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Lagomizing, organic integration, and systems emergency wards: Innovative practices in managing complex systems development projects
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4233-5138
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. Jack Järkvik Management AB, Stockholm, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway.
2008 (English)In: Project Management Journal, ISSN 8756-9728, E-ISSN 1938-9507, Vol. 39, no S1, S111-S122 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In complex systems development, project management is a key factor for innovation, for bringing together system capabilities to actually working systems and taking them to the customer. The critical question then is: How can successful project management in this field be conceptualized, practiced, and understood? In the extant literature, there is a plethora of suggested tools for advanced planning and scheduling, for system decomposition and modularization, and for reducing interdependencies and avoiding errors. There is also a growing criticism of these “planning approaches,” suggesting various contingency and flexibility approaches, to reflect and adapt to complexity and change. This critique, however, tends to lack grounded suggestions for effective managerial practices and does not distinguish between general flexibility needs and specific project structures required to make complex systems development at all possible. This article centers on the development of large, complex systems with an empirical focus on the telecom industry. Key challenges here, it is argued, are to understand complexity, reduce complexity, and rapidly act on the consequences of complexity to ensure timely delivery of reliable and predictable systems to highly demanding customers. To cope with these challenges, a set of innovative practices has been developed within Ericsson, a world leader in mobile network systems. We focus on three such practices, which together represent examples of a “neo-realistic” approach to project management: (1) lagomizing, a top-down redefinition of project goals to reduce complexity and transform expectations; (2) organic integration, an articulation and visualization of a shared understanding of system capabilities; and (3) Systemakut, the Systems Emergency Ward, a real-time, high-visibility agora for managing integration, handling errors, and making swift decisions and in public. The study is based on a research methodology involving knowledge coproduction, where the team of authors represents both academic knowledge and practitioner experience of managing innovations in complex systems development projects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Vol. 39, no S1, S111-S122 p.
Keyword [en]
project management; integration; practice; knowledge coproduction; neo-realism; systems development; complexity
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-43033DOI: 10.1002/pmj.20065ISI: 000208014500010Local ID: 71041OAI: diva2:263890
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2014-05-12Bibliographically approved

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Berggren, ChristianSöderlund, Jonas
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Project management, Innovations and Entrepreneurship The Institute of TechnologyDepartment of Management and EngineeringBusiness AdministrationFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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