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Manifesting shared affordances in system development: the system anatomy
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Industrial Information and Control Systems.
2005 (English)In: Action in Language, Organisations and Information Systems: ALOIS* Limerick, Ireland. The 3rd International Conference 15–16 March 2005 / [ed] Pär J Ågerfalk, Liam Bannon and Brian Fitzgerald, 2005, 28-47 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In complex systems’ development, it is necessary to understand how things depend on each other in order to plan and control the development task. Ericsson, a major supplier of telecommunication systems all over the world, has successfully used a construct called the system anatomy for this purpose. The anatomy shows, in a compact way, the crucial functional dependencies in the system. Since the anatomy has had a profound practical impact, it is relevant to analyse how this construct can be grounded also theoretically. In this paper, we present such a grounding in which the anatomy and its associated plans are seen as manifestations of affordances. These affordances enable different groups of actors to reconcile their actions. Besides affordances, the theory is grounded in the Russian theory of activity and the Activity Domain Theory. The findings indicate that the suggested theory is a promising socio-technical approach that may complement existing approaches for development of complex systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. 28-47 p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-5390OAI: diva2:9745
15–16 March 2005

QC 20100519

Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2016-09-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Managing Complex Industrial Projects: A comparison between holistic models
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing Complex Industrial Projects: A comparison between holistic models
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Even though the management of large projects has been studied for many years, the track record is still poor, especially for those projects developing complex systems. This thesis studies projects such as these and attempts to find clues as to why some succeed while others do not. Among the challenges, is the specific yet basic need to create a shared understanding in a group of hundreds engineering specialists with their own ideas (biases) of how things actually work. Further, complex development projects are likely to change, especially those projects involved with new technologies that should be state of the art when they hit the market after several years of development time. Thus, there is a need for a tool that can be used to adapt to changes.

An important part of this thesis is the evaluation of different diagram systems that have been used in different development projects. These diagrams function as a device to create a shared understanding of the project and enable those involved to maneuver the project through changes. The evaluation focuses on what the diagrams can express and how easy it is to understand their content. In terms of expressiveness, one of the three evaluated models: the Anatomy Model, answers the largest number of questions relevant to the total project manager. In terms of ease of use, the evaluation shows that the Anatomy did not only answer more questions relevant to the total project manager, but was also easier to maneuver through compared to the alternative models. The thesis concludes that when working with complex development projects, a model like the anatomy provides the project manager with a simple tool that can be used to maneuver through changes and create a communal understanding. Such a simplified model addresses more questions that are relevant to the project manager and is easier to update than the traditional tools that are suggested in most literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2005. 29 p.
Trita-ICS, ISSN 1104-3504 ; 0602
Project Management, Complex Project, Anatomy, Dependency Diagrams
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3860 (URN)
Public defence
2006-03-07, F3, F, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
QC 20100519Available from: 2006-02-24 Created: 2006-02-24 Last updated: 2010-05-19Bibliographically approved

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