6.3 Stage I: Preparations
The preparatory stage of the project lasted for about two months -- from
the mandate was given by the BoT to the first workshop (WS1) was
arranged to involve more actors in the project (see ). The stage was dominated
by meetings within the process group, and communication with the customer
(BoT) and some future users. The focus of the activities in the first stage
was to understand the mission -- what are the objectives of the
project (including final deliverables) and how to proceed in order to succeed.
The preparatory stage is discussed in terms of the kick-off meeting
(section 6.3.1), further preparations for the next stage (section
6.3.2) and interaction with the project principal -- the board of
technology (section 6.3.3).
6.3.1 Project kick-off
The kick-off meeting was arranged as a two-day session with the process
group and two external consultants as participants. The consultants
held academic positions and had been invited to participate based on their
previous contacts with the Statoil corporation. They only provided advice
and did not take part in actual work. The consultants had general knowledge
of Statoil from participating in other projects.
From the mandate, the process group had a large degree of freedom in
deciding how to proceed and what to create. The overall objective of the
kick-off meeting was to plan ahead (A1), reducing the uncertainty
following from the degree of freedom.
An outcome of the meeting related to enterprise modeling was a project
plan and a stated need for enterprise modeling as a part of strategy
development. These will be discussed in more detail.
The project plan -- M1
The project plan (excerpts are provided in figure 6.3) describes the main
steps in the project. The model incorporates activities, deliverables,
time and roles, and can be viewed as a first enterprise model
of the strategy project itself.
Figure 6.3: Excerpts from the project plan -- M1
A characteristic of the project plan is that it describes form
and not content. By form is meant general characteristics
of a way of working: When to have a meeting, when and with whom to discuss
status of work, when to travel abroad to learn from other companies, when
and who to discuss preliminary versions with, etc. Many of the activities
of the project plan (and the agendas of the meetings as well) were status
of work (A2), i.e., assessments of what the various actors had
done or planned to do.
Content, on the other hand, relates to the specific decisions
that are made as a part of strategy development -- what are the challenges
we face, the technologies and competencies required, our position concerning
required competencies, etc.
As neither the work process nor the final deliverable were known in
advance, it was not feasible to create a plan with explicit specification
of contents. The only alternative was to describe form, and use the plan
to coordinate the project groups and other participants.
The project plan remained almost unchanged throughout the development
phase, except for some dates that had to be changed due to unforeseen collisions
between meetings in other projects. There was very little disagreement
concerning the project plan, at least exposed in formal meetings.
Enterprise modeling as a part of strategy development
A second issue at the kick-off meeting was the choice of method for strategy
development. Based on brainstorming and group work, the process group and
the consultants proposed a number of principles for how to accomplish the
task given by the mandate.
One of the development principles was to create enterprise models
describing Statoil's business activities related to the gas value chain,
oil value chain, and internationally. The enterprise models were intended
to describe both the current situation ("as-is" models) and the envisioned
future situation ("to-be" models). Information to be included in the models
was to be taken from the existing business strategies and plans for the
In addition to what was referred to as enterprise models, a number of
analyses were proposed, incorporating assessments of technological position
and factors like technology drivers and business challenges.
The inclusion of enterprise modeling in the strategy development method
stemmed from a perceived need for shared understanding of challenges,
arenas, and decision making processes in the organization (O1).
6.3.2 Further preparations
After the kick-off meeting, the process group arranged two more meetings
to develop the guidelines to be used in the next stage. Both meetings lasted
for one day and with the two consultants participating as well.
The main purposes of the activities at this stage were to prepare presentation
for the BoT, and to plan the accomplishment of a workshop referred to as
workshop 1 (WS1).
The following three activities are described in more detail:
A few other decisions and activities of relevance to enterprise modeling
in the project will also be discussed.
Formulation of project objectives based on the mandate (A3).
Specification of a strategy development method as required in the mandate
Development of a shared and precise terminology to be used consistently
in discussions and deliverables (A6).
1. Formulation of project objectives
Based on the mandate presented in section , the process group formulated
three goals for the technology strategy development and dissemination process.
The three types of goals are in accordance with Statoil's corporate standards
for project accomplishment (Hetland, 1992:121):
Although the goals remained unchanged throughout the project, the perceived
challenges of attaining the goals changed. E.g., the final deadline of
the development phase was extended one month (to 1st of May,
extending the duration of the strategy development phase to about 6 months)
to reflect increased challenges of developing a comprehensive communication
package instead of a traditional paper document as the final deliverable.
Effect goal (intended effect of the project and final deliverables):
Ensure that application of technology results in increased competitiveness
and increased value creation in the organization.
Object goal (the final deliverable):
A technology strategy in the form of a dynamic communication package.
Process goal (effect attained as a part of accomplishing the project):
Involve actors in the organization to ensure ownership and agreement
upon the technology strategy.
|From the goals listed above and discussions among
the project participants, it is clear that the process group and their
customers considered it as a success criterion to make future users really
understand and able to enact the envisioned strategy. Their
objective was to make organizational actors internalize the strategy,
not only to write another paper document to be put on the shelf.
2. The strategy development method -- M2
According to the mandate given from the BoT, the process group had to work
out a method for technology strategy development and dissemination. The
main structure of the method is provided in figure 6.4. The M2 model
was commonly referred to as the method foil, as it was printed on
a transparency film and frequently used during discussions regarding method
throughout the project.
Figure 6.4: A method for technology strategy development --
The method foil prescribes three major steps:
The method foil was developed by the process group as a kind of work order
to be carried out by three work groups to be established at WS1.
The method foil was accompanied by a few techniques initially proposed
by the two consultants. The techniques (or rather, diagrams) consisted
of matrices that outlined technologies along one axis and variables for
categorization, evaluation and assessment of technologies and technological
needs along the other axis (A11).
