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Acknowledgements I would like to express my appreciation to the people who contributed to the success of this
First and foremost, I am grateful to my supervisor, Professor Alain Wegmann, whose inspiring ide-as, extensive expertise and generous guidance taught me to see both the big picture and the details. Thank you, Alain, for supporting my work, broadening my research horizon, and challenging me! You continuously motivated me with your endless energy and joyful enthusiasm, and helped me develop my confidence in telling better stories with SEAM. I understood that what might seem evi-dent deserves an analysis of deeper layers.
I am hugely indebted to my LAMS colleagues for making our lab a unique place to work in. Thank you, Dr. Gil Regev, for providing me with insightful feedback, helping me put my research into a larger perspective, sharing priceless consulting resources, and offering me the chance to review interesting papers that connect my work with other lines of research. Thank you, Ms. Gorica Tapandjieva, for reviewing my work and proposing improvements countless number of times. Thank you, Ms. Aylin Jarrah Nezhad, for testing my models, and for pointing out implicit elements related to both the human and technology sides. Thank you, Ms. Aarthi Gopal, for your kind and creative feedback, and for making sure we all display a smile on our faces every single day. Thank you, Dr. Biljana Baji-Bizumi, for our career discussions during which we explored consulting life. Thank you, Dr. Arash Golnam, for your challenging questions, and for guiding the synthesis of my write-up. Thank you, Dr. Anshuman Saxena, for checking my research progress, and, at every occasion, adding more pressure on to my shoulders. Thank you, Mr. Blaise Carrupt, for developing SeamCAD, and for allowing me to test numerous versions of my SEAM models. Thank you, Dr. Pierre Castori and Mr. Lucien Etzlinger, for developing TradeYourMind.com, that allowed me to understand SEAM modeling applied to business ideas. Thank you, Mrs. Danielle Alvarez and Mrs. Patricia Hejlt, for your administrative support. Thank you, Mrs. Holly Cogliati, for proofreading my English in this thesis. Thank you, Mrs. Angela Devenoge, for improving the German translation of my thesis abstract. I am grateful to all the students who helped me to understand my thesis better. Thank you all for making LAMS an incredible place for learning and working. The Ph.D. research years we spent together were some of the best of my life.
I would like to acknowledge the members of my Ph.D. jury. I am thankful to Professor Bixio Rimoldi for having kindly accepted the role as the committee president. I am grateful to Professor Hendrik Knoche for directing my attention to the relevant pieces of literature related to user-
centered design, and for helping me to formulate better significant research results. I also address my thanks to Professor Jeffrey Huang and Professor Boris Fritscher who gave me important feed-back on my work.
I cannot thank enough the people who inspired and helped me through my professional life. They helped me steer my career journey harmoniously, in the direction of my competencies. Thank you, Professor Radu Gologan, for being my role-model, inspiring me to connect the mathematical and real worlds together. Thank you, Professor Simona Caramihai, for your trust in my engineering skills for my bachelors thesis. Thank you, Professor Daniel Krob, for considering me as one of the finest students that you worked with for my masters program. Thank you, Mr. Preben Lund, for agreeing with my proposal to do a Ph.D. at EPFL, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world. Thank you, Mr. Claudiu Balan, my dear friend and colleague, for your patience and precious contribution to our first research papers together.
My friends and colleagues from EPFL made my integration in Switzerland such a pleasant experi-ence. Id like to especially thank Dr. Claudiu Muat, Mr. Bogdan Stoica, Dr. Florin Dinu, Mr. Jau-fray Sornette, Dr. Mihai Dobrescu, Dr. Dan Alistarh, Ms. Sonia Bogo, Mr. Sergiu Gman, Dr. Fla-viu Roman, Dr. Alexandru Rusu, Dr. Nicolae Chiurtu, Dr. Tudor Calistru, Mr. Haprian Vlad, Dr. Francisco Macedo, Mr. Elio Abi Karam, Ms. Rafah El-Khatib, Ms. Lavinia Ghia, Ms. Corina Stoenescu, Ms. Raluca Constantin, and Ms. Zerrin Celebi for their cooperation and positive energy that were essential for the completion of the field work. It was a pleasure to develop exploratory discussions about the advancements of technology in our society with Dr. Jean-Yves Henry.
