Opportunity discovery in initiated and emergent change requests
Journal article, 2019
When a change request is raised in an engineering project an ad hoc team often forms to manage the request. Prior research shows that practitioners often view engineering changes in a risk-averse manner. As a project progresses the cost of changes increases. Therefore, avoiding changes is reasonable. However, a risk-averse perspective fails to recognize that changes might harbor discoverable and exploitable opportunities. In this research, we investigated how practitioners of ad hoc teams used practices and praxes aimed at discovering and exploiting opportunities in engineering change requests. A single case study design was employed using change request records and practitioner interviews from an engineering project. 87 engineering change requests were analyzed with regards to change triggers, time-to-decision and rejection rate. In total, 25 opportunities were discovered and then 17 exploited. Three practices and six praxes were identified, used by practitioners to discover and exploit opportunities. Our findings emphasize the importance of the informal structure of ad hoc teams, to aid in opportunity discovery. The informal structure enables cross-hierarchal discussions and draws on the proven experience of the team members. Thus, this research guides project managers and presumptive ad hoc teams in turning engineering changes into successful opportunities.
engineering change management