The language of collaborative engineering projects

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Hicks, Ben
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Bath, United Kingdom
Page(s): 321-330
ISBN: 978-1-904670-49-0
ISSN: 2220-4334


The challenges of managing large, long-life, distributed engineering projects are discussed and the need to improve monitoring and control in order to reduce over-runs, improve productivity, better manage IP and monitor risk is highlighted. In order to achieve this, it is proposed that the outputs of the communications and the digital objects generated as part of the project are fundamentally related to performance and that analysis of their content can provide understanding, insights and predictions about the project. In order to explore this proposition an exploratory study of the content of a project email corpus and its relation to the project schedule and project performance is presented. This study demonstrates a series of eight trends (termed signatures) between longitudinal traces of problem solving, information transactions and management that corresponded to project states and modes of management intervention. Although the project-related rationale accounting for the signatures seen in this project may not accurately characterize all projects, their alignment with actual events points to the potential value of email content for improving project management.

Keywords: Design management, knowledge discovery, collaborative design, content analysis, email


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