• Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Frontend Development
  • Backend Development

Software to support collaborative decision making

FASresearch is a leading international analysis and consulting company for the application and further development of Network Sciences to solve strategic questions in a business context.

For over 25 years, FASresearch has helped global corporations, public institutions, and leading nonprofit foundations find robust answers and make resilient decisions with strategic network analysis and proprietary digital tools.

For this purpose, proven methods in the context of designing interactive group processes, among others, have been used for many years. These methods enable teams to make strategic decisions in short periods of time.

For the optimization and further development of the workshop software SituationR, FASresearch commissioned the dmcgroup as part of a partnership cooperation.

Ansicht der Abstimmungsslide im Software-Tool SituationR vor Publikum im Plenum

Dr. Harald Katzmair, Ph.D.Director & Founder (CEO) | FASresearch

Valerie De Icco-Streibel, MA, BSc.Co-Managing Director & Procurator | FASresearch

Mag. Christian GulasChief Science Officer (CSO) and Partner | FASresearch
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Initial situation

One of the goals of FASresearch is to support companies and organizations in decision making and co-creation of innovative/strategic/business solutions.

Together with the company’s stakeholders, FASresearch’s experienced workshop facilitators help to perceive and interpret patterns and trends in business settings.

FASresearch’s workshops enable teams to quickly assess the situation in volatile situations – not least thanks to the web-based Situation Room process software “SituationR” for presence and remote workshops.

The optimization of this tool was the goal of the collaboration between FASresearch and dmcgroup.

Challenges before the redesign of the tool

  • Historically grown tool with extensive code base
  • Lack of flexibility to be able to map current needs in the tool
  • No intuitive operation for participants (desktop use only)
  • Lack of focus of the tool for facilitators in the workshop
  • Display of irrelevant information for participants

Nach einer umfassenden gemeinsamen Evaluierungsphase entschied sich das Team von FASresearch und dmcgroup für die ganzheitliche Neuentwicklung einer Softwarelösung mit modernen Open-Source-Frameworks. This created the basis for a leaner and more maintainable, future-proof application.

In addition to the new technical start, a complete overhaul of the UI and interaction design was at the beginning of the project.

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Our new development of the FASresearch Situation Room

The SituationR software fulfills several functions in FASresearch workshops:

  • Planning of the agenda and preparation of the workshop by moderators
  • Guidance through the workshop: presentation and instructions
  • Decision-making by workshop participants in the evaluation process via smartphone
  • Real-time feedback on workshop participation for facilitators
  • Presentation of the results

This makes the web-based SituationR software a prime example of the implementation of an omnichannel user journey:The design of the user interface is optimized for different use cases and digital touchpoints.

Technically, we also put the tool on a new footing: SituationR uses Node.js and MySQL on the backend to provide an interface (API) for the frontend. This is based on the popular JavaScript framework Vue.js and uses additional plugins like Chart.js and Cytoscape.js. For real-time control of a workshop, WebSockets are also used as the transfer technology.

Through the services of Microsoft Azure and GitHub, it is possible to deploy new versions automatically and quickly and ensure smooth operation.

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Design principles

For moderators

  • Collaborative – Designed for multiple presenters to work together.
  • Focused – As few distractions as possible when conducting a workshop.
  • Transparent – presenters always see exactly what participants are seeing at the moment
  • Flexible – Easily and directly adapt content (even on an ongoing basis)
  • Supportive – receive real-time information to interact with participants

For participants

  • Focused – participants only see information relevant to them
  • Intuitive – Votes run via touch interface on smartphone, therefore hardly any usage problems
  • Simple – Clear, natural language questions that are as self-explanatory as possible, and “haptic” feedback.
  • Robust – Possible sources of error are eliminated by the design
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Successful model for agile collaboration

The teams of dmcgroup and FASresearch applied the principles of agile software development for collaboration from the very beginning.

This allowed FASresearch to adjust the course of the work at any time and determine new priorities depending on the current situation – and to put finished software into operation at the end of each two-week sprint.

Thus, the software could be tested in productive use (almost) from day 1.

Ongoing feedback from the field for improvement

The close cooperation with the main user group of the software – the workshop moderators of FASresearch – continuously brought valuable feedback from the field into the project team.

The basic design principles were confirmed by positive feedback from workshops. Feedback on optimization potential was immediately incorporated into the development process.

Thus, the software has been and will be continuously improved. The key performance indicators confirm the success:

  • Positive feedback from facilitators from workshop practice
  • Measurement of high interaction rates in the workshops
  • Sharp decline in reconciliation problems

Iterative implementation in an integrated, multidisciplinary team

In addition to the successes we have achieved with the new development of the SituationR software, we are particularly pleased with the unique, cooperative partnership with the FASresearch team.

The success of the project is largely due to the chosen working method:


Project start with Inception

Time for initial, joint exploration of the project landscape and task definition

Agile Working

Best equipped for the permanent adjustment of priorities and the introduction of new ideas into the process

Collaboration in partnership

Project partners at eye level instead of just customer and contractor

Regular exchange

Fixed, joint appointments such as analysis, review and weekly standups for continuity in collaboration

User Research

Constant contact with the main target group for continuous feedback and iteration

Time & Material Modell

Full transparency even with joint budget planning and billing
These principles are the foundation of our successful cooperation in the project.

A project that creates meaning & is great fun for all involved.

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