop strategies for lifelong learning in the area of Computer science.

We have been working on creating a learning environment where it is possible to develop and practice the lifelong learning competence. And we have improved the environment quite a lot over the years. This is how we do it this year:

  1. First, we have a traditional lecture about professional competencies. We present one way of looking at these competencies and what they consist of. We have chosen to work with the competences developed by Curtin University.
  2. Second, we have a workshop with the students where they write their own personal learning agreement. These learning agreements should include
    1. Why they have chosen three specified competencies to work with during the course.
    2. What they will do to develop their confidence in the three areas.
    3. How they will know that they have improved. And how faculty can know that they have improved.
  3. Third, we have meetings with groups of three students. In these meetings, the students present their learning agreement, and we discuss it together as well as the social strategies to improve that competence.
  4. Often this meeting is followed by a second meeting where we do the same thing in the first meeting since the students need more help in writing these learning agreements.
  5. By the end of the project we meet again in the same groups to discuss what happened during the semester, and how they were able to fulfil their learning agreement.

We have written a few papers on this topic and you find them here:

  1. Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., McDermott, R., & Von Konsky, B. R. (2011, January). Assessing professional skills in engineering education. Australian Computer Science Communications, vol 32, pp 73-78. (pp. 145-154). Australian Computer Society, Inc.
  2. Clear, T., McDermott, R., Parsjö, E., Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., & Lagerqvist, N. (2016, October). A framework for writing learning agreements. In Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2016 IEEE (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
  3. Peters, A. K., Hussain, W., Cajander, A., Clear, T., & Daniels, M. (2015, July). Preparing the global software engineer. In Global Software Engineering (ICGSE), 2015 IEEE 10th International Conference on (pp. 61-70).

 

 

 

mHealth in Emergency Care – Half time PhD Summary by Anders Klingberg

Anders Klingberg has done some interesting work related to the intention and motivation among emergency care staff to use smartphones for burn injury tele-consultation. He has been looking at burn care in South Africa and in Tanzania where these kinds of injuries are quite common, especially in young children. One of the problems that they have found is the burn diagnosis and initial treatment, and they investigate the use of smart phones for burn injury consultation.

Yesterday Anders Klingberg presented his work at Karolinska Institutet, and I was a part of a committee of three people who discussed his work with him. So far he only has one published paper, but there are more papers to come – so watch out for them 🙂