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We analyze a real example of collaborative work in mechanical design. Two kinds of problems emerge from this analysis: the first is a lack of complete design environment very early before modeling. The second is the need for a flexible and very intuitive collaborative environment. In addition, there is no knowledge management of the exchanges, and the design method could be improved with information assistance during the project. From this analysis, we try to detect design and collaborative tasks for which students need help. Then a personal assistant agent based on a task ontology is proposed to offer them this help.