Managing digital coordination of design: emerging hybrid practices in an institutionalized project setting
Whyte, J. (2011) Managing digital coordination of design: emerging hybrid practices in an institutionalized project setting. Engineering Project Organization Journal, 1 (3). pp. 159-168. ISSN 2157-3735
To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/21573727.2011.597743
What happens when digital coordination practices are introduced into the institutionalized setting of an engineering project? This question is addressed through an interpretive study that examines how a shared digital model becomes used in the late design stages of a major station refurbishment project. The paper contributes by mobilizing the idea of ‘hybrid practices’ to understand the diverse patterns of activity that emerge to manage digital coordination of design. It articulates how engineering and architecture professions develop different relationships with the shared model; the design team negotiates paper-based practices across organizational boundaries; and diverse practitioners probe the potential and limitations of the digital infrastructure. While different software packages and tools have become linked together into an integrated digital infrastructure, these emerging hybrid practices contrast with the interactions anticipated in practice and policy guidance and presenting new opportunities and challenges for managing project delivery. The study has implications for researchers working in the growing field of empirical work on engineering project organizations as it shows the importance of considering, and suggests new ways to theorise, the introduction of digital coordination practices into these institutionalized settings.