In his dissertation Nurmi studies the joint information systems development projects of organizations operating within the same industry. The goal of these systems development projects is to share the costs and risks between several organizations.
The research states that multi-organizational systems development projects are challenging because interdependencies between the different levels of the organization increase the complexity and uncertainty surrounding systems development. The harmonization of organizational processes remains challenging. According to Nurmi, it is extremely important that the organizations involved reach consensus on the business processes that are being automated.
Technological challenges also arose in the projects that were under the microscope. First of all, it is important to find a technology on which all parties can agree. Secondly, after a technology has been chosen, it is very difficult or at least extremely expensive to change it. The difficulty in choosing between technologies lies in the fact that the chosen technology should not be too recent, but also not too dated.
Nurmi’s research states that multi-organizational systems development projects are characterized by a large amount of compromises. In addition, several factors were discovered that remain outside the influence of project management. Factors may be internal, such as changes in the organizations involved, or external, for instance changes in technology or the industry. Multi-organizational systems development projects resemble a large vessel: after a certain course has been selected, it takes time to change it, even when necessary. Nurmi also reports that the governance method that is chosen in the beginning of the development process is often kept at least until the implementation of the system.
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