Adriana Santarosa Vivacqua and Ana Cristina B. Garcia
Design of engineering artifacts is a complex task, which is usually taken up by a group of designers. Usually, the problem is subdivided and distributed among them, and they must work together, sharing information and decisions so as to accomplish the final goal. The mere existence of a common goal should make this a cooperative process. However, the fact that designers have different tasks and local goals hinders the cooperative process. In this paper we discuss issues related to the incentive of cooperation and coordination of designers working in a group. How can we make designers cooperate among each other and how can we make the whole design process more efficient? We have created a collaborative design environment in which designers work on their individual portions of the design and share information among themselves. Cooperation is encouraged by showing the designers each others’ rationales. The model has been implemented for the domain of process plant design for off-shore oil platforms and is currently being used by engineers at the Brazilian Oil Company.