Early Human Factors Analysis

Aug 07, 2014

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techniques

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Early Human Factors Analysis‘ (or EHFA) is a well-established defence HF technique that we have found to be useful in a number of different industries, such as rail, nuclear, and aviation. However, we have found that it is quite easy to mis-apply the method and to end up with a great deal of poor quality, low value information.
Here are our tips for carrying out a successful EHFA:

  1. The basic EHFA approach should involve a small group of people familiar with the project using a small set of keywords related to Human Factors to prompt identification of issues and benefits associated with a system or product.
  2. Input information is crucial – expect to spend a fair bit of time reviewing or developing scenarios to be considered in the EHFA.
  3. Don’t use too many keywords.  Have the keywords made sense for the project.  We have found that just using something like SHELL (Software, Hardware, Environment, Liveware) is sufficient.  The advantage of this approach is that SHELL is a fairly complete (and well-recognised in aviation) interaction model.
  4. Be clear about what constitutes an issue or a benefit.  A common problem that we see is that the EHFA captures too many ‘placeholders’ and reminders for activities that might need to be done at some point in the future.  Anything that seems like a reminder or has a condition attached (“if x happens then this could be a problem…”) you should be wary about capturing.
  5. The information capture phase is probably going to be the start of the process.  You will need to review the information captured for accuracy and coherency.
  6. Bring biscuits.  Lots of biscuits.

With all this in mind, EHFA can be a very cost-effective way of identifying the key Human Factors issues and business drivers on a project.  In the long run this can help to focus the HF effort in the key areas, and avoid wasting time and money.

We would be happy to help you carry out a EHFA for your project.  Please contact us on +44 117 230 2090 or email info@liv-systems.com.

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