Discovering Hidden Tasks and Process Structure through Email Logs for DSM

DSM 14 Proceedings of the 16th International DSM conference: Risk and Change management in complex systems

Year: 2014
Editor: Marle, F.; Jankovic, M.; Maurer, M.; Schmidt, D. M.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Lan, L.; Liu, Y.; Lu, W. F.
Series: DSM
Section: Dependencies between Tasks and Processes
Page(s): 243-253


The design structure matrix (DSM) method is a powerful network modelling tool to highlight the system architecture via presenting the interactions between the elements comprising a system. In DSM, measuring the interaction strength between elements is the first and crucial step. However, since the system elements are generally pre-identified by experts, their interaction relationships are often obtained from experts’ evaluation, which is time consuming and error-prone. To address this critical issue, in this paper, we aim to discover the hidden tasks of a process and their interactions from email logs with domain-specific contents. To this purpose, we have proposed a three-stage numerical DSM modeling approach, where text mining and clustering techniques are studied to discover hidden tasks. Furthermore, a metric concerning the measurement of interaction strength based on the overlapping time and the volume of exchanged information is presented. A case study is provided based on the emails collected from a design project.

Keywords: DSM, process structure, interaction strength, email log, text mining, clustering

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