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A set of nine principles for distributed-design information storing

Grierson, Hilary (2011) A set of nine principles for distributed-design information storing. Design Principles and Practices, 5 (3). pp. 607-624. ISSN 1833-1874

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The issues of distributed working are many, with problems relating to information access and information acquisition the most common (Crabtree et al., 1997). Keeping track of project and team information is becoming more complex as design is increasingly being carried out collaboratively by geographically dispersed design teams across different time zones. The literature notes that little prescription or guidance exists on information management for designers (Culley et al., 1999) and Hicks (2007) highlights a relative lack of overall principles for improving information management. Additionally, evidence from earlier studies by the author into ‘How information is stored in distributed design project work’ reinforces the need for guidance, particularly in a distributed context (Grierson, 2008). Distributed information collections were found to be unorganised, contained unclear information and lacked context. Storing and sharing of distributed information was often time consuming and the tools awkward to use. This can lead to poor project progress and can impact directly on the quality and success of project outcomes (Grierson et al., 2004, 2006). This paper seeks to address these issues by presenting the development, implementation and evaluation of a set of Principles and a Framework to support distributed design information storing in the context of a Global Design class. Through both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods the Principles were found to help in a number of ways – with the easy access of information; the structuring and organising of information; the creation of an information strategy; the making of information clear and concise; the supporting of documentation during project work; and the strengthening of team work; all helping teams to work towards project outcomes.