UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Characterizing bottlenecks in building design coordination meetings Cavka, Hasan Burak


This thesis describes an ethnographic field study that examined the design coordination process in two building projects. The goal of the study was to better understand the challenges faced by project teams as they coordinate designs in multi-disciplinary meeting environments. I focus on the bottlenecks encountered during in-person and distributed project coordination meetings. I observed meeting bottlenecks when meeting activities were performed inefficiently, when the meeting process was slowed down, when meeting workflow was interrupted, or when decision-making was hindered. I identified and characterized meeting bottlenecks in a framework that illustrates the nature of the bottleneck, and the frequency of its occurrence. According to my observations, there were two main categories of causes for bottlenecks in coordination meetings: context-based bottlenecks and content-based bottlenecks. Context-based bottlenecks are caused by the people in the design team, the meeting environment and the meeting technology. Content-based bottlenecks are related to the nature of the information artifacts (e.g., drawings and other design information) and the interactions with these artifacts (e.g., navigation and annotation). This study also provides an analysis of the frequency and patterns of various bottlenecks encountered in different meeting settings. For example, in paper-based meetings, there were more “interaction/ access” bottlenecks observed since the meeting activities involved the use of information artifacts and the participants’ interaction with these artifacts. In distributed meetings, the larger number of meeting bottlenecks was observed under the “technology” bottlenecks group. Therefore, this analysis illustrates the specific requirements for different meeting settings. This study enhances our understanding of the work practice of project teams in design coordination meetings. It highlights the many ways that meeting efficiency could be improved for design teams in coordination meetings. By using the vignettes in this study, people from different domains can understand the nature of the meeting processes, the techniques used by project teams when coordinating designs, and the different methods used by meeting participants to interact with information artifacts. My hope is that these findings will inform the design of new interaction, visualization, and integration technologies that better support the meeting processes of design teams.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International