Dueling Stakeholders and Dual-Hatted Systems Engineers: Engineering Challenges, Capabilities, and Skills in Government Infrastructure Technology Projects
Author(s)Brooks, JoAnn M.; Carroll, John Stephen; Beard, Jon W.
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Systems engineering projects that support government enterprises face substantial challenges due to demands from diverse stakeholders and rapidly changing technologies. In this paper, we present findings from the analysis of five case studies of systems engineering projects for large government enterprises. We focus on what can be learned from systems engineers, their essential role, and their engineering practices. As they work to establish interoperability across preexisting and new technologies, thereby evolving an infrastructure, the engineers commonly face “agonistic” tensions between groups of stakeholders. Temporal pacing conflicts are especially prevalent, such as those between some stakeholder groups concerned with fast-paced streams of innovation and others concerned with current operations. In response, many engineers are following an evolutionary approach, developing new capabilities for incremental modularization and re/integration of technologies and associated practices across organizational (stakeholder) boundaries. Additionally, engineers are leveraging their professional role and developing new skills of influence to support these capabilities for addressing stakeholder tensions. We close by discussing implications of our findings for the management of infrastructure technology projects, for organizational design and engineering of government enterprises, and for the changing role of systems engineers.
DepartmentSloan School of Management
IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Brooks, JoAnn M., John S. Carroll, and Jon W. Beard. “Dueling Stakeholders and Dual-Hatted Systems Engineers: Engineering Challenges, Capabilities, and Skills in Government Infrastructure Technology Projects.” IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 58.3 (2011): 589–601.
Author's final manuscript