Projects run through several phases, as shown in the figure below, left column. Usually, each phase ends with a go-no go decision based on formal documents. The middle column specifies the suggested HF contributions for each phase. Be noted that the contribution of HF Professionals in engineering projects is limited compared to the overall engineering volume.
It is not possible for a HF professional to have a full background on process control and other engineering sciences. Therefore, we rely on a systematic task analysis. Operators are perfectly capable of providing expert task related knowledge. The challenge is on how to share knowledge and organize collaboration between operators and engineering. Because of his background and natural project role, HF Professionals appear to be a perfect intermediate between operators and engineers. They have the tools to collect knowledge (task analysis methods) and to specify technical requirements engineers understand, based on this knowledge.
Somebody needs to represent operators. Operations will be interested in participation, however may not have time to do so. Here is another HF role, as an intermediate between users and engineering. Steps for user participation are suggested in the third column of the table below.
In our experience an effective way to achieve HF integration in a project, is to be a member of the overall project management team. That does not mean, the HF Professional participates in all technical and budgeting meetings. He or she should only participate on topics that touch operator work, workplaces, HMI, and so on. In addition, HF specialists can participate in specific engineering activities, such as a detailed operator console design, or the development process overview graphics.
Figure – Suggested HF interventions in industrial projects.