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 also given.

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 artifacts.

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.

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.