CAR-TR-827 May 1996
Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory
Center for Automation Research
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-3255
The Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is seeking a
new information system to replace its legacy system for youth
case management. The major goal of the new information system
is to improve the process of juvenile case management, and thus
deliver more effective services to youths, by better facilitating
the tracking of case information and the production and handling
of case-related documents. The primary challenge in designing
the new system is to integrate optimally the appropriate components
of existing processes, information, and documents. Our approach
has shown that fostering user discussion and review of existing
documents is extremely valuable in defining existing processes
and information requirements, and effectively highlights areas
where valuable process changes can be made and what system features
are needed to support them. Subsequently linking user requirements
for documents with innovative graphic user interface techniques
can integrate diverse information for users and can affect additional
positive changes to organizational processes.
A role for information technology in business process re-engineering
(BPR) is well recognized, though not without more than a bit of
controversy, disagreement, and lack of predictive empirical research
(Barothy, Peterhans & Bauknecht 1995; Davenport 1993; Hammer
and Champy 1993; Kaltoff 1994). Ongoing efforts on many fronts
are working toward developing methodologies for designing appropriate
information technology to improve organizational processes. Developing
more precise notions of process concepts and process change is
part of these efforts. Some argue for a revolutionary approach
to changes in organizational processes that is typically referred
to as process re-engineering or as the more encompassing
process innovation, while others support a more evolutionary
form of change that might best be referred to as process improvement.
For the purposes of this paper, we will consider aspects of information
technology design in support of process integration, defined
as the general ìreorganization of structural relationships
among process entities for enhanced performanceî (IPIC 1996).
This definition captures the central emphasis on structural changes
to process rather than the replacement of specific process entities
leaving the existing process structure intact.
Process integration is highly interrelated with information
integration, defined as ìthe creation of new, value-added
information out of existing information, often from multiple,
unrelated sourcesî (IPIC 1996). Information integration
can be seen as a way to support new business interpretations and
decisions from the existing collection of possibly unrelated information
available within an enterprise. Information integration is thus
ìa means of bridging information and processes by generating
an actionable interpretation of information in the context of
a specific processî (IPIC 1996).
Documents are increasingly recognized as a class of information-conveying
vehicles that are highly critical, indispensable business process
components. At the same time, document content is least amenable
to information integration given the structural complexity and
demanding life cycle management requirements of documents (Bearman
1994; Cox 1995; IPIC 1996; Penn 1983). This case study discusses
the value of, and some practical methods for, a detailed analysis
of enterprise documents, including direct elicitation from users
of their document-centered information requirements. This work
has been done in the context of the design and specification of
a new information technology application. From the design perspective,
the benefits of coupling the results of the document analysis
effort with innovative user interface techniques is discussed.
The result is better support for user role management, particularly
of documents, which will increase the systemís potential
for achieving enterprise-wide process integration.
The organization in this study is the Maryland Department of Juvenile
Justice (DJJ), which is seeking a new information system to replace
its legacy system for youth case management. DJJ is responsible
for juveniles who have violated the law or who are a danger to
themselves or others. The major goal of the new information
system is to improve the process of juvenile case management,
and thus deliver more effective services to youths, by better
facilitating the tracking of case information and the production
and handling of case-related documents. Most documents at DJJ
are produced manually, often involving the manual compilation
of aggregate information, repeated copying of previously collected
information, or the referencing of disjoint records distributed
across many offices. In addition, DJJ feels that its legacy system
is not able to provide the database reports needed to conduct
useful analyses of DJJ operations. Data entry into the old system
is considered a black hole from which little of use is extractable.
Many reports are only possible through special requests submitted
to central system administration and require several daysí
turnaround time. Addressing these functional shortfalls in database
reporting and document production and handling should bring significant
benefit in terms of time and cost savings, and should be attainable
with a cost-effective level of effort (Saunderson 1995).
Many DJJ documents are not only critical and actionable interpretations
of information, but are also legally required and admissible instruments.
Given the significance to DJJ of document-based information,
the design of the new system must not only accurately capture
on-screen data and functionality for end users, it must have a
fully integrated document production component. In embracing
the permanence of the document, in all its forms, as a key business
process artifact, DJJís new information system will represent
a migration to a truly comprehensive workflow management system
that includes support for the production and routing of documents.
The analysis of documents has emerged as a focal point for defining
system functional requirements, as documents emphasize information
content, information flow, and recordkeeping requirements. Documents
are a reflection of the character of an organization.
A number of organizational constraints have led to the current
state of document use within DJJ, and will continue to complicate
efforts to improve the handling of documents. To begin with,
DJJ in not monolithic. At a high level, DJJ is an independent
agency of the executive branch of state government that answers
directly to the Governor. Both the Governorís office and
the Legislature determine DJJ's operating context, and place specific
information demands on DJJ in formulating relevant legislation,
budgets, and regulations.
At a lower level, DJJ must interact closely with many external,
independent entities which control information input to DJJ and
as well as control information output by DJJ. For example, the
Stateís Attorneyís Office (SAO) must review cases
recommended by DJJ for formal Court action. The SAO may approve,
reject, or modify the recommendations of DJJ, which must then
pursue the case as directed by SAO. Each jurisdiction in the
state has its own police department with its own standards for
police reports and for the formulation of specific criminal allegations
related to the relevant incidents and perpetrators. In addition,
the judicial system varies among jurisdictions with respect to
many procedures, and even varies at the level of the individual
judge. These differences have direct impact on the case management
processes of DJJ and on the documents it must produce in the course
of carrying them out. These regional and jurisdictional variances
must be accommodated within the system and place limits on the
degree of standardization and information integration attainable.
The key to this work is to identify and exploit opportunities
for information and process integration where possible, while
maintaining the ability to deal with varied external constraints.
The design of the new system, and the document analysis in particular,
has highlighted these issues within DJJ and is driving new policy
initiatives which, while just beginning, may eventually begin
to support integration with external processes at a higher level,
perhaps through interfaces to external systems, affording some
greater potential for document standardization as well.
In addition, process integration in a public social services agency
like DJJ is not straightforward. It is difficult to measure success,
given that at DJJ success means to improve the lives of troubled
youth and their families and to protect public safety. The promise
of the new system is to allow case managers to spend more time
with youths and less time seeking information and composing or
referencing documents. In addition, the new system should afford
better data analysis on aggregate youth information, as well as
more sophisticated reporting and documentation of that analysis,
to better measure performance.
The primary challenge in designing the new system is to integrate
optimally the appropriate components of existing processes, information,
and documents. The Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL)
at the University of Maryland, in conjunction with Cognetics Corporation,
is working with DJJ to design the new system. The design effort
has included a great deal of close interaction with DJJ personnel
at all levels.
We have used iterative, interlocking methods for determining how
best to accommodate documents in the design of the new system.
They included data gathering from stakeholders at DJJ, analysis
of the data gathered and of the documents themselves, and evolving
system prototypes. Our approach to gathering and analyzing information
about documents is grounded in the literature of information and
records management, and archival theory, where the unwavering
significance of the document as an information source has always
been recognized (Johnson 1983a, 1983b). An information and records
management program is an organizational attempt to more effectively
and systematically manage information resources, which is a major
goal of the new DJJ system. To ensure a successful program, a
comprehensive and detailed survey of existing records is considered
the crucial first step (Kane 1978; Kubicki 1985; Saffady 1992).
Records may be in any form or media, including paper, electronic,
and others. Within DJJ, virtually all records are in the form
of paper documents, with a small portion produced on paper from
electronic sources. Thus for DJJ, the records survey was essentially
a survey of paper documents. We began the survey by compiling
an inventory of existing DJJ documents.
To complete the records survey, the document inventory was annotated
with information about each document's content and the context
of its use. This information is required for effective information
management in general (Wolchak 1986), and is also recognized as
critical to the design of information technology to address the
management of documents (Barry 1994; Hendley 1995a; Kay 1994).
In deciding how to properly characterize a document, we were
guided by a particularly thorough set of functional requirements
designed for electronic records management, including the management
of documents, that is being developed at the University of Pittsburgh
by Richard J. Cox and his associates (Cox 1995). To mention them
briefly, these requirements hold that electronic records must
ï Compliant with regulations
ï Responsibly managed
ï Implemented and employed at all times
ï Consistently used to insure credibility
ï Comprehensive, to cover all organizational transactions
ï Identifiable as to their discrete purpose
ï Complete, reflecting the content, structure and context of the events they document, and thus:
ï Authorized by appropriate records creators
ï Preserved, maintaining content over time, and thus:
ï Removable, with authorization, leaving an audit trail
ï Exportable to other systems
ï Accessible, meaning:
ï Redactable, in that contents can be masked
for security reasons.