My close friends from Geneva, Ms. Diana Mihai, Mrs. Ligia Folea and Mr. Thomas Barzan, Mrs. Raluca Paol and Mr. Bogdan Paol, and Mrs. Ruxandra Nftnil-Postolache and Mr. Eugen Naftnil, I would like to thank you for all the excitement and experiences we shared together at our cozy homes, out in the wild nature, or on the icy slopes.
My tennis team at Saint Sulpice greatly contributed to my well-being, relaxation, and my ambition of winning by overcoming obstacles. I am grateful to Mr. Frdric Bonvin, Mr. Andr Gruhl, Mr. Maxime Schlaepfer, Mr. Jonas Burdel, Mr. Matthieu Humair, Mr. Matyas Lindenberger, Mr. Andr Monnier, Mr. Marc-Antoine Habisreutiger, and other team members for the evening practice, de-lightful apros, and good mood after our InterClub wins.
I owe great appreciation from the bottom of my heart to my entire family. Thank you, Ms. Ginela Popescu, my sister, for explaining how an excellent doctor helps humans every day, to infer what a doctor in computer science working with computers should do to serve humanity as well. Thank you, Mrs. Ana Popescu and Mr. Paul Popescu, my parents, for teaching me the right values in life, for offering me the next generation of computers every 3-4 years, and for encouraging me to ex-plore my interests based on a solid educational background. Thank you, Mrs. Elena Popescu and Mr. Ilie Popescu, my grandparents, for taking excellent care of my first 7 years of life, which were full of freedom and passion for exploring the world. Thank you, Mrs. Simona Neagu and Cristian Neagu, my parents-in-law, for loving me unconditionally, as your own son. Thank you, Mrs. Victo-ria Ene, my grand-mother in law, for your endless care and positive attitude.
My greatest thanks I address to my wife, Mrs. Monica-Maria Popescu-Neagu, who has been by my side during both successful and challenging moments. Thank you for your loving encouragements, patience, understanding, and corporate-inspired advice. You contributed to my professional and personal achievements since the day we met.
Lausanne, the 30th of September 2016
The measure of greatness in a scientific idea
is the extent to which it stimulates thought and opens up new lines of research.
Paul A.M. Dirac
Humility is the awareness that theres a lot you dont know.
And that a lot of what you think you know, is distorted, or wrong.
This is the way humility leads to wisdom.
Abstract [Context] IT modelers create models to communicate their conceptualization of an organi-
zation and to facilitate the collaboration between business and IT people. The story they convey in their models is how the corporate IT systems fulfill the business peoples needs. The business peo-ple who must validate these models often have no IT background. Therefore, IT modelers need to create models that non-IT individuals understand.
[Motivation and Problem] We explore the understanding of models created with IT notations by non-IT individuals. We enable IT modelers to create models such that non-IT readers can under-stand. We also enable IT notation designers to design notations that help modelers to create models that non-IT readers can understand.
[Idea and Results] We perform an explorative qualitative case-study for two modeling notations, SEAM and i*, by using two cases: car-maintenance service and meeting scheduler, in order to in-vestigate how readers interpret models. Readers evaluate our models and identify the elements that are difficult to comprehend. We create improved models by making these elements easier to com-prehend, so that readers understand the modelers story. We reduce the misalignment between the modelers story and the readers perceptions of this story. We improve models without changing the identity of the underlying notation.
[Contributions] Our contributions address modelers and designers of IT notations.
For IT modelers, such as IT architects, service designers, and consultants, using IT notations (e.g., UML, BPMN, ArchiMate), this research provides the means necessary to create models so that readers, unfamiliar with the notation, understand. We recommend to modelers to model: (i) the rela-tion with reality, by focusing on the readers conceptualizations, (ii) the rationale, by using the questions, options, criteria and their assessment, and (iii) the story, by using story-phases: context, conflict, climax and closure. In addition, we provide them with a modeling process for creating models.
For designers of IT notations, this resea