Thursday, 22 October 2009

Draft thesis

Following Rowena Murray's advice again, I attempted short answers to each of these eight questions on my thesis. They summarise the thesis as it is in October 2009

Who are the intended readers?
• Supervisors
• Examiners
• Participants
• Public sector employees and mangers
• Consultants

What did you do?
  • interviewed public servants and sometimes their consultants and contractors on IT projects.
  • read any available project documentation and relevant documentation on the organisation.

Why did you do it?
because public servants provide important services that we need done and I want to know how they use external consultants to get a good job done, how they work with those consultants to add value to an IT project. IT Projects are particularly interesting because of the extension of e-government and the extent and complexity of IT projects.

What happened?
I found out about some IT cases in a variety of organisations including a council, an island, and central government. I spoke to 20 people, recording 17 interviews. Some interviews were ad hoc with individuals, but most interviews related to a particular project.

The consultants actively sought to engage with relevant clients. If there was a problem with a client, then consultants engaged either with each other or with other clients to find a way round problems to achieve the project aim, with or without the problem client.

What do the results mean in theory?
Engagement has been for this research perceived as a dyadic relationship that when it occurs can add value to an IT project by furthering its aims more effectively.

Engagement when it lacks can be evaded by bridging the circle, using other relationships to get a job done. But that means that engagement depends on pre-existing social capital.

Easier engagement makes for easier transfer of knowledge.

What do the results mean in practice?
To a project bring people that have some pre-existing structural relationship with others, so that they can build new relationships on that and it makes for easier engagement.

A variety of people come with a variety of skills and some need social skills in order to engage and transfer knowledge so ensure each group of skills includes someone who is willing and able to share knowledge.

What’s the key benefit for readers?

• Fun to read
• Shared knowledge help them plan and manager their IT projects
• Err - I'm still thinking

What’s unresolved?
• The expense of maintaining social capital.
• How it gets started in the first place
• What else is unresolved is how engagement influences systems development. More evidence is needed – but mighty interesting.

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