6.5 Stage III: Integration and Formulation of the Final Deliverables

The main purpose of the third stage was to integrate the intermediate and partial deliverables of the three work groups into one final deliverable, and implement this as a dynamic document according to advice from WG Deliverable. As a part of integrating and formulating the final deliverable, communication of preliminary versions to both future users and the customer was intended.

The activities in stage III are discussed in terms of workshop 3 (WS3, intended for dissemination of preliminary results, section ), the Web version of the final deliverable (section 6.5.2), and a summary of activities in the process group (section 6.5.3). Some concluding remarks on the strategy project are found in section 6.5.4.

6.5.1 Workshop 3: Dissemination and feedback

Workshop 3 (WS3) was held early in March as a one-day meeting.

Purpose and participants

The main purposes of WS3 were to involve future users of the strategy as required in the initial mandate from the BoT, and to get feedback on the preliminary deliverables developed by the three work groups.

Participants at the workshop were the process group, the work groups, the chief engineers, and the two consultants. The consultants had not been involved since the preparatory stage, except for an ad-hoc meeting discussing the communication plan (A10). 56 actors were present at WS3.

Agenda and accomplishment

The agenda of WS3 included the following three issues:
1. Introduction to the workshop
The introduction to the workshop provided a summary of activities so far in the project and plans ahead. The audience (and in particular, the chief engineers) were informed of the Lotus Notes database and advised to access this for more information. A summary of the presentations that had been held for the BoT was also provided, outlining the contents of the technology strategy.
2. Presentations by work group leaders -- A19
Most of the day was spent on the presentations given by the WG leaders, presenting the preliminary deliverables from their respective groups. Some observations relevant to enterprise modeling were:
3. Summary of the workshop
When concluding the workshop, the work accomplished by the WGs was praised by the PG leader. Other PG members also expressed their satisfaction with the deliverables from the WGs. This seemed to be a widely held impression in the project groups: The project was a success.

However, two of the WG leaders expressed dissatisfaction with the way their presentations had been received by the audience. Despite the fact that they explicitly stated that the presented material was preliminary, several actors in the audience had criticized the presentations as if they were finished (in the sense consistent and complete in their coverage). Hence, some of the critique offered by the audience was felt unfair.
 

WS3 was the first comprehensive attempt at disseminating elements of the technology strategy to the organization, and is the main source of observations pertaining to dissemination of enterprise models in this thesis. The most prominent observation was the use of models as means to structure a presentation, where the oral presentation incorporated the actual message and the model was more of a structuring device. 

Work group model -- M6

Figure 6.8 is a model (M6) of an idealized process for development of deliverables from the work groups, as presented by WG Gas at WS3. Each box in the diagram represents information that has been produced in an implicitly associated activity. A relation (arrow) from box X to box Y represents the idea "Information X has been read and understood, and information Y is developed based on X". The WG leader stressed that this was an ideal way of working, they did not proceed strictly as the arrows indicate.
Figure 6.8: Idealized process for developing technology strategy in WG Gas -- M6

As can also be seen from model M2, enterprise models were constructed from an understanding of the corporate strategies and represented the foundation for developing strategies for each of the elements described in the enterprise models. The other two work groups (WG Oil and WG International) agreed that this was close to the way they had worked, too. M6 can be considered a matured version of M2.

The main use of the M6 model was as a rational and idealized explanation of the activities undertaken in the work groups. It illustrates the relationships between main activities, but does not capture the essence of the strategy development process -- the unstructured sense-making. Hence, the M6 model might be effective as a means to explain the process, but does not make the process easier for others. There was no observed disagreement over the model.

6.5.2 The technology strategy document

The main deliverable from the project was the technology strategy document. Both a traditional paper version and a World Wide Web version (intended for the Statoil Intranet) were developed. Initially, the objective was to focus on the Web version as the main deliverable, exploiting the possibilities of the digital medium (creating an interactive communication package as opposed to a static paper document, see page ). However, as the deadline of the project came closer, the level of ambition was reduced. The paper version became the main deliverable, and a Web version was only created as an illustration of what could have been the final deliverable. At one point in time, there were serious deliberations over making the Web version at all.

The paper version comprised about 20 pages of text, lists, tables, and a few figures. It did not contain any explicit enterprise models. I.e., the paper version of the strategy did not include any of the models M1-M7, nor any other enterprise models (except implicitly present in the text). A main reason was to keep the strategy as brief as possible (brevity was a requirement from the corporate management stated at WS1). Including enterprise models in the paper version of the strategy was not considered to make any significant contributions and hence, they were left out.

Consequentially, the presentation here is of the Web version of the strategy, as it included some models. Still, note that the paper version was the official deliverable.

Outline of the Web version of the strategy

The overall structure and contents of the Web version of the technology strategy document is outlined in figure 6.9.
 
