The architecture and design of a collaborative environment for systems definition

Minder Chen, Jay F. Nunamaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Defining systems requirements and specifications is a collaborative effort among managers, users, and systems developers. The difficulty of systems definition is caused by the human's limited cognitive capabilities, that is compounded by the complexity of group communication and coordination processes. Current system analysis methodologies are first evaluated regarding to the level of support to users. Since systems definition is a knowledge-intensive activity, the knowledge contents and structures employed in systems definition are discussed. For any large-scale system, no one person possesses all the knowledge that is needed, therefore, the authors proposed a collaborative approach to systems definition. The use of a group decision support system 1991 for systems definition is first described and limitations of the current GDSS are identified. The architecture and design of a collaborative computer-aided software engineering (CASE) environment, called C-CASE, is then discussed. C-CASE can be used to assist users in defining the requirements of their organization and information systems as well as to analyze the consistency and completeness of the requirements. C-CASE integrates GDSS and CASE such that users can actively participate in the requirements elicitation process. Users can use the metasystem capability of C-CASE to define domain specific systems definition languages, which are adaptable to different systems development settings. An example of using C-CASE in a collaborative environment is given. The implications C-CASE and the authors' ongoing research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalACM SIGMIS Database
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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