Managing the Collaborative Networks Lifecycle: a Meta-methodology
The benefits of using various forms of Collaborative Networks (CNs) to create agile virtual organisations (VO), shop floors and laboratories, or to bring together professionals worldwide in virtual communities are commonly acknowledged in both academia and industry. Currently however, the existing CN knowledge is scattered and overlapping; this is a transitional phase in the maturing of the CN domain and its evolution towards a proper discipline. The progress of the CN research domain (and its practical applications) relies upon the structuring of relevant knowledge into a consistent framework that conveys an unambiguous and agreed-upon collaborative paradigm. The methodological aspect of this integration effort can be significantly supported by the creation of a high-level artefact, able to express and manage existing and emerging knowledge related to the creation and operation of various CN types and their concrete manifestations. The proposed artefact could take the form of a 'to-do list on how to create methods' (thus, a meta-methodology) for specific enterprise architecture (EA) tasks or task types, which typically include the information system (IS) supporting the business. This paper attempts to summarize the cyclic and reflective action research (AR) that has resulted in the establishment of a meta-methodology prototype for CNs and their specific materialisations. Thus, a brief description of the research question, strategy and design is followed by concise narratives of iterations of the main research cycles that have tested, reflected on, and refined the meta-methodology concept. Subsequently, the paper describes the meta-methodology content evolution during the research life cycle, resulting in a last refinement leading to a working and useful meta-methodology prototype. The paper closes with conclusions on the research performed and with a description of proposed further work.
14th International Conference on Information Systems Development (ISD 2005)