Figure 6.9: Structure and contents of the Web version of the technology strategy

Core strategic contents was comprised of the information that also made up the paper version. The text and figures were identical in the two versions -- the differences were found in the structuring (although a paper-oriented structure with chapters and sections dominated the Web version, too). All the other elements in were only present in the Web version.

Strategy development process provided an overview of who, what and how the strategy document was produced. The rationale was that by providing the readers with information about the development process, the decisions made in the strategy would make more sense, making the readers accept the contents more easily (O2). This component can be considered an enterprise model of the project. It was not developed at the time this study was closed.

Enterprise models were descriptions of the Statoil corporation, in form of models and structured text. The enterprise models in the final deliverable were M3 (and the equivalent models for oil, methanol and petrochemicals) and M7 with assessment matrices (to be discussed below).

What's new? was an inverted, chronological list of updates to the Web version of the document. The list was an easy way to catch up on changes made to the strategy since the last time the reader had accessed it.

English switched the reader to the English version of the document. Both a Norwegian and an English version were deemed required, as Statoil is an international company with foreign employees.

Help provided an overview of functionality of the Netscape Navigator Web browser (Netscape, 1997a), in addition to hints on how to read the document most effectively. This was considered necessary as most readers had no experience with World Wide Web or Netscape Navigator.

Definitions contained a list of terms and their associated definitions as intended used in the strategy document. Both abstract words, like key technology and core competence, and more specific terms referring to key strategic areas and actual core competencies were defined.

Examples listed a collection of brief stories illustrating successful use and importance of technology to Statoil. The stories were concrete and intended to exemplify how the technology strategy could provide Statoil with competitive advantages, as requested by the corporate staff representative at WS1.

Feedback provided an opportunity to comment upon both the contents and layout of the strategy. Feedback could either be sent by email to an administrator, or be posted on a bulletin board to initiate discussion. The entire company had access to the bulletin board. The feedback functionality was a consequence of the stress on involvement of actors in the strategy development process (A5).

FAQ is an abbreviation for "Frequently Asked Questions", and contained a number of questions and answers that reoccurred during the project. The FAQ evolved both through the project and after the release of the Web version, and was intended as a means to ease comprehension.

Process-oriented enterprise model -- M7

Figure 6.10 presents an overall enterprise model of Statoil's business activities. The boxes represent main activities, while the background of the activities is separated into two areas representing markets for gas and oil, respectively. The activities represent main steps that are undertaken by the company, from getting access to fields to selling the products.
Figure 6.10: Process-oriented model of the Statoil corporation -- M7

For each activity in M7, the WGs had developed a matrix assessing Statoil's position: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and critical success factors for competing in the area. The model was made "clickable" in the Web version of the strategy document (recall that the model was not included in the paper version), in the sense that the assessments of position were linked with each of the activities in the diagram.

The main use of the model was as a means to navigate into the underlying information (O5). M7 was introduced late in the development phase of the project and was adopted from a previous project (without any observed discussions over the validity of the model). However, similar models had been developed and used by the work groups (M4 and equivalent models for WG Oil and WG International).

6.5.3 Developing the final deliverable

After WS3, a strategy group (SG) was established to work with integration and reformulation of the deliverables from the work groups in order to create the final deliverable (A18) to be approved by the BoT (as required in the mandate, see page 96). The SG was comprised of six members from the process group, including one representative from each of the work groups. In this way, continuity was ensured.
 
The three work groups had developed one preliminary report each, consisting of 20 + 19 + 37 = 76 pages. These pages were to be refined into 20 pages in the final deliverable. 
 
The final stage in the strategy development phase (after WS3) was dominated by more informal meetings and direct actor-to-actor communication than the two preceding stages. A few meetings in the SG and some presentations for the BoT were held, but most of the work was carried out in between the meetings. One of the participants complained that work was split into chunks and distributed to the participants to a larger degree than in the early phases (which had been more dominated by team work). The following issues are discussed in more detail:

1. Disagreement over terminology

The issue of defining a precise and shared terminology occurred on the agenda already at the kick-off meeting in the first stage of the project, but the problems soared in the final stage. There were two different issues that surfaced:
Defining the meaning of a given term
The formulation of precise definitions for a given term turned out to be problematic all the way through the project. There were several reasons: First of all, the wordily expression of definitions had to be agreed upon. Efforts were observed that sought to reformulate definitions to make all actors satisfied. Secondly, the definitions had to be remembered by the actors using them. This was also difficult, as the definitions tended to become artificial and complex. Finally, the definitions had to be understood and used in the same way by all actors. This was also a problem, as the terms were not a natural part of the actors' professional vocabulary (they were not internalized).
 
The phrase core competence was central to the project. It was defined as "combinations of various technologies, skills, work processes, synergies and attitudes that together represent Statoil's unique traits and that provide Statoil with competitive advantages". The definition is presumably difficult to both remember and understand.
 
