Collaborative tools for global design project management: Case study of an academic experience



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The management of information and the capture of design ideas are very critical during the product development and product lifecycle management. They could be very challenging tasks when time, efficiency and quality are important and the concurrent design team is physically distributed in different locations. However, the existing technology for communication, the increase of tools over the Internet and the cloud computing model have made possible and accelerated the means of sharing information synchronous and asynchronously in a very effective way. This has facilitated the work of teams that in many cases are geographically dispersed around the world. Therefore, there is a need to start preparing the future engineers in the use of collaborative tools for global design project management not only to schedule and coordinate all the required tasks for the project but also to capture all the information, ideas and concepts generated during the design process which contains valuable data that supports design decisions. This paper presents the use of several tools for communication and project management used in academic collaborative global design projects. In these projects, students are required to work with international partners from different universities in coordinating activities and documenting the conceptual design for a given problem. The paper reports the experience using the tools and discusses opportunities and pitfalls in the use of them as they were identified by the authors. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2010.


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