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A multi-level process based investigation of distributed design

Thomson, A.I. and Juster, N.P. and MacGregor, Steven P. (2002) A multi-level process based investigation of distributed design. In: Proceedings of Engineering Design Conference 2002. Professional Engineering Pub, pp. 186-194. ISBN 1-86058-372-5

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Nearly all published models of the design process fail to explicitly consider the impact of design being conducted by team members who are geographically dispersed. Such global design teams are becoming increasingly common. This paper presents the preliminary findings of two in-depth investigations of the distributed design process in two multinational companies. One company is primarily involved in original design whilst the other is involved in adaptive/variant design. The paper introduces some descriptive models of the micro and macro distributive and collaborative design processes observed in the companies. These descriptive processes should enable researchers to gain a better understanding of the distributed design process and thus begin to prescribe processes and associated tools to support new and improved distributed design processes.