Start the Semester with Some Splendid Seminars

On Friday the 19th of January we have the pleasure of starting the day with two open seminars, so if you wish you can join us. From Reykjavik University we have Associate Professor Marta Lárusdóttir and from openhagen Business School professor Torkil Clemmensen. Torkil Clemenssen will talk about the socio-Technical Future of HCI and Marta Lárusdóttir will discuss research on the integration of UCD in industry.

The seminars will start at 10.00 in the Faculty Room at Ångström laboratory.

Marta Lárusdóttir
Integrating UCD in Agile Projects in Industry: Research Results and Future Work

Marta will give a talk on the interplay between usability activities and agile software development processes used in the IT industry. Marta has conducted research on this topic for many years collaborating with international researchers and students. Marta will give a summary of the results of these studies and describe future work on this important topic.

Marta Larusdottir is an Associate Professor at Reykjavik University with a PhD in Human-computer interaction. Marta has extensive leading knowledge in the area of evaluation and user feedback in software development. Particularly, she is a well known researcher in agile software development and how the user perspective is integrated in agile processes and has written several papers and arranged workshops on that subject.

This presentation will be followed directly by the presentation by professor Torkil Clemmensen.

Prof. Torkil Clemmensen, Copenhagen Business School
The Socio-Technical Future of HCI

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) builds on the ideology of empowering the end-users of computers, so that they understand what is happening and can control the outcome (Nielsen, 2005). How does that work for HCI in organizations and societies? While HCI historically has been based on applying cognitive psychology to understand the individual user (Card, Moran, & Newell, 1983), one strong trend in modern and contemporary HCI is to study applications in business, managerial, organizational, and cultural contexts. To design HCI for organizations, the big thing may be to do some kind of HCI design action research that constructs or modifies one or more HCI artefacts within their existing organizational contexts: sketches, prototypes, templates, running systems – anything that changes the interactions that managers and employees do and experience. Hence, the future topics and theory of HCI may indeed be socio-technical.

Torkil Clemmensen is a professor at the Department of Digitalization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His research interest is in psychology as a science of design with a focus on cultural psychological perspectives on usability, user experience, and digitalization of work. He contributes to Human-Computer Interaction, Design, and Information Systems.

Torkil Clemmensen will also lead the discussion in the afternoon when we have the half time seminar for yours truly.

No Time for Dinosaurs

Sweden is “lagging ahead” when it comes to the digital transformation of public organisations. This was the opening message from Expertgruppen för digitala investeringar at a seminar on Agile Transformation. According to recent statistics Sweden is not a leader in the field, something the Swedish Government wishes to change. While we wait for a new authority for Digitalization a special committee has been formed to support public organisations in the transformation. Much of this is done behind the scenes, but there are also open dissemination of best practices. Today’s event was one such occasion.

Anna Eriksson from Lantmäteriet, The Swedish Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registration Authority (I didn’t know that) talked about how the authority were transforming their IT-organisation to embrace agile practices. This was very much done via leading by example. The change project itself was run in the spirit of agile, early adopters were allowed to experiment and yearly hackatons encouraged mixed teams with both IT-developers and business people.

Martin Johansson, CIO at SEB and member of the committe, shared SEB:s long and ongoing digital transformation. Martin’s take home message can be summarized as agile takes time. Working in a large organization with legacy systems as well an established organizational culture agile does not happen overnight. One factor contributing to this was the fact that SEB.s project portfolio contained so many running waterfall projects. These had to be finished before the agile transformation could start to deliver. The dinosaurs had to go, as he said. There were many interesting points in Martins account but one important one was the need to unite the business side and the IT side of the organization. While SEB certainly transformed their IT structure, the importance of this collaboration was emphasized a number of times in his presentation. Judging from our own research experience that seems to be true for a number of other organisations as well.

Why this urgency for going agile? Well, as Anders Nyström–who moderated the seminar–said, the strategic projects are in general to slow for politics. With an average length of 30+ months it is difficult to see the effects of political initiatives. Perhaps even more importantly, both Anna Eriksson and Martin Johansson represent large, well established organisations, nevertheless the disruptions on the market calls for agile responses. Otherwise they might turn out to be  the dinosaurs.

The only thing I missed was the opportunity to ask a second question. I would have been really interested to learn more about their view on the user.