The Virtual Design Team: An Object-Oriented Model of Information Sharing in Project Design Teams

by Geoff Cohen, Stanford Univ, United States,
Raymond E. Levitt, Stanford Univ, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Preparing for Construction in the 21st Century


The Virtual Design Team (VDT) is an object-oriented, discrete event simulation of a multidisciplinary design team in action. The VDT models a design task as a network of design and design coordination activities to be performed by one or more subteams and their managers. The prototype version of the VDT described in this paper focuses on design coordination activities involving the joint participation of several subteam managers. Subteam managers are modeled as agents who pay attention to items in an inbox according to defined attention rules, process the items in a length of time determined by processing time rules, and direct communications to other agents through an outbox. Agents are located in professional, corporate, and team hierarchies from which they inherit behavioral characteristics. Information processing technologies used by the team affect the richness, quantity and timing of information passing between agents. Within this framework, we can model the impact of organizational structure and alternative information processing technologies on the duration of the overall design task.

Subject Headings: Team building | Aging (material) | Managers | Computer aided design | Computer models | Mathematical models | Simulation models | Structural models

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