2005 Lecture

Collaboration and Telecollaboration in Design

The BCS/IEE Turing lecture in 2005 was presented by Fred. P Brooks Jr on Collaboration and Telecollaboration in Design.

The process of designing computers, programming languages, operating systems, and big applications systems seems to have a lot in common across media.

These same commonalities also occur in the processes of designing buildings and other engineering creations.

A new characteristic of design in the 20th century is the dominant use of teams to do design. We design with teams both because we are in a hurry and because our creations require more skills than one mind can master. Yet we want our designs to have excellence, and that requires conceptual integrity. Achieving conceptual integrity in team design is then a formidable challenge.

Telecollaboration is now, in the 21st Century, not only possible but even fashionable. The mantra of "telecollaboration" assumes implicitly that collaboration is a good thing per se. The more one collaborates, the better. This is far from self-evident; it probably is not true. Nevertheless, there are parts of the design process where collaboration not only shares out the work, but also produces a better design. Here telecollaboration can be most fruitful.

Analysis of these aspects of design inevitably generates opinions on how design should be done and taught.

PDF fileReport from the lecture (20 kb)