These functional requirements speak to the need for the adequacy
of records, or as in this case study, of documents. Adequate
records are those that allow reconstruction of the activities
or decisions that created them. An organization such as DJJ deals
with sensitive family and personal issues, and must comply with
the appropriate legal standards in doing so. The issue of adequate
records, or adequate documentary information, is thus intimately
tied to many of DJJ's organizational processes. In the design
of new information technology for DJJ, we have attempted to begin
to meet the requirements of adequacy by gathering the right information
and conducting or facilitating appropriate analyses of existing
DJJ documents. We have identified the persons involved in the
creation and use of each document in order to meet requirements
such as compliance, responsibility, authority, and accessibility.
We have analyzed and redesigned documents in order to meet requirements
such as consistency, identifiability, and completeness. And we
have prioritized documents in order to gauge the relative importance
of each of these requirements for individual documents.
3.0 Data Gathering
Working from the compiled inventory of documents, we began with
a cursory survey of the documents, creating a record for each
in a relational database to be used to manage data in the analysis.
Documents were identified as either forms, short reports, aggregate
statistical reports, or correspondence. They were then clustered
according to their relevance to functions within DJJ, such as
intake procedures, medical care, education, and interaction with
the courts. Multiple variations of the same document, in use
at different offices, were identified and grouped. Excluded from
entry into the database and thus from further consideration were
all documents not related to youth case management, such as personnel
documents. The new system is not intended to support any functionality
in those areas. The resulting inventory contained roughly 300
functionally distinct documents, about 57 of which had two or
more variants, with some having as many as eight or nine variants.
We used a set of user segment names to begin to identify individuals
involved with each document. The user segments were previously
defined from information gathered during site visits and interviews
with DJJ personnel, and from analysis of a set of process maps
produced internally by DJJ. The user segment definitions had
been circulated to and approved of by stakeholders at DJJ, and
have been serving as the standard end users in the design of the
new system. In attempting to identify the user segments relevant
to each document, however, we discovered that the process maps,
formal descriptions of all internal DJJ processes, did not systematically
encode information about documents. It became clear that eliciting
information about documents directly from DJJ personnel would
be necessary. Thus we held a series of document workshops with
approximately 20 representatives from DJJ with the knowledge and
authority to describe and revise documents and to set policy.
For context, we started the first workshop by giving participants
a general introduction to the issue of adequacy and of the role
of documents in organizational function in order to stimulate
broad, critical thinking. This was followed with a discussion
of the specific questions about documents that we asked them to
Practical time limitations forced us to focus on a few key points
during the workshops. These points were divided between two main
tasks. The first task was to annotate each document with meta-information
about its users and its priority. The second task was identify,
analyze, and if needed revise and standardize the information
content and structure of each document. Participants were asked
to systematically examine each document in the inventory and supply
the requested information. The points to consider were organized
1. Document Meta-information:
ï Identify source users and divisions
ï Identify destination users and divisions
ï Identify users with access
ï Identify users with authorization
ï Prioritize according to:
2. Document Content:
ï Identify field contents
ï Review field structure
3.1 Document Meta-Information
Source Users and Divisions attempt to capture the context
of the document's creation. The source user segments are the
original producers of the document. Source divisions are defined
as either the organizational divisions internal to DJJ or the
external agency in which the document is typically produced.
Destination Users and Divisions attempt to characterize
the use of documents. Destination users are the varied consumers
of information in documents, including both DJJ-internal user
segments as well as individuals at external agencies. Participants
were encouraged to augment the list of internal user segments
to adequately capture the flow of documents. Users at external
agencies, such as judges, prosecutors, and federal auditors, as
well as individuals such as parents of trouble youths or victims
of juvenile crimes, were of course not part of the internal user
segment list, and were encouraged to be identified on an as-needed
basis. In addition, a case file or other form of permanent storage
was suggested as an important kind of pseudo destination user.
Destination divisions include the DJJ division of internal users,
and external entities, such as the educational, medical, law enforcement,
or judicial agencies with which DJJ regularly exchanges documents
in the course of youth case management.
Access and authorization are important concerns
for DJJ, where confidentiality and clear lines of responsibility
must be maintained. Using the augmented user segments, participants
were asked to identify the users with clearance to access the
information in a document, as well as those that must give signed
authorization to the document.
Prioritization of documents is very important given limited
resources for system development and the likelihood of its incremental
rollout. In addition, eliciting information about the priority
of documents helps to identify those for which certain functional
requirements, such as compliance with regulations, are most important.
Three separate scales were used to characterize priority. The
scales were the frequency of a document's production, the amount
of effort required to produce a document, and a document's criticality
with respect to decision making and organizational activity.
Priority will be given to those documents most frequent, critical,
and difficult to produce.