Read and understand existing business strategies, and describe the
challenges to the company (A7).
Develop enterprise models of the Statoil corporation (A21).
Enterprise models were to describe both the current situation in the company
and a possible future situation, giving rise to arguments in favor of decisions
concerning a specific technology. Hence, enterprise models were intended
to be used for convincing the users (sell-in of the strategy --
Answer a number of questions concerning need for technology (A9).
The exact formulation of the questions is not included due to their sensitive
nature, but they generally concerned assessments of current and envisioned
reality -- core competencies, position analyses and work processes.
|Some of the variables for assessment in the matrices were classification
of technologies as basis, key or front technologies,
assessment of Statoil's current and preferred position, and perceived
potentials for the given technology.
The method foil contained explicit questions about core contents
to be included in the final strategy document. The foil did not specify
how to do the job. Thus, an important difference between the method
foil M2 and the project plan M1 is that they focus on content
versus form, respectively. Both models describe work to be accomplished
in the project, but they describe different aspects.
3. Definition of a shared terminology
Already from the kick-off meeting, the need for a precise and commonly
agreed upon terminology with definitions of the most frequently and widely
used terms was stated. The following citations from a PG meeting illustrate
the perceived needs and benefits of a shared terminology:
"It is important to have a terminology that is consistent and
comprehensible to all [actors] working with the technology strategy."
The process group stated that they needed a shared terminology for two
reasons: Development of a terminology ensured that the process group understood
the terms in the same way, and a precise vocabulary was required to
communicate the strategy in the dissemination phase.
"A shared terminology must be established to ensure anchoring [of the
strategy in the organization]."
At the final meeting in the preparation stage, a number of definitions
were proposed and accepted after some discussion. These concerned terms
like technology, competence, basis technology, key
technology, front technology, basis competence, core
competence, etc. However, agreeing upon exact formulation of definitions
was not easy. Much time was spent on reaching definitions that were accepted
|An observation indicating differences in understanding (false consensus,
according to Boland and Tenkasi, 1995:358) was the use of the term dynamic
document. Some actors understood it in the sense interactive and
with animation. Other actors understood dynamic to imply frequent
changes of the contents to reflect changes in reality. The differences
in understanding did not seem to be recognized.
Additional activities and decisions
In addition to the discussions of project goals, development method and
terminology, there were a host of other activities undertaken and decisions
made. A few of them, being directly relevant to enterprise modeling, are
discussed briefly below.
Involvement in the development process -- A5
In order to meet the process goal of ownership and agreement, the process
group took action to involve representatives of several groups of actors
in the organization: The workers union, the information department and
the chief engineers. They were invited to either participate actively in
the process group or to attend workshops and general presentations.
Choice of medium for the strategy document
The two consultants advised the PG to go for a strategy document developed
for a digital medium, i.e., particularly designed for presentation,
interaction and distribution using networked computers. This was contrasted
with the traditional paper document as a final deliverable. The
process group agreed to develop a World Wide Web version of the strategy
document to be distributed on the company Intranet.
User's guide for the technology strategy -- O3
The two consultants also stressed the need for comprehensive understanding
of the decision making process. Prerequisites for making successful decisions
both in the strategy project and in the organization as a whole were claimed
to depend upon understanding of both the enterprise and the strategy, combined
with professional knowledge. Descriptions of the decision making processes
in the company could be included in the strategy document, being a kind
of user's guide for the technology strategy. Hence, illustrating
the decision making process was a purpose of enterprise modeling (O3).
Appointment of three work groups
The process group decided to establish three work groups to assist
in the development of the technology strategy. The criteria for appointing
people to the work groups included both experience and knowledge as well
as personal traits. The composition of the work groups will be discussed
in more detail in section when providing an account of WS1, being
the kick-off for stage II and the work group activities.
Establishing a project database using Lotus Notes
A Lotus Notes project database was created, intended to contain background
information, deliverables, presentations, etc. for both the process group
and the work groups. In addition, the database was to be open to the entire
organization, enabling those who wanted to follow the progress of the strategy
project to both read documents and provide feedback (A20).
6.3.3 Feedback from the customer
After the kick-off meeting and as a part of the preparations for WS1,
the process group worked out a status report to be presented to the BoT
to inform them of project progress and planned activities. A part of the
presentation was also to get feedback from the BoT as a customer.
At the presentation, the board were generally positive to the work
accomplished so far and to the plans for further work. The comments from
the BoT most relevant to this thesis concerned the need for improved
business understanding and a shared terminology.
Improved business understanding
The board of technology supported that there was a the need for general
understanding of the Statoil business, the technology strategy, how Statoil
employ technology, and the importance of enterprise understanding to the
company. These are clearly objectives of enterprise modeling 51; to improve
employees' understanding of the business activities they take part in (O1).
The BoT agreed upon the need for common definitions and shared understanding
of terms in the organization. Still, they were not completely satisfied
with the proposals made by the PG, and spent some time discussing alternative
To conclude, BoT -- as the main customer -- backed the work and the
plans of the process group, and in particular the needs for enterprise
modeling (being a relevant observation from the perspective of this
6.3.4 Concluding the preparation stage
To conclude the preparation stage of the project, the process group had
The project plan M1 and the method foil M2 can be viewed
as project-level enterprise models, as they describe project reality as
it is both perceived and envisioned.
developed a project plan (M1, focusing on meetings as a way of working),
developed overall objectives for the project,
specified a strategy development method and a few techniques to be used
for development of the strategy (M2, including enterprise modeling
as an step),
developed a terminology to have a common vocabulary in the project, and
enabled involvement from a number of communities by inviting representatives
and creating an open project database.