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Four integration patterns: a socio-technical approach to integration in IS development projects

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This paper aims to contribute to a theory of integration within the field of information systems (IS) project management. Integration is a key IS project management issue when new systems are developed and implemented into an increasingly integrated information infrastructure in corporate and governmental organizations. Expanding the perspective of traditional project management research, we draw extensively on central insights from IS research. Building on socio-technical IS research and software engineering research, we suggest four generic patterns of integration: big bang, stakeholder integration, technical integration and socio-technical integration. We analyse and describe the advantages and disadvantages of each pattern. The four patterns are ideal types. To explore the forces and challenges in these patterns, three longitudinal case studies were conducted. In particular we investigate the management challenges for each pattern. We find that the patterns are context-sensitive and describe the different contexts where the patterns are applicable. For IS project management, the four integration patterns are a contribution to the management of integration risks – extending the vocabulary for assessing and mitigating these risks in IS development. For practitioners the four integration patterns represent an analytical framework to be used in planning modern IS development projects.
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Keywords: information systems development; integration patterns; project management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Norwegian School of IT, Schweigaards gt. 14, 0185 Oslo, Norway, Email: [email protected] 2: Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7, DK-9220 Aalborg, Denmark, and, Email: [email protected] 3: Agder University College, Serviceboks 422, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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