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Abstract

In this paper we study coordination of multi-organizational system development projects. In these kinds of projects a common information system is developed to several client organizations by several vendor organizations. We studied two large scale projects in the public sector and analyzed the evolution of coordination mechanisms and the mode of coordination. Case 1 is a joint development project between 13 universities and case 2 is a joint system development project among public and private pension fund companies in Finland. Different coordination mechanisms and mode of coordination were used in the studied cases. In the first case the mode of coordination was mostly informal during the studied phases of system development life cycle. The second case started with a formal mode of coordination and it maintained that mode. In both cases the mode of coordination remained the same, but the coordination mechanisms used varied in different phases of the project. In case one the informal mode of coordination led to difficulties with the schedule and the quality of the first version of the system. In case two more formal approaches helped keep to the schedule, but the functionality of the system was reduced. We conclude that given the size and complexity of these multi-organizational system development projects, it is difficult to change the ways of working in a short period of time.

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