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Using social data to estimate remaining time needed to complete a series of tasks Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200992D
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-03
Document File: 2 page(s) / 43K

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The Prior Art Database


It is difficult to provide accurate estimates for how long complex tasks (with multiple processes and actors) will take to complete. Individual's experience is often the only method that can be used, but this falls down if the individual has not completed the same task before and does not have access to anyone who has. This article describes a means for taking the experience of a wide social group in order to accurately estimate the time taken to complete a particular task.

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Using social data to estimate remaining time needed to complete a series of tasks

Consider the situation when you are completing a potentially complex task, such as buying a house or building an extension. This task will have multiple steps that need to be completed. As you progress through those steps it would be advantageous to have an estimate of the likely remaining time needed to complete the task. This disclosure details an approach that can be used to harness social network data to provide this estimated time to completion. In addition data from others who have already completed the same task will be advantageous in helping the current user to understand how much of the remaining time will be effort by them and how much will be them waiting for others. In a system where people share task descriptions (such as the Extreme Blue project What's Next) it becomes possible to gather durations for specific steps in a process.

    This data can then be used to provide a realistic outlook for the remaining duration of a task that I am seeking to achieve.

    Furthermore, as the execution of the task progresses the set of steps needed to be completed may change, for example if I apply for planning permission and it is rejected due to a problem with my plans I will need to add an additional set of tasks associated with resubmission. By utilising the experience of others the estimated time to completion can be recalculated as greater clarity emerges on the set of tasks required in this instance to complete the task. Data on the owner of each step will also help to inform the user on how much of the remaining work will be done by them and how much by third parties. Further to this the gathering of data from previous experiences will generate a view on the relative performance of alternative suppliers who may be offering to complete a specific task.

Let Ti be the set of steps needed to complete a particular Task (T).

    Let Di be the average duration of step Ti where this average has been calculated from a set of people who have previously completed the step. This could be the complete set of people known to the processing system who have completed the step in the past or an appropriate subset that could either be automatically generated (based on my social network or other settings) or be based on specified user preferences for the comparis...