The project groups were fully aware of the problems with terminology. After a lot frustration concerning use of terms in one of the SG meetings in the final stage, after WS3, one of the actors stood up, walked over to the flip-over and stated:
"I have wanted to do this for a long time!"
What he did was to remove the basis, key, core and front qualifier words from the technology and competence terms. In this way, the language is on one hand bereft of the ability to express subtle differences, but on the other hand also becomes easier to use. The act received applause from other actors and stemmed from reflection (A14).
Constructing terms for a given concept
Construction of appropriate terms for a seemingly agreed-upon concept occurred as a problem late in the project, as the formulation of core competencies and technologies was to be done. It was considered as important to find terms that were brief and striking, expressing just what the SG intended and nothing else. This turned out to be difficult: Every term that was proposed tended to have different meaning to different actors, and there were always some who disagreed on the use of a specific term.

2. Use of the Lotus Notes database

From the outset of the project, the Lotus Notes database was intended to be readable to all actors in the organization. All documents produced in the project were stored in the database. Hence, the database played the roles of both a repository to the project groups, and a potential way for other employees to gain access to the project without taking part in the meetings.

As a repository of project documents, the database worked extremely well. It was used by all members and updated as the project went along. As a means to involve and communicate with actors not participating in the project, the database did not function to the degree hoped for. There were very few comments introduced in the database, and as one of the PG actors remarked, the database became complex and difficult to read for the non-participating actor.
 

After the development phase of the strategy project, there were roughly estimated about 1000 pages of text, preliminary and final deliverables, presentations, minutes from meetings, feedback, etc. in the database. The database contained 109 documents.
 
At WS3, the chief engineers were both encouraged and explicitly required to provide comments on deliverables, leading to 24 entries posted in the database as the deadline closed in. All participants had the opportunity to read the comments of others.

An incident that occurred late in the project (after WS3) illustrates a problem in dissemination of artifacts: One of the SG participants had produced a draft assessment that was to be included, but refused to distribute it in the database due to its obvious deficiencies (the refusal was stated as a humorous remark, but nevertheless seriously meant). When having in mind the observation from WS3 that some actors in the audience seemed to expect polished versions of deliverables (or at least provided feedback as if the presented deliverables were final) the resistance to exposing unfinished drafts outside the SG made sense.

3. Web versus paper as medium

Initially, the decision was made to create a dynamic communication package in form of a Web presentation as the main deliverable. The decision was abandoned in the final stage of the development phase, and a paper version became the main deliverable.

The transition from a digital medium to paper occurred gradually and was due to several factors. One reason was lack of insight into the particularities of the medium -- very few had hands-on experience with Web. This was manifested in requirements to the Web version that it ought to look like a paper version (i.e., the same structure with chapters and sections) and be easily printable on paper (there had to be a "print" button on the entry page). Web as an Intranet was neither widely available in Statoil at that time, and a Lotus Notes version was suggested instead. This was also abandoned, as a Notes version would not provide added functionality as compared to paper, except easier distribution.

An influential factor was probably that the idea and the arguments in favor of a Web deliverable originally came from the consultants and not from the process group or their customers. When the consultants left the project, the supporters of a Web deliverable were weakened.

4. Feedback from future users

Although the feedback provided by future users in the Lotus Notes database was not studied in detail, there were remarks that stood out. The first regards the method used for strategy development -- at least three of the users stated satisfaction with the use of enterprise modeling in the method (M2 and M6), stating that they considered it an interesting approach (the method was considered as "tidy").

The second observation concerned, once again, terminology. The definitions used in the strategy document were questioned, as they did not fit the understanding that at least some of the readers of the preliminary deliverables had of the given terms.

5. Feedback from the customer

Presentations were held for the BoT and the response was generally positive -- the customer was pleased with the results. The project (and implicitly, the use of enterprise modeling) was considered successful, at least when this study was closed.

However, the BoT were still not completely satisfied with the terminology. They advised the strategy group to work more on the formulation of terms in the final deliverable (to be used in the dissemination phase).

6.5.4 Leaving the technology strategy project

The strategy project continued after the acceptance date May 2nd, mainly to receive more feedback from the future users. The Web version was also worked on during June. Then came summer vacation and the activity was low until autumn.

At that time, this study of the project was closed, most of the original participants were out of the project groups, and the contact with the project groups was minimal (except for informal talks with the actor responsible for the Web version). This was judged to be acceptable from a research point of view, as both development and dissemination of enterprise models had been observed, and the focus on enterprise modeling was reduced as the paper version of the strategy document became the main version.

Hence, the enterprise models developed in the strategy project first and foremost played a role in the development of the technology strategy and not in the implementation. A typical role played by enterprise models in strategy dissemination was in face-to-face meetings (as exemplified by WS3) when the presenting actors used models for structuring of the presentations.