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4.3.2 Setting goals and objectives

Whatever the structure and culture of an organisation and the range of people involved, goals and objectives are usually seen as a valuable management tool. This is as relevant to a project team as it is to a whole organisation. What I will focus on here are some of the tensions and ambiguities surrounding the management of goals, especially in the context of team development. To be effective in clarifying and achieving the team task, we need to take account of the variety of (often conflicti
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3.2.7 Ways that groups go wrong

Before leaving Reading 2, it is worth mentioning some of the characteristic ways that groups ‘go wrong’. Why should a group, asked to design a camel, produce a horse? You might expect that when we pool the talents, experience and knowledge of a group, the result would be better, not worse, than that of any individual member. But as groups design ‘horses’ so frequently there must be some fairly familiar decision-making processes at work. Probably the most common problems are those that
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2.8 Why do (only some) teams succeed?

Clearly, it is not possible to devise a set of rules which, if followed, would lead inexorably to team effectiveness. The determinants of a successful team are complex and not equivalent to following a set of prescriptions. However, the results of poor teamworking can be expensive, so it is useful to draw on research, experience and case studies to explore some general guidelines. What do I mean by ‘team effectiveness'? – the achievement of goals alone? Where do the achievements of indivi
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2.3.3 The matrix team

In a matrix team, staff report to different managers for different aspects of their work. Matrix structures are often, but not exclusively, found in projects. Staff will be responsible to the project manager for their work on the project while their functional line manager will be responsible for other aspects of their work such as appraisal, training and career development, and ‘routine’ tasks. This matrix project structure is represented in Figure 2.


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2.3.2 The project (single) team

The project, or single, team consists of a group of people who come together as a distinct organisational unit in order to work on a project or projects. The team is often led by a project manager, though self-managing and self-organising arrangements are also found. Quite often, a team that has been successful on one project will stay together to work on subsequent projects. This is particularly common where an organisation engages repeatedly in projects of a broadly similar nature – for e
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2.3.1 The functional team

The hierarchical structure described above divides groups of people along largely functional lines: people working together carry out the same or similar functions. A functional team is a team in which work is carried out within such a functionally organised group. This can be project work. In organisations in which the functional divisions are relatively rigid, project work can be handed from one functional team to another in order to complete the work. For example, work on a new product can
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2.3 Types of teams

Different organisations or organisational settings lead to different types of team. The type of team affects how that team is managed, what the communication needs of the team are and, where appropriate, what aspects of the project the project manager needs to emphasise. A work group or team may be permanent, forming part of the organisation's structure, such as a top management team, or temporary, such as a task force assembled to see through a particular project. Members may work as a group
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6.5 Market experience

It is some 20 years since the Topper project was conceived by Peter Bean, Technical Director of Rolinx and Ian Proctor, the designer of the original GRP boat. Sales initially were excellent, especially to sailing schools and clubs where there was much demand for a small, light and very safe sailing boat for children. But after that, the market became saturated, sales were heavily dependant on individuals and families, so decreased despite attempts to export the boat to the USA and Israel, for
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4.3.1 Initiation

Initiation is the mechanism which starts the polymerization process. Vinyl monomers are quite easily polymerized by a variety of activating methods. Styrene, for example, can be converted to solid polymer simply by heating, and ultraviolet light can have exactly the same effect. Usually, however, an activating agent is used. This is an unstable chemical which produces active species that attack the monomer. A good example is benzoyl peroxide which splits up when heated:

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2.4 Models as part of systems work

Thinking systemically involves identifying systems relevant to some situation, and models are invariably used as part of this process. An example of this forms part of Checklands' Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) (Checkland, 1981). One aspect of this methodology concerns the formulation of a root definition of some system that is relevant to the situation of interest and the construction of a conceptual model of this system. The root definition is a concise, verbal description of what a
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2.1 Defining ‘model’

The word ‘model’ has a range of colloquial and technical interpretations, so we need first to establish the way in which this unit uses the term. As a start, we might suggest that a model is a simplified representation of reality, but even that simple definition raises some quite significant philosophical questions. A profound question is ‘what is reality?’ and I will briefly mention the distinction between modern and postmodern views of this later as an aside. Without getting
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References

Abram, J. (2001) The Contribution of the Product Definition Process to a Successful High Volume Software Application, unpublished MSc dissertation, Milton Keynes, The Open University, p. 48.
Andriole, S.J. and Freeman, P.A. (1993) ‘Software systems engineering: the case for a new discipline’, Software Engineering Journal, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 165–79. Reprinted in Dorfman and Thayer (1997), pp. 29–
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4.6 Systems engineering: the recent development of a discipline

The recent development of systems engineering can be dated from two events. First, following the lead of the US Department of Defense and its introduction of standards for contractors, systems engineering was taken up by companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and, in the UK, British Aerospace, Marconi and the Lucas Group. Second, in August 1990, a group of individuals interested in systems engineering met in Seattle (Box 10 – extract from a paper presented at the International Committee
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4.4 The use of systems engineering in organisations: different organisational arrangements

Hall identified three different organisational arrangements that might provide a framework within which systems engineering work could take place within the organisation. The first of these, which he termed the departmental form and regarded as the lowest level of arrangement, was essentially a temporary team of specialists brought together, under the management of a team leader, to undertake a specific project. The team consisted of members of each of the specialist development departments a
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3.10 Systems techniques

The two systems methodologies provide a framework for the application of problem solving, analysis and design techniques. These fall into three groups.

  • Diagramming: ranging from single systems maps to complex flow charts. Diagrams of one sort or another provide a method of analysis, design and communication.

  • Modelling: simulation is used extensively to analyse the dynamics of an existing system and to predict the behaviour of a propos
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Stage 6: Debate on feasible and desirable changes

The comparison undertaken in the previous stage can have two results.

  • It can cause opinions to change on the problem situation and the issues arising from it.

  • It can provide an agenda for change.

In either case (though both may result), the objective of this stage is to debate, with all concerned, the changes proposed to ensure that they are both desirable and feasible. The aim is to arrive at consensus about the prop
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Implementation

Implementation involves all the detailed design, development and installation tasks required to get the agreed proposal operating.

Figure 34 shows an arrow leading from ‘implementation’ to ‘problem/opportunity’; this recognises that implementation is never the end of the story
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2.2 A modern view

Modern attempts to define engineering recognise the importance of the resources identified by Sage, and that the subject can be divided into two components: engineering knowledge – the ‘know-what’, and engineering process – the ‘know-how’. Engineering knowledge is:

[…] the growing body of facts, experience and skills in science, engineering and technology disciplines; coupled to an understanding of th
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1.2 The Phoenix project

It is all too easy to dismiss problems like that being experienced with the tax credit system as being inherent in the design and implementation of computer-based systems. But they are not restricted to computer systems, as the example of the Phoenix project in Box 2 shows.

Box 2 Fly-away drones put robot air force off course


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