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Hierachical Task Analysis [Agriculture
Posted on July 29, 2021 @ 05:42:00 AM by Paul Meagher

There are lots of suggestions about how to become more productive. There is a long history of performing detailed analysis of tasks to improve flow and reduce performance time. Frederick Taylor was one of the earliest advocates of "time and motion studies" to improve the performance on factory lines.

A popular task analysis technique is called "hierarchical task analysis" which involves identitying the major steps to completing a job, and then breaking each of the major steps into the component steps required to complete it. For example, the major steps required to "Make Hay" includes:

Cutting the hay
Teddering the hay (optional)
Raking the hay
Baling the hay
Storing the hay

If you want to go deeper, you can break down each of these steps (e.g., cutting the hay) into the lower level steps required to complete that step (e.g., mount mower to tractor, lubricate the mower, adjust tractor arms if necessary to level the mower, check the cutters and repair if necessary, check the belts, load up on tractor fuel, pick an opportune time to start, mow).

You don't need any special tools to do an hierachical task analysis than a pencil and paper. If you have not engaged in hierarchical task analysis before it might be worth identifying some upcoming job you need to perform and use hierarchical task analysis to break it down into its higher level steps, then break down those steps into the lower level steps required to complete the higher level step, and so on.

The HTML language provides ordered an unordered list tags if you want to use a computer and text editor to document the structure of a job using HTA. Some of the tasks listed in your breakdown might have a sequential relationship to the task before and after task in which case you might want to use the ordered list tag. When the tasks are not in an ordered relationship to each other, then you might decide to use the unordered list tag. You can then render your HTA in a web browser. This is a partial HTA for "Making Hay" to illustrate how to mark up your HTA;

<ol>
<li>Cutting the hay

<ul>
<li>Mount mower to tractor
<li>Lubricate the mower
<li>Adjust tractor arms if necessary to level the mower
<li>Check the cutters and repair if necessary
<li>Check the belts
<li>Load up on tractor fuel
<li>Pick an opportune time to start
<li>Mow fields
</ul>

<li>Teddering the hay
<li>Raking the hay
<li>Baling the hay
<li>Storing the hay
</ol>

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