Project Reports: Do Meetings Have to be Inefficient and Boring?

IFSR Newsletter 1996 Vol. 15 No. 4 December
The electronic meeting PQS-Team
Gerhard Chroust
Systemtechnik und Automation,
Johannes Kepler University Linz, 4040 Linz/Austria,
Meetings are still held in the same way as in Mediaeval times. Participants sit around a table and the tools are the same as in medieval times, perhaps augmented by an overhead projectors.
Further, many of these meetings are considered to be inefficient and lost time. Little computer support has – up to now – been provided. But such meetings are necessary for creative problem solving and for subtle negotiations. Proximity of the partners, the atmosphere, the interaction and the resulting spontaneity are needed.

PQS-Team-Room (productivity, quality, speed) at Kepler University Linz. ,Austria, IFSR Newsletter 1996 Vol 15 no 4 December

PQS-Team-Room (productivity, quality, speed) at Kepler University Linz. ,Austria, IFSR Newsletter 1996 Vol 15 no 4 December

Based on previous experiences an electronic meeting room (called PQS-Team-Room for : productivity, quality and speed) has been built at the Kepler University Linz.
The main advantage of the meeting room shows during the meeting itself:
Brainstorming: All participants can enter their ideas in parallel.
Controlled parallel discussion: A discussion similar to a Delphi-survey can be performed.
Voting: Complicated balloting methods, open and secret, can effectively be performed in ‘real-time’.
Information Retrieval: every Participant can retrieve supporting evidence from his/her own information base. This information can be shown to the other participants.
Also during preparation of the meeting the systems offers a very useful feature:
be discussed off-line via the provided software
Prediscussed agenda: items and comments can be added to the agenda, thus reducing the time needed for this in the actual meeting.
Support for arranging time and place of the meeting, the agenda, the list of invitees, the writing and distribution of the minutes is also available.
Besides support of actual decision meetings some more creative uses of this kind of meeting room could be:

  • Software Process Evaluation, e.g. ISO-9000
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Group Examinations

We believe that an electronic meeting room might provide some dramatic changes in the future. It is up to us to identify the potential, utilize this technology and accept the challenge.
Chroust, G. and Pamminger A. PQS-Team-Room, Need or Annoyance? in: Chroust, G. and Doucek, P. (eds.): IDIMT-96 : 4nd Interdisciplinary Information Management Talks, ,Oldenbourg 1996, 140-148.
Lewe, H. and Krcmar H.: Die CATeam Raum-Umgebung als Mensch-Computer Schnittstelle.- in: Friedrich J., Rödiger K.H. (eds): Computergestützte Gruppenarbeit (CSCW) – Fachtagung, Universität Bremen 1991 , Teubner Stuttgart 1991, pp. 171-182,
Nunamaker, J.F. and others: Electronic Meeting Systems to Support Group Work , Comm ACM vol. 34 (1991) no. 7, pp. 40-61

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