The personnel involved in distributed research projects acquires lots of technical and domain-specific knowledge. Generalizable outcomes of single project partners that are relevant to all stakeholders need to be distributed within the project. Since the involved parties may possess very different professional backgrounds, specific jargon and different ways to document results may lead to inefficient exchange. Therefore, within this kind of projects, communicating and keeping up to date with general project knowledge is a hard task. It is likewise difficult to provide achieved results for future projects.
The approach presented in this book proposes to collaboratively describe project outcomes and gathered domain knowledge as evolving design patterns. A design pattern must, by definition, be easy to read and understand by non-experts. This enables all stakeholders to apply the described contents without requiring specific background knowledge. This book presents a collaborative pattern formulation and validation process that takes into account the special conditions of joint research projects. Therewith, the research and development personnel can easily draft project knowledge in parallel to their efforts in the form of initial design patterns that are refined over time.
From early ideas or open problems the formulations evolve to validated and reusable patterns, organized within a dynamically growing pattern library structure. A lightweight role model supports composing new patterns and reviewing existing submissions as well as managing the library structure. The derived maturation process ensures the quality of the pattern formulation by reflecting the proposals and opinions of all participants. In addition, all contributors collect evidence to support or refute the solutions suggested by a pattern. The research methodology includes, besides research in literature, user-centered, iterative design methods that involve representatives of the research and development personnel.