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The Effects of Project Extranet Software on Project-Wide Communication Patterns

TitleThe Effects of Project Extranet Software on Project-Wide Communication Patterns
Publication TypeWorking Paper
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsMortensen, M, Kunda, G, Triesch, M, Levitt, RE
Date Published06/2002
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsCenter for Integrated Facility Engineering, CIFE, Communication Technology, Construction, Decision-Making, Ethnographic Study, Management of Technology, New Technology Adoption, Organizational Behavior, Project Extranet, Project Management, Stanford University
AbstractThis working paper describes an ethnographic study of the participants in a major office building project who were early adopters of a project extranet solution for exchanging project data and decisions. The extranet solution was provided as a hosted service by a software vendor. Participant observations and interviews reveal that the system provided some useful functionality, but failed to recognize and address some significant limitations in both extant communications technology and in the work culture of project participants. The resulting workarounds that project participants engaged in to address these gaps created extra work and some annoyance, particularly for employees of the general contractor on the project, who had an office with real-time Internet connections and computers on the site. Modern communication technologies such as wireless personal digital assistants can address some of the technological limitations of the project extranet implementation described in this working paper. However, the tendency of project participants to short-and in the time cut the system with direct person-to-person phone calls when they were facing really urgent requirements for decisions is likely to remain an issue for today's adopters of such technology.
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