Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Virtual Team Alliance (VTA): An Extended Theory of Coordination in Concurrent Product Development Projects

TitleThe Virtual Team Alliance (VTA): An Extended Theory of Coordination in Concurrent Product Development Projects
Publication TypeWorking Paper
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsThomsen, J, Fischer, M, Levitt, RE
Date Published03/1998
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsCenter for Integrated Facility Engineering, CIFE, Computational Organizational Theory, Contingency Theory, Coordination Theory, Engineering Management, Goal Incongruency, Information Processing, Organizational Design, Stanford University
AbstractAs organizations strive to shrink time-to-market for their complex products, they find traditional project management concepts and tools lacking in several ways. Fast-paced product development requires that many interdependent activities be performed concurrently. However, Critical Path (CPM) models ignore relationships between parallel activities, assuming them to be independent. Moreover, the CPM model treats participants like any other "check-out" resource. Thus, CPM models cannot predict the effect of differing participant profiles on project performance. Organizational analysis tools like the Virtual Design Team (VDT) model participants as information-processing entities with skill sets and experience, and explicitly model lateral interdependencies between activities. With these extensions, VDT offers powerful new capabilities for modeling and analyzing fast-paced work processes and the project teams that execute them. VDT assumes that all project participants have congruent goals and makes assumptions about the routineness of the activities themselves that restrict its applicability to relatively routine work processes. Given the less routine, fast-paced nature of many high-tech product development efforts, these representations no longer adequately capture how project participants coordinate their work. Using previous VDT work on organizational simulation and a retrospective case example drawn from an offshore field development project, we describe extensions to the VDT representation. We represent project participants as teleological professionals, and explicitly model goal incongruency between them. By modeling activity complexity, flexibility, uncertainty, and interdependence strength, our work process representation captures the effects of goal incongruency on the performance of semi-routine, fast-paced projects.
PDF Link
Citation Key1246