Information Sharing Within a Distributed, Collaborative Design Process: A Case Study

MacGregor, Steven P., Thomson, Avril I. and Juster, Neal P. (2001) Information Sharing Within a Distributed, Collaborative Design Process: A Case Study. In: ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences, Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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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. The first major industrial case study of the project, completed within a multinational in the oil and gas industry, is then described together with the main research questions. This multinational will be described in the text as company A. The findings are split into three areas depending on the data collection method employed. The main case study issues are investigated through interviews while a profile of current activities and perceptions comes from completed questionnaires. Sampling and analysis of distributed activity over time is served by the completion of daily diaries and direct observation. These combine to increase the understanding of information sharing and collaborative design in a distributed organization. Interviews show the importance of design reuse within the organization contrasting with the pressures of formalizing all parts of a design project. The preponderance of variant design activity is also highlighted along with concerns of continued practice. The questionnaires show that 34% of engineers’ time is spent sourcing relevant information and knowledge and that the most popular sources are company systems followed by personal contact. 18% of work is found to be distributed while colleagues from another location and another floor/department know more 51% and 57% of the time respectively. The detail design phase of a distributed design project is analysed over time which 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’. Distributed problems are also discussed in the paper, ranging from difficulties with unfamiliar terminology to a lack of visibility at worldwide sites.

Keywords:Design, Data collection, Engineering design, Engineers, Petroleum industry
Subjects:H Engineering > H100 General Engineering
ID Code:47171
Deposited On:03 Nov 2021 11:37

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