Supporting virtual team collaboration
Proceedings of the international ACM SIGGROUP conference on Supporting group work - GROUP '99
In this paper, we describe a collaborative system specifically designed to address problems faced by distributed (or virtual) teams. TeamSCOPE (Team Software for a Collaborative Project Environment) is a web-based work environment that has emerged from a research project studying the communication needs of internationally distributed engineering design teams. The paper begins by outlining some of the needs of virtual teams. An integrative framework that focuses on facilitation of group members'
... awareness of group activities, communications and resources is proposed. These needs and awareness requirements are then translated into a set of collaborative system design goals which have guided the implementation of TeamSCOPE. The features of TeamSCOPE are briefly reviewed, and some preliminary observations from early users are provided. We conclude by noting some of the new features planned for TeamSCOPE based on our early trials. collaboration are infrequent, if not nonexistent. As a result, team members are dependent on mediated interactions for coordination, and are likely to face important deficits in the information they have about the day-to-day activities of their teammates. Although many new forms of mediated communications exist to support distributed groups, simple access to communication media alone is insufficient to promote the intense collaborative activity that co-located teams often have. Scheduling problems, lack of communication discipline, cognitive overload, high communications costs, and delayed responses are just a few of the obstacles that limit the effectiveness of various communications media [9, 181. The danger is that physically dispersed groups will resort to a coordination strategy that essentially minimizes their needs for interaction, primarily by dividing up tasks in such a way that frequent collaboration is not needed . As Fussell and colleagues note, this is a particularly poor strategy for groups operating in changing environments.