Harald Molina-Tillmann

My Design and Engineering Services

My service is directed at visionary providers of interactive cyber-physical systems. The core of my design and engineering services is system-wide product conception, modelling, requirements engineering and specification. If requested, I will accompany the customer along their path from idea inception through to market introduction.

As an interdisciplinary system designer I combine the various system-wide goals and constraints into a coherent unified solution. This includes everything from technical details through the core functionality up to the greater context.

Services

Product Design

- Scrum Product Owner Services -

- Conception -

- Interaction Design -

- System Architecture -

I provide the coordinated management of concepts, content and technology for interactive and cyber-physical systems. My focus are embedded and connected multimedia products and services.

My services allow for a structured and goal-oriented product design process which still gives needed space for creative and agile development.

Professional Scrum Product Owner Services

As a Scrum.org certified Product Owner I provide the services for agile product development as defined by the Scrum framework.

  • Product Backlog Management
  • Product value optimization
  • Stakeholder management

Conception

I provide system design for the early stage of product development. In combination with the creative and artistic process this allows for taking the step from a vision to a concrete product concept.

  • User models (e.g. Personas, Typologies, Target audience definition)
  • Scenarios (including Moods, Social environment, Cultural background)
  • User stories
  • Use cases (e.g. as defined for SysML)

The conception phase results in a well defined feature set and unique selling positions. It provides the bridge to the definition of system architecture.

Interaction Design

As system designer I add holistic and analytical methods to the interaction design process. These methods are well suited for complex and distributed multimedia systems.

  • Definition of dialogue structures of applications
  • Modelling of interfaces (Interaction elements, Interfaces to external systems, Interpersonal interaction)
  • Development of diagrams (e.g. Wireframes, Sketches, State transition diagrams, Sequence diagrams)

System Architecture

It is a characteristic of embedded systems that conception and implementation influence one another. Therefore, I provide the integration of the system architecture of potential technical solutions in the product design process.

  • Hardware and software components
  • Data flow and interaction between components
  • Application Programming Interface (API)
  • Data protocols
  • Currently available technologies, products and standards
  • Identification of technical “bottlenecks”

I coordinate the system architecture with the implementers throughout the project.

Services

Systems Engineering

- SysML modelling

- Requirements engineering -

- Specifications -

- System tests -

I provide system-wide engineering services that are required for managing and realizing multi-layered systems such as distributed multimedia products.

SysML modelling

I provide development and integration of system models adopted to the client’s business processes. This may for instance include:

  • Functional architecture reflecting features as defined by the product owner
  • Structural architecture as reference for software, hardware and mechanical engineers
  • Integration of requirements, specification elements and system tests
  • System context and system boundaries for multilateral projects and distributed teams
  • SysML profiles reflecting project parameters as defined by the project manager

Requirements engineering

I provide classic requirements management services.

  • Liaison with stakeholders and identification of needs and desires
  • Definition and validation of stakeholder requirements
  • Development and verification of system requirements
  • Inclusion of quality and non-functional requirements
  • Integration with standards and laws
  • Coordination with architects and implementers

These services are crucial when developing interactive and multi-layered systems. I ensure the defintion of the requirements for all layers, the recognition of contingencies and a comprehensive and consistent design of the system.

Specifications

The specifications that I create are the core documents for generating contracts, for communication, and for development tasks in interactive and multilateral projects. Examples are functional specifications, user interface specifications, and test specifications. These specifications take into account the various different requirements, interests and mind-sets from strategists, lawyers, graphic artists, engineers, software developers etc.

For developers and testers the specifications include the technical system architecture with a necessary level of detail. E.g.:

  • Structured requirements lists
  • SysML diagrams
  • API definitions
  • Protocol specifications

The specifications also include appealing and coherent descriptions of the system context, which is required for marketing, product management and decision makers. E.g.:

  • System advantages and visions
  • Example scenarios
  • Interface descriptions
  • Non-functional requirements

Testing

I provide services for system-wide verification and validation.

  • Development of test specifications
  • Definition of test strategy and test material
  • Implementation of test applications
  • Inspections and reviews
  • Usability testing

Services

Human-Systems Integration

I provide consulting and implementation services for clients who would like to establish work processes and products based on Human-Systems Integration.

Towards Human-Systems Integration

Human-Systems Integration is a mindset that combines human-centered design with systems engineering. It leads to a company transformation and an advanced system design that integrates human considerations across all system elements and all systems engineering stages. This relates not only to the users of the final product but also to other involved humans such as developers, trainers, key account managers, operators, user groups and society at large.
Human-Systems Integration comprises of two major tasks:

  • First, you have to find and tweak the concepts and methods which fit best to the particular mission statement of the company, to the involved persons, and to the product target group.
  • Second, you have to implement the methods in the work processes in such a way that they are welcomed by the affected persons and that they will lead to a long-term and sustainable increase in productivity.

Advantages

Aside from the both economically and ethically important general advantages of human-focused work environments and human-centered products, Human-Systems Integration is the means for several concrete and effective economic advantages. E.g.:

  • Increased productivity through greater motivation of the involved humans
  • Reduced system life cycle costs which often relate to human element areas (e.g. costs due to lost confidence, legal liability, flawed operations, ineffective usability)
  • Improved prestige of both the product and the producing company itself
  • Improved system design due to avoidance of misunderstandings between the involved people
  • Greater success of the final product through sustainability and serious implementation of human-centered design

Methods

As a starting point, here are some example methods which could be considered for a particular project:

  • Usage of an ontology and an understandable central system model which can be accessed by all involved persons and which is managed throughout the whole system life cycle
  • Integration of human-in-the-loop simulations and “digital twins” early in the system life cycle
  • Task and activity analysis viewing both humans and machines as agents of the system
  • Integration of wishes, preferences and capabilities of all involved people in the requirements engineering and system design processes
  • Strengthening of divergent thinking (e.g. brainstorming, storytelling, creativity sessions, out-of-box approach, educated common sense)
  • Team assembly based on individual psychological profiles (e.g. knowledge, skills, mental models, disposition, unconscious goals)
  • Integration of group and society interests in the requirements definition process
  • Promotion of becoming familiar with complexity instead of simplifying complexity
  • Using human factors in addition to software and hardware when evaluating the system performance
  • Introduction of a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)
  • Strengthening of related fields in the system design process (e.g. human factors engineering, safety, occupational health, user experience, environmental protection, cultural differences)
  • Carrying out of assessments on the level and quality of Human-Systems Integration

In any case, the selection and variation of such methods as well as the definition of new methods should be done individually per project together with the involved humans. Only then is it really human-centered.