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March 17, 2010 GEC7 1 Controlling and Coordinating Large, Complex, and Distributed Scientific Research Collaborations GENI Engineering Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "March 17, 2010 GEC7 1 Controlling and Coordinating Large, Complex, and Distributed Scientific Research Collaborations GENI Engineering Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 March 17, 2010 GEC7 1 Controlling and Coordinating Large, Complex, and Distributed Scientific Research Collaborations GENI Engineering Conference 7 Laurie J. Kirsch Professor Information Systems Katz Graduate School of Business The University of Pittsburgh Sandra A. Slaughter Professor Information Technology Management College of Management Georgia Institute of Technology

2 March 17, 2010 GEC7 2 Who are we and why are we here? Management scholars Conduct research on the management of information technology and systems projects Prior and current NSF-funded studies to examine the management of large scientific research projects with a cyber component (Cyber-infrastructure projects)

3 3 Examples of Large Collaborative, Cyber-infrastructure Projects NEES – George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Teragrid / XD – High-performance network of super computers proving cyber-infrastructure for open scientific research iPLANT – cyber-infrastructure collaborative for plant sciences GENI – Global Environment for Network Innovations March 17, 2010 GEC7

4 March 17, 2010 GEC7 4 Research Objectives for our Study of GENI Identify mechanisms that are needed to effectively structure, govern, and manage projects like GENI Understand communication and interaction patterns (who is communicating and collaborating with whom) Suggest control / coordination techniques Get feedback from the GENI community Note: we are NOT reviewing projects as part of the GPO's performance assessment. We keep all identities anonymous.

5 Our progress to date We have conducted interviews with several GENI stakeholders across different roles We have collected publicly available archival data capturing interactions between GENI stakeholders and have conducted a social network analysis of the data Would like to share our initial results from the social network analysis of GENI… March 17, 2010 GEC7 5

6 A Social Network Analysis of GENI Social network analysis identifies the communication and interaction patterns of individuals in a community Identifies the most central (e.g. influential) individuals and those who are the information brokers (e.g., boundary spanners). Patterns of communication and interaction reflect how information, knowledge and ideas are exchanged in a community March 17, 2010 GEC7 6

7 March 17, 2010 GEC7 7 A Social Network Analysis of GENI (Contd) Social network analysis can identify sub-groups and cliques and signal the potential for conflict Patterns of interaction and communication relate to performance, innovation and other project outcomes A social network analysis of GENI was conducted to determine the structure of the interactions between GENI stakeholders in Spiral 1

8 Possible Social Structures Fully ConnectedClassic Organizational Hierarchy Nearest NeighborAutonomous March 17, 2010 GEC7 8

9 Possible Social Structures (Contd) Core-Periphery or onion (Open Source communities) March 17, 2010 GEC7 9

10 Why is the type of social structure important? Different parts of the network can coallesce into cliques or sub-groups that differentiate themselves from other sub-groups and this can cause conflict March 17, 2010 GEC7 10 Left cluster: Affiliation: Industry Expertise: Management Right cluster: Affiliation: Academia Expertise: Biology

11 March 17, 2010 GEC7 11 So what is the social structure of GENI?

12 March 17, 2010 GEC7 12 The Social Structure of GENI Based on: –publicly available data collected from 2007 to 2009 (from GENI website) –people who participated in GENI events during that time period (PIs, GPO, NSF, Working groups, others) –projects (Spiral 1) and clusters during that time period. –"events" occurring during that time period that connect those participants (e.g., attendance at GEC 1-6, meetings, milestone completion, exchanges) –667 individuals who participated in 1,195 events during that time period

13 The Social Structure of GENI: 2007 March 17, 2010 GEC7 13 PIs GPO NSF

14 The Social Structure of GENI: 2008 March 17, 2010 GEC7 14 PIs GPO NSF

15 The Social Structure of GENI: 2009 March 17, 2010 GEC7 15 PIs GPO NSF

16 Initial Observations The GENI community has the social structure most similar to an open source (e.g., core-periphery) community There are some isolated individuals and groups but over time, the core of GENI is expanding to include many participants Some participants are influential throughout, others emerge as leaders, and others lose influence – reflects the changing pattern of stakeholder participation in GENI March 17, 2010 GEC7 16

17 Next Steps We analyzed the social structure of GENI based on archival data – but, we are missing interactions between PIs We are sending Spiral 1 PIs a link to a communication survey – please complete the survey so we can finish our analysis and present the results at an upcoming GEC We are interested to talk with GEC attendees about their experiences in GENI – please contact us if you would like to talk with us or if you would like to know where you are in the GENI social structure! March 17, 2010 GEC7 17

18 Thank you! Our contact information: –Professor Laurie Kirsch The University of Pittsburgh –Professor Sandra Slaughter Georgia Institute of Technology March 17, 2010 GEC7 18

19 Additional Slides March 17, 2010 GEC7 19

20 March 17, 2010 GEC7 20 Motivation Challenges we observe in managing cyber- infrastructure projects: Large and complex High uncertainty and risk Volatile and emergent requirements Constrained by budget and schedule Distributed knowledge and collaborators across institutions Diverse collaborators with different motives and incentives Difficulty of communication and coordination

21 March 17, Research Approach Qualitative analyses –Develop timeline of GENI, including key events and decisions –Conduct targeted interviews of GENI stakeholders to understand their experiences in the project –Synthesize recommendations for communication, coordination and commitment Quantitative analyses –Social network analysis of patterns of communication and interactions between GENI stakeholders GEC7

22 Why is the type of social structure important? Different structures have different advantages and disadvantages: Traditional hierarchy – efficient but inflexible Fully connected team – effective but time consuming Autonomous – no information transfer Nearest neighbor – convenient, but slow and information distorted as passed along Core-periphery – brings in many perspectives, but depends on boundary spanners March 17, 2010 GEC7 22

23 The Social Structure of GENI: 2007 (including independents) March 17, 2010 GEC7 23 PIs GPO NSF Other

24 The Social Structure of GENI: 2008 (including independents) March 17, 2010 GEC7 24 PIs GPO NSF Other

25 The Social Structure of GENI: 2009 (including independents) March 17, 2010 GEC7 25 PIs GPO NSF Other

26 March 17, Critical Dimensions for Managing Cyber- Infrastructure Projects Communication Commitment Control/Coordination GEC7

27 March 17, Communication Challenges Distributed communities of stakeholders Must have effective mechanisms for distributed communication (not face-to-face) between team members Common, shared infrastructure for project management and technical development is helpful Diverse groups of stakeholders Requirements determination processes are critical Need for communication and requirements discovery mechanisms to foster collaboration across stakeholders Stakeholders who span across multiple groups are needed to facilitate communication GEC7

28 March 17, Control / Coordination Challenges Constraints on schedule, budget, quality Extensive project planning, monitoring and reporting is needed Formal oversight is required Iterative development (innovation) process Must manage incubation or experimental process Need to facilitate technical integration which can be very complex How to reconcile need for flexibility in development process with need for formality in project management GEC7

29 March 17, Control / Coordination Challenges Funding Funded by external agencies and must report to them Complex project funding arrangements must be managed Different stakeholder communities Control is indirect, complex and difficult to exert (i.e., different cultures, organizations) Project Director plays an especially critical role in bridging GEC7

30 Commitment Challenges Community-based instead of formal organizational roles Stakeholders need to have clearly defined roles, standards and codes of conduct Self-regulation mechanisms (reputation, trust, etc.) are required Shared vision and consensus-based decision making processes are vital for commitment March 17, 2010 GEC7 30


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