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A case study on distributed collaborative design: investigation communication and information flow

Thomson, A.I. and Juster, N.P. and MacGregor, Steven P. (2001) A case study on distributed collaborative design: investigation communication and information flow. In: Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design, The Sixth International Conference on, 2001. NRC Research Press, pp. 249-254. ISBN 9780660184937

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Abstract

A current research project at the University of Strathclyde is introduced which aims to better understand the role of distributed engineering design in industry and address present problems. An element of the first major industrial case study of the project, completed within a multinational in the oil and gas industry, is then described and shown to address the main research questions. This multinational will be described in the text as company A. Sampling and analysis of distributed activity over time is served by the completion of daily diaries and direct observation. This detail design phase of a distributed design project finds that most collaborative work consists of simple information exchange supplementary to the main design activity. Furthermore, concentrated periods of collaborative design are found to follow these information exchange 'cycles'. 62% of distributed activity is found to be with the main design partner and asynchronous communication tools are the most popular. Distributed problems are also listed, including misinterpretation and finding the right person for information.