6.1 Introduction to the Study
An introduction to why and how the study was conducted is provided before
going in detail on the project itself. An outline of the presentation is
6.1.1 Why study the project?
Development of a corporate technology strategy and enterprise modeling
are two closely related activities, as both require extensive business
understanding. Still, a main difference is that while enterprise modeling
involves explicit representations, a corporate strategy includes more implicit
assumptions about the enterprise.
In this particular project, there was already from the outset a clear
commitment to enterprise modeling as a means to develop and disseminate
the strategy. By creating models, the project team (and later, the rest
of the organization) were expected to develop a shared understanding of
factors being influential on development and use of technology.
In addition to being the major source of observations on enterprise
modeling in this thesis, the type of models developed in the strategy project
was of particular interest. While the models in the three initial empirical
studies represented work processes dominated by replication risk and material
artifacts, the strategy project was dominated by design risk. Studying
how the project groups created models of their own work offered an opportunity
to study modeling of work associated with design risk and information based
6.1.2 How the project was studied
The strategy project was studied through observation, document
analysis and artifacts:
All in all, a large amount of information regarding all aspects of the
project was available, and the project was studied closely for about 5
months (the actual development phase). The study was not continued
into the dissemination phase, as activities pertaining to dissemination
were studied in the development phase. On the average, two to three full
days a week were spent in the Statoil company during the study, developing
a general impression of roles, norms, values, and general working conditions.
The study was initiated a bit into the project (after two meetings) and
hence, the first activities are reconstructed from minutes, status reports
and communication with project participants.
Participation in meetings (10 out of 24) and workshops (3 out of 3) arranged
for both the project groups and the future users of the strategy.
Studies of minutes from meetings, preliminary notes, reports, etc. (roughly
estimated to 1000 pages of text and figures).
Studies of electronically mediated communication (a Lotus Notes project
database and to some degree email).
Personal communication with project participants (in breaks, during meals,
when traveling, and when socializing in the evening between two-day workshops).
Participation in development of a World Wide Web prototype of the strategy
6.1.3 Presentation of the project
The project is presented according to how it evolved in time, starting
with its conception and lasting to the point where this study was closed.
By providing a close-to-chronological account, issues that kept reappearing
are illustrated more easily than if only a summary of observations was
given (repeated observation indicates importance, as discussed in section
1.2.3). To counter the effect that presentation becomes messy, the chapter
is closed by a summary and analysis (section 6.6).
Figure 6.1: A readers guide to chapter 6
Figure 6.1 provides an outline of the chapter, and having this illustration
in mind when reading will hopefully ease comprehension. The names of the
stages are invented for the purpose of this presentation, and were not
used by the project participants. However, the names correspond to the
main activities in the three stages.
Presentations of activities related to enterprise modeling and to project
work in general are intertwined. It is not natural to separate the presentations,
as enterprise modeling was an integrated part of the project. Reflections
and analysis of observations are mainly deferred to section 6.6. However,
in the course of the presentation, an occasional step back will be taken
to reflect upon significant events or artifacts.
Labeling important observations
In order to ease the use of cross-references in both presentation and analysis,
a labeling scheme is introduced. Labels are letters with numerical indices:
A pertinent question concerns the criteria used for including or discarding
models, objectives and activities. The overall criterion is perceived relevance
to the research questions. While all observed objectives have been
included, a selection of models and other artifacts were made to slim down
the presentation. The selection was guided by the wish to retain a representative
sample. Activities are included when they are referred to in minutes, agendas,
plans, models, etc. Selection of activities is the one depending most on
the subjective discretion of the researcher. Abbreviations are also introduced
for major events and groups of actors in the project.
Mi -- a model of either the project or the enterprise,
e.g., a project plan or a description of gas production.
Oi -- an objective of enterprise modeling, i.e., intended
or actual use of enterprise models and modeling.
Ai -- an activity in the project, i.e., a part of the enterprise