3.2 Document Content
The content and structure of each document was evaluated
for its completeness, identifiability, and consistency. Participants
were asked to standardize variants of the same document, to analyze
each document's structure and content, and to produce example
revised versions of each document. Emphasis was placed on analyzing
a document's information fields. Participants were asked to consider
the appropriateness and adequacy of both the discrete and narrative
information fields found in documents, and to identify the typical
content of each field. Field contents may be a limited set of
possible field values, or perhaps a discrete case or petition
number. Other fields may be structured narratives, in which something
like a psychological evaluation is documented in narrative fashion
with prompts for specific areas of content. By analyzing and
perhaps revising each document's structure and content, and identifying
its typical use within the organization, the documents are not
only improved but made more understandable to those outside the
organization, with system designers and implementors being the
4.0 Results of Data Gathering
The workshops proved to be extremely productive for gathering
useful information about documents, despite an aggressive agenda
with a somewhat daunting amount of work to be done. Some resistance
was voiced initially, but overall the response from workshop participants
was extremely positive. They seemed to recognize the benefits
for the design of the new information system. Responses to the
requested information were agreed upon, and revised and standardized
versions of documents were successfully negotiated. From initial
work on standardization and revision of document contents, documents
were being entirely eliminated at a rate of two out of every three.
About a third of the contents of some two dozen documents were
found to be roughly similar in content. The standardization efforts
worked to make them identical, thus streamlining information and
simplifying the specification of system requirements. These results
should facilitate process integration by allowing the collection
of information about youths at any point in their interaction
with DJJ to be usable at other points of contact within the department.
With agreement on document content, information can be collected
once and used repreatedly by workers throughout the department
with responsibilities in vastly different areas, such as counseling,
medical care, or education.
The examination of some specific documents provided a unique forum
for the discussion of long entrenched and recalcitrant problems
within the organization. Lively debate was sparked, new information
was shared among representatives from different jurisdictions,
and a number of significant policy initiatives were undertaken.
The document analysis tasks of the workshops thus proved to be
extremely valuable starting points for discussing important issues
of process and policy. In analyzing document contents, occasionally
different answers came from different participants, and points
of contention were often settled by reference to internal policy
documents, when available, or by turning to the Annotated Code
of Maryland as the final authority. The design of revised documents
benefited from these policy revisitations by ensuring their compliance
to regulation, identifiability as to their purpose, and the consistency
of their use and thus the credibility of their contents.
Discussions of policy have in some cases led to the identification
of specific opportunities for process integration at DJJ. One
example comes from a policy initiative motivated by the examination
of a document involved in the tracking of youth income information.
This document is used to determine eligibility for federal reimbursement
of nutrition expenses for youths in DJJ residential facilities.
Currently, this document is prepared at admission solely to indicate
an income class code for a youth. Federal auditors visit the
facilities and manually review this document in each physical
case file to determine overall reimbursement figures for a given
time period. Workshop participants suggested this income class
code could be included on the standard admission form, eliminating
this extra document and simplifying the admission process. DJJ
initiated correspondence with the appropriate authorities to determine
if this change, specifically if implemented in an electronic environment,
was acceptable under the terms of the reimbursement program.
Initial approval has been granted, provided the eligibility code
determinations are easily linked to individual admissions. This
concern is met given that the admission sheet is generated at
every admission. Moreover, with eligibility codes entered electronically
at every admission, determining overall reimbursement information
can be done with a simple database report generated at a personal
computer. Not only is the admission process simplified, but the
administration of this entire program will require less time and
fewer personnel for both DJJ and the external auditors. This
initiative has led to information and process integration while
at the same time has specified additional functional requirements
for the system. It was a direct outcome of the analysis of documents,
as the potential for the new system to support the program in
this way had not been previously articulated.
Not all policy revisitations have yet led to process integration.
The Service Plan document, which is intended to detail the provisions
of the treatment plan devised for an individual youth, proved
to be quite controversial. Some workshop participants not only
found its structure inadequate, but voiced the opinion that it
should be eliminated entirely. Its value in contributing to effective
case management was seriously questioned, as was its secondary
role as a method of evaluating case managers. Others felt the
document was a useful tool. A heated debate ensued, and avenues
for revising the policy requiring this document were identified.
The Service Planís status, and thus system requirements
for it, remain unclear. The Service Plan document's free format
does not make it an ideal candidate for automation, but regardless
of the eventual level of system support, this document is extremely
detailed and difficult to produce, and changes in policy regarding
it will have significant implications for the process of youth
These examples just begin to illustrate the effects that the elicitation
of user requirements through document analysis has had on issues
of process and policy at DJJ. While this work was motivated by
the needs of information system design, many benefits can be realized
even if the system were never to be built.
