- - development of cooperation tools to support Bonn-Berlin government
- - University of Bonn Research Topic: Communication and Co-operation Systems
The Institute for Computer Science III of the University of Bonn is a partner
in the POLITeam Project, which is being pursued under the auspices of the
new Telekooperation POLIKOM
research program instituted by the Federal Minister for Research and Technology.
The goal of this program is the development of telecooperation systems
which support the cooperation between the distributed governmental functions
between Bonn and Berlin, as well as the intensification of European cooperation.
Specific goal of the POLITeam project consortia
is the development of an integrative groupware-system that provides a comprehensive
support for spatially distributed, asynchronous work. The following POLITeam
components are of major relevance for the work of the Institute for Computer
All components are presented in an integrated form, through a common interface,
which makes complex cooperational relationships easy to grasp and control.
The total system is based upon a distributed object management system.
The workflow component supports cooperative and coordinated processes,
for instance ministerial business procedures, by the means of electronic
A shared desktop supports the cooperative editing of arbitrary documents,
for instance enabling two construction engineers to work on a joint document;
The notification and information service informs users individually of
past and current events in their cooperative context, for instance sending
a notification to a user when the document she wants to work on is available;
PoliTeam pursues a strategy of cooperative and evolutionary work in
league with users. Representatives of potential end-users from public administration
and industry have therefore been involved in the project from its inception.
The technical basis for the system is an already-available groupware solution,
is being tested in conjunction with the pilot partners and which will,
in subsequent project phases, be iteratively extended. The following figure
illustrates the evolutionary aspect of POLITeam. Rather short cycles of
system use and adaptation are enhanced by system redesign when necessary.
Adaptation can be partly performed by the end-users who are also strongly
involved in redesign issues.
It is anticipated that concrete application of the initial system in
everyday work environments will lead, in conjunction with feedback from
the application partners, to the determination of further requirements
for coordinating support systems. These will in turn prompt new developments
which will themselves be tested in the field.
Points of Emphasis
The Institute for Computer Science III as a member of the POLITeam research
alliance is particularly working on the following topics.
Integrated Organization and Technology Development (OTE)
We proposed the Integrated Organization and Technology Development
(OTE) approach in order to combine modern methods of organizational development
with participative ways of intruducing a new technology in an organization.
OTE is an evolutionary process in which users supported by facilitators
analyze their work and organization and cooperate with system developers
to come up with a system that fits their current needs best and is flexible
enough to cope with future organizational changes.
Methods of Participative System Development
Being faced with growing complexity of environmental demands and the
increasing speed of organizational change it becomes more and more important
to involve users in the process of system development and system adaptation.
This is particularly true for a groupware like POLITeam which is supposed
to adequately support the ways of communication and cooperation between
the users. Several approaches of user participation (e.g. the union-driven
Scandinavian approach) are considered and evaluated for their use for the
participative development of groupware.
Since the actions of one person working with a groupware system generally
affect others (e.g. if they share data or have a common work space) there
is a lot of potential for conflicts between users. These conflicts need
to be detected and dealt with. To do this we suggest different mechanisms
for conflict management which include visibility of other's actions, the
chance to prevent somebody else's action, negotiations via an extra communication
channel, and others. Depending on the work situation one or more of these
mechanisms can be appropriate.
The Notification and Information Service designed for POLITeam is meant
to support awareness as well as privacy aspects. Therefore, the generation
of events should be configurable within a field of application. On the
"consumer-side" contexts of interest should be defined to avoid information
overload. Here, the presentation of events by an appropriate user interface
also plays an important role.
Access Rights for Groupware
Access control is an important part of any information sharing system.
Supporting cooperative work requires a refined concept of access rights.
Every access control model has to handle the organizational requirements
with different group structures and roles which can be associated to the
users. So the model has to be flexible regarding the different access possibilities
of different types of objects within the system. On the other hand there
need to be rules, regulations, and default values so that the flexibility
of access rights still can be handled. Within the POLITeam project we want
to find out what degree of flexibility and regulation of access rights
serves the needs of our application partners best.
Kahler, H.: From Taylorism to Tailorability, in: Anzai, Y.; Ogawa,
K.; Mori, H. (eds): Symbiosis of Human and Artifact, Elsevier, Amsterdam
Pfeifer, A.: Zugriffsrechte in kooperativen Arbeitsumgebungen, in:
Proceedings des Workshops "Koordinationsmethoden und Werkzeuge bei der
computergestützten kooperativen Arbeit, 7.7.95 in Bamberg, pp. 112
Pfeifer, A.; Wulf, V.: Aushandelbarkeit als Konfliktlösungsstrategie
in gemeinsam genutzten Datenbanken. In: Brödner, Peter; Paul, Hansjürgen;
Hamburg, Ileana (Hg.) (1996): Kooperative Konstruktion und Entwicklung
- die Zukunft von CAD-Systemen. München: Rainer Hampp Verlag
Rohde, M.; Pfeifer, A.; Wulf, V.: Konfliktmanagement bei Vorgangsbearbeitungssystemen;
in: Wirtschaftsinformatik 38, (1996) S.199-209
Wulf, V: Conflicts and Negotiations in Multi-User Applications;
in: Kent, A.; Williams, J. G. (eds): Encyclopedia of Microcomputers, Dekker,
New York et al., 1996 (in preparation)
Wulf, V.: Groupware within the Process of Integrated Organization
and Technology Development; in: Bulletin of ACM-SIGOIS, 4/1996, Vol 17,No
Wulf, V.: Mechanisms for Conflict Management in Groupware; in: Anzai,
Y.; Ogawa, K.; Mori, H. (eds): Symbiosis of Human and Artifact, Elsevier,
Amsterdam 1995, pp. 379 - 385
Wulf, V.; Rohde, M.: Towards an Integrated Organization and Technology
Development; in: Proceedings of the Symposium on Designing Interactive
Systems, 23. - 25.8.1995, Ann Arbor (Michigan), ACM-Press, New York 1995,
pp. 55 - 64
Wulf, V.; Rohde, M.: Integrated Organization and Technology Development
- An Approach to Manage Change; in: Brandt, D. (ed.): Proceedings of the
5th IFAC Symposium on Automated Systems based on Human Skill - Discussion
Group V, Aachen 1995, pp. 135 - 140
The POLITeam research alliance consists of
Application partners are:
the Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth with
offices in Bonn and Berlin
the Ministry for Justice, of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with
offices in Schwerin, Bonn, Brussels, and Tallinn
and Audi-AG, with offices in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm
Uni Bonn Project Members
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