XCP: An Experimental Tool for Managing Cooperative Activity
A project usually requires the cooperative efforts of more than one person to accomplish ist goals. As the number of people working on a project increases, the time spent in coordinating their efforts multiplies, and difficulties often arise. Communication breakdowns cause major problems because communication is the cornerstone of effective cooperation. Decision making becomes complicated because areas of responsivility are ambiguous. Procedures which are set up to ensure critical actions occur often degrade over time. XCP is an experimental coordinator tool which assists an organization in implementing and maintaining it procedures. Its goal is to reduce the costs of communicating, coordinating, and deciding by carrying out formal plans of cooperative activity in partnership with its users. It tracks, prods, and manages the relational complexity as captured in the formal plan, so that human resources are available for more productive tasks. It can aid in the training of new staff because they do not have to learn a procedure in an ad hoc fashin. A protoype has been implemented in the VAX LISP language, and runs on a VAX 11/785, 11/780, or 11/750 processor under the VMS operating system.