5.0 Benefits for the System Design
For the critical areas of youth case management and individual
workflow support, the emerging user interface design for the new
system tightly couples documents to novel graphical presentations
and tailored user functionalities. The information elicited from
users at the document workshops helps define the important events
in youth case management, what documents and information are relevant
to these events, and which users must be given access to the information
and documents. The framework of the interface design and the
content provided by the document analysis combine to take the
system beyond workflow or document management systems by integrating
the management of both within comprehensive, graphic representations
and customized but flexible user views.
As detailed in Rose, et. al. (1996), user interface designs for
the new system are being based on the concept of creating a customized
ìviewî of the central system database for different
user segments. The functionality defined for each view features
links to the documents that must be produced or handled as part
of the procedures supported within that view, in direct support
of user workflow. Links to documents will either display electronic
documents or provide a pointer to non-electronic documents. A
number of documents in the inventory, however, are entirely subsumed
by the design of the user views. These consist primarily of spreadsheet
or list documents showing, for example, all youths assigned to
a case manager that have court hearings scheduled on a particular
day. The user views include list display areas and simple query
mechanisms for creating and printing lists of records, providing
both pre-defined and ad-hoc query and reporting functionality.
This approach makes a far greater variety of such documents available
Various DJJ forms and reports are related to individual youths,
such as psychological assessments or court orders. These documents
are bundled in the youth record by events. The youth record is
a display that provides an overview of an individualís
history with DJJ. It also provides access to all the relevant
documentation. The LifeLines display of the youth record (Plaisant,
et. al. 1996) is a graphic timeline interface that shows the youthís
status using color to indicate the depth of penetration into the
system. Users can pull down menus from each status indicator
to see a list of documents related to the activities associated
with the status of the youth at that point in time. In addition,
significant discrete events such as medical evaluations, special
behavioral incidents, and educational assessments are represented
on the LifeLines with tick marks, which provide navigation to
the supporting documents that detail the event. The LifeLines
thus give users a graphic overview of a youthís entire
history, with quick access to details, on demand, in available
documents. This design achieves information integration by gathering
documentary information on a youth, from distributed sources,
in a graphical, single-screen life history representation. The
design indicates the existence of, and provides access to documents
without requiring a search of any kind.
This work has demonstrated the utility of document analysis in
the context of information system design to achieve process and
information integration. The DJJ document workshops spawned a
new kind of self-examination for the organization, which explored
entrenched and problematic activities long ignored. The results
will positively affect process changes and will lead to a better
information system design. Fostering user discussion of existing
documents helps define existing processes and information requirements,
and highlights areas where process changes can effectively be
made and what system features are needed to support them. In
addition, information integration can be achieved with innovative
graphic representations that collect information, particularly
documents, from diverse sources and of multiple types, into single
These results suggest a valuable synthesis of research from the
fields of human-computer interaction, information and records
management, archival theory, process theory, and process technology.
Some future research opportunities now seem apparent. Workflow
management systems, document management systems, and process technologies
have evolved separately and targeted distinct markets. Only recently
have such systems begun to move toward closer integration (Hendley
1995b; Jablonski 1995; Karagiannis 1995; Medina-Mora, et. al 1993;
Teufel and Teufel 1995; Watson Jr., et. al 1995). Methods for
integrating process definition and modelling, requirements analysis,
and document and workflow management should continue to be pursued
because these research fronts can all contribute to the goal of
enterprise process integration.
Developments in user interface design are benefiting these technologies
for both the organization and the individual user. For organizations,
new system administrative tools with graphical user interfaces
are being developed to aid in the collection and analysis of business
process information and the design and specification of process
models and information technology. For the individual user, the
recent work of Shneiderman and Plaisant (1994) on Personal Role
Managers (PRM) (also Plaisant and Shneiderman 1995) helps users
structure their work in harmony with their roles in an organization,
effectively becoming personal process support tools. Graphical
interfaces to both personal role management and organizational
modelling must accommodate process artifacts, such as documents.
The elicitation of specific information about documents, as demonstrated
in this case study, can have great benefit for the documents themselves
as well as their optimal accommodation by system design.
I thank Linda Parker Gates for many valuable discussions of process.
I thank the DJJ workshop participants, who have worked so hard
on documents. Anne Rose and Catherine Plaisant provided many
useful comments on early drafts of this paper, and Ben Shneiderman
provided valuable guidance at the beginning of this work. Cognetics
Corporation and the HCIL design team have created the overall
system design to which the work described here contributes. The
preparation of this report was supported by funding from the Maryland
Department of Juvenile Justice.
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