Wasserfuhr R, Scherer R
Distributed management of co-operative design processes
Abstract: "Main reasons for inefficient project management and project delays are the lack of information about the progress of work in a team, wrong versions or missing data before starting to work, incorrect receivers of produced data and incompatible data formats. The ""islands of automation"" problem, recognized for product data management in the last decades, is now also becoming a barrier to efficient, computer-mediated project management, because different semi-integrated software solutions like document management systems, systems for messaging and email, workflow systems, project management software or PDM systems are partially overlapping in functionality. Improvements require a distributed IT system to know about the dependencies between activities of users, made transparent for users in a simple-to-use manner, with a central repository of information about users, access rights, running projects, involved organisations, avaliable applications and document types and relate any kind of electronic communication in a project (e.g. messaging, file exchange and file sharing).
The approach of this project is a coherent framework for an integrated treatment of design document management, project management, project communication and controlling, enabled by distributed multi-user IT environments with a shared, workflow driven activity model.
The relevant participants of a design team, their activities, and organizational dependencies are modelled in a detailed object oriented model. The project and task specific maintenance of the possible roles of all participants allows to determine access rights and authorisation for changes on design data. The entire project communication and the access to any type of design documents can be done in a task centred manner. The status of tasks can be determined automatically, because time constraints and dependencies between tasks are represented and maintained. The entire model is formally elaborated in the EXPRESS-C language, an extension of the ISO 10303 modelling language EXPRESS. The work is based on a co-operation between Dresden University of Technology and Obermeyer Planen and Beraten, the largest German company for Integrated Design in A/E/C. Obermeyer is one of the first German companies which successfully applies document management systems in large scale A/E/C projects."
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated