The method of Focus Groups is used to organize tasks into hierarchies of sub-tasks and create task decompositions. It aims to determine the future state of tasks and their sub-tasks through gathering an in-depth understanding of behavior of employees (individuals and teams) involved in these tasks. In other words, the focus (thoughts and preferences) of these employees serves as the key determinant for creating and managing task breakdowns.
The focus groups method provides a user experience-based and preference-focused algorithm to analyze the why and how of decision making. It helps develop a model of environment in which users (employees, customers) feel comfortable and satisfied with new working conditions and requirements.
Creation of focus groups makes is possible to reach optimized task decomposition in which every sub-task is aligned with needs and skills of assigned worker(s). The following to-do list explains how to create and use focus groups to decompose tasks.
- Identify tasks to be decomposed
- Define goals and resources of tasks
- Figure out what employees can perform tasks
- Understand employees’ skills and needs
- Understand whether they are able to do tasks
- Organize employees by several focus groups (3-5 members each group)
- Be sure members of every individual group is focused on the same or similar tasks and have the same or similar perceptions, needs and skills
- Prepare questionnaires that include such questions as "What work to do?", "Why do it?", "How best to do it?", "What could be improved?", "What kind of assistance is required?", and the like
- Share questionnaires among all members of focus groups
- Receive responses from members
- Carefully analyze answers to figure out how members in each focus group understand the "ideal work"
- Decompose total amount of work into smaller activities and sub-tasks
- Be sure every sub-task is aligned with needs and preferences of focus group participants.