Department of Information Technology

EthXpert: Brief Introduction

This introduction is not exhaustive and covers only features that are not self-explanatory. Perhaps you want to play with an example analysis (Right-click link >> Save as...).

Prerequisites

Two options:

  1. Download EthXpert. You need Java to run the application. It has been tested to work with Java 1.6 on MacOS X and Windows 7. Under most configurations it is enough to double click the application icon after downloading it and the program will start. In Windows, if you have installed a jar decompresser, you might have to choose Java manually to open it (Right-click icon >> Open with...).
  1. Use the Java Web start version for easier installation. You need Java Web Start to run the application. It has been tested to work with Java 1.6 on MacOS X and Windows 7. You need to trust the self-signed certificate of Mikael Laaksoharju to run the program.

Tabs

Introduction tab

Just a blank page where you can introduce the problem as clearly as possible. Take the position of problem owner.

Network tab

This is where you add stakeholders and interests. Add all the stakeholders that you can imagine, assign interests to them and let these stimulate the discovery of even more stakeholders.

  • Move stakeholders by dragging.
  • Double click on stakeholders to edit properties like name and interests. Check the box if you want to visualize the stakeholder as an organization.
  • Resize organizations with the small triangle on bottom right.
  • Double click on the arrow heads between stakeholders to add ideas about how the interests affect, or are affected by, the "target" stakeholder.

Relations tab

When you have assigned interests to the stakeholders, these will appear here as the y-axis in the matrix. On the x-axis all stakeholders are lined up. Fill in the cells with any imaginable considerations between stakeholder interests and "target" stakeholders. This is another representation of the input tab. You do not necessarily need to fill in every cell, but you should consider all relations. How interests affect other stakeholders is key to expanding the scope of the problem.

  • Press shift or the left mouse button while moving the mouse to magnify the cells under the pointer.
  • Use arrow keys for step-by-step moving.
  • Press Enter or double-click to edit a cell.

Evaluation tab

In this tab the impact on stakeholder interests from different options is analyzed. Fill the cells with all the risks and benefits that the options might have.

  • Add option adds a new option.
  • Fork option lets you choose a previously created option to evaluate compromise strategies. Pretty nifty. In the edit box, you can choose to remove inherited statements that are no longer valid.
  • Click on an option header to change it or to delete it.
  • Press shift or the left mouse button while moving the mouse to magnify the cells under the pointer.
  • Use arrow keys for step-by-step moving.
  • Press Enter or double-click to edit a cell.

Conclusion tab

Here you should approach a conclusion for your analysis. Highlight the most important arguments for your decision in the Relations and Evaluation tabs by checking the box next to the statement in the edit box (and the cell becomes green). For each chosen argument you can give a brief comment on why you consider it to be important for your decision.

File Menu

Merge imports information from a saved project into the current one. It matches stakeholders, interests and options by exact spelling. This function is useful if you decide to distribute the work within a group.

Export creates an HTML file, that you can use for printing or whatever.

General advice

  • Do not hesitate to add seemingly irrelevant information in any of the tabs. You can always delete it later.
  • Do not be afraid of trying out the program by clicking here and there. I have probably forgotten to mention some features.
  • You can use the arrow keys to move around in the matrices.
  • You can use TAB to move around in dialogs.
  • Most dialogs store information automatically when you exit a field by TAB or Enter.
  • For those who like to edit XML - please go ahead and have a look at the generated files!

IMPORTANT! This software is provided as-is and is hardly even in the phase of beta testing. No guarantees for its functioning can be given. Remember to save your work often, and make backup copies of your save files regularly. If something goes wrong, unexpected things can happen! E-mail Mikael Laaksoharju if you have any questions.

Updated  2011-10-11 13:00:49 by Mikael Laaksoharju.