The Language of Collaborative Manufacturing is a £1.9M research project sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and led by the Universities of Bristol and Bath in collaboration with our industrial partners. We aim to deliver next-generation project dashboards that can identify potential project issues, improve productivity, and improve the management of aspects such as intellectual property, risk and cost.
Research effort has been primarily focused on three areas this quarter to July: presentation of conference papers, development of the framing of the research with respect to engineering Project Health Monitoring (ePHM), and holding industrial workshops.
For the first, we’re delighted to say we’ve picked up not one, but two awards for outstanding contributions to Design ’16 and Design Computing and Cognition ’16. Check out our Publications page for more details.
Framing our Work
Secondly, following an ongoing and extensive period of framing and re-framing, the underlying constructs and methods created as part of the project, we have converged on a model of engineering Project Health Monitoring (ePHM). This model is a contextualisation and extension of the accepted model of IVHM (Intelligent Vehicle Health Monitoring):
In the Q10 report we summarised the design and format of our user-drive workshop. In particular, the workshops last 2.5-3hrs and involve three stages. The first stage is a general discussion and brainstorm of the factors that impact the performance of engineering projects. The second stage involves that ranking of the relative importance of the set of project feature that we have developed. Further, participants are asked to rate the level of understanding of these features afforded by their current tool set. The third stage is an interactive design sessions. Here the aim is for participants to individually then collaboratively develop concepts for supportive dashboards for engineering projects:
To date we have held three workshops: The first was with the Strategic Project Office of the University of Bristol, the second was with Frazer Nash Consultancy, and the third was held in Croatia with a mix of participants from industry and academia. Over 70 people have participated to date. We are planning further workshops with with an industrial partner in August and Formula Student teams later in the year.
We’ve had a busy couple of months as we begin to consolidate the various strands of work and ramp-up our industrial engagement. We ran two Participatory Design Sessions in May, picking the brains of over 50 engineers – one with Frazer Nash Consultancy, and one at the Design 2016 International design conference, with a great mix of industry and academic input…
This week we’re at the 7th International Design Computing and Cognition conference in Chicago.
Our project has just been presented via an elevator pitch and a poster. The feedback was great, with lots of interest and enthusiasm for the concept of engineering Project Health Monitoring (ePHM).
Delegates were really interested in the set of project features that we have developed and the ‘proxies’ that we use to monitor these. As a consequence, we are going to add a new section to this website that summarises each proxy and the project features for which it can provide insight. Want to know more? Check out the poster and abstract below…
As part of our efforts to understand what matters most to engineering project managers, and what they most struggle with when it comes to managing their products, we have been conducting a survey to develop an in-depth understanding of the major performance-influencing aspects of projects within various company contexts, and how well these are monitored and understood by the project management tools currently in use.
Waking up at 4:30am? We don’t mind when it’s because we’re flying to Cavtat in Croatia for the Design 2016 conference!
If we can drag ourselves away from the pool at the ‘Team LOCM’ villa, we will be running a workshop on “Designing the next generation of project management dashboards for global engineering projects.” This will be at 13:45 today Monday 16th May in Salon 5 – please do come along.
You’ll also see some of the team presenting throughout the week:
- Session 214: 8:15-10:15 Tuesday 17th May, Congress Hall Konavle
Dr Chris Snider – Determining work focus, common language and issues in engineering projects through topic persistence.
- Session D212: 08:15-10:15 Tuesday 17th May, Congress Hall Bobara
Dr Duncan Boa – Discriminating Engineering Information Interaction using eye tracking and an information operations model.
- Session D412: 08:15-10:15 Thursday 19th May, Congress Hall Bobara
Dr James Gopsill – Computer aided design user interaction as a sensor for monitoring engineers and the engineering design process.
The focus over this period has been two-fold: The first has dealt with consolidating the various analyses associated with each case study (data set) while the second has been to develop our approach for capturing user requirements and context(s). In the former work has continued across the four case studies associated with a Formula Student team and our other industrial partners. For the latter we have developed a combined survey and interactive workshop for potential users.
During this quarter four conference papers have been accepted for publication and are to be presented in Croatia in May and Chicago in June. In addition to this a journal article associated with the automated typing of topics in email associated with engineering projects has been submitted to the Journal of Advanced Engineering Informatics.
In addition to preparing the data set and planning analysis, Dr Emanuel has been interviewing the project manager on a monthly basis to understand the issues faced and user needs, with the aim of distilling a set of requirements for an FS dashboard. Interviews and analyses are ongoing, with two main focuses. First, requirements extraction will centre on supporting the project manager’s work flow, decision making capabilities and needs regarding issue/problem support across the 22 week build period. Second, the interviews will be used to understand the prevalence or importance of the project features, developed by Dr Snider, at different points in the build life cycle. Dr Emanuel has used the previous year’s CAD model as boundary object to communicate where work and issues are occurring as they develop this year’s car. The aim is to match these annotations to occurrences in CAD activity:
We’ve also been undertaking lots of other work in collaboration with our industrial partners, such as a tool that predicts project complexity and duration with over 75% accuracy after the project is around 30% completed. Another tool we have developed automatically connects and visualises people, topics and reports. This is being used initially as a tool to map and identify competencies, but we hope to expand it into a tool to support the creation of technology road maps also – watch this space!
Finally, we were delighted to host Dr Heli Aramo-Immonen from Tampere University of Technology. Dr Aramo-Immonen is collaborating with Dr Joel-Edgar on visualisations to support knowledge management.
New year, time to reflect on progress to date, consolidate and plan for the coming year. And brighten up a cold winter’s day with some fun activities (hint: It turns out that our mild-mannered computer scientist Leon is a bit of an expert with an airgun!)
In that spirit, the LOCM team escaped the office for a spot of team-building and idea generation, particularly around the best way to create impact from our research. We don’t just want to publish high quality papers in leading conferences and journals, you know!
As well as the specific work we are undertaking with our partners such as Airbus and the National Composites Centre, we also identified some more generic, transferable outputs, including: