The Concept of Project Memories: Improving the Practice of Global Design Information Sharing

By Hilary Grierson and Bill Ion.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

With a shift towards the globalisation of design and increasing collaborative design practice, designers are exchanging more general and contextual information and knowledge relating to the design development process. There is also a need to record design information more efficiently. Organisational, corporate and project memories support this, providing a central repository and access point for documents, collaboration and communication. They store the information and knowledge an organisation needs to share and preserve. They are an attempt to capture the more informal processes and rationale alongside the formal design project outputs. However, these systems have often been ignored in the past as a resource for a number of reasons. For example, Western culture has come to value results above processes; many organisations collect too much information which is later difficult to find and revisit; and often there is a failure to capture the emerging design knowledge, the history and the context behind formal documentation. There are also issues of the additional overhead needed to document design; the tools are often complex and cumbersome and inhibit the natural flow of the design process. This paper revisits the concepts of organisational, corporate and project memories focusing particularly on Project Memories for Global Design Information Sharing with the purpose of capturing a comprehensive picture of design outcomes, processes and practices. It presents the results of a detailed empirical study into the information stored by a global student team in a project memory and feedback on its use. The benefits and the criteria for a Project Memory are outlined and a Project Memory Model for distributed design is defined.

Keywords: Global Design, Distributed Design, Engineering Design Information Management, Project Memories

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.1-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.643MB).

Dr. Hilary Grierson

Lecturer, Department of Design Manufacture & Engineering Management, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Hilary Grierson, studied Architecture and design at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, graduating, BArch (1984), and MSc in Computer-aided Building Design (1985); and at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, MA (1985–86). Currently Lecturer in Design at the Department of Design Manufacture and Engineering Management at the University of Strathclyde; teaching design project work and global design. Research activities include distributed design and technologies for design education. She has worked on the DIDET project with the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, USA, investigating digital libraries for global distributed design education and team working. She is published in over 30 journal and conference papers, both national and international.

Prof. Bill Ion

Professor, Advanced Forming Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

Professor Bill Ion is currently the AFRC Operations Director, a world class research facility supporting fundamental and applied research in forming and forging based at Inchinan, Glasgow. He is also a Professor in the Department of Design Manufacture and Engineering Management, acting as Global Innovation Management Programme Director. His areas of expertise are engineering design education and distributed environments.