Glossary » critical incident analysis
critical incident analysis
critical incidents are events that represent significant failures of a design, such as when a user accidentally unplugs the computer by kicking the power cords under the desk or when a nuclear powerplant goes critical because an operator thought that turning a dial clockwise meant cooler instead of hotter. Critical incident analysis is basically a multiple case study technique. A set of observed critical incidents are documented and analyzed to determine the source of the failure (though sometimes critical successes might also be examined). This can hilite the importance of improving a very infrequent but important task that otherwise might get ignored by a standard task analysis.