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Abstract

For customers information technology (IT) is a means to an end. This tight association between IT systems and their use is, however, often absent during their development and implementation, resulting in systems that may fail to produce desired ends. Effects-driven IT development aims to avoid the chasm between development and implementation through a sustained focus on the effects to be achieved by users through their adoption and use of a system. This involves iteratively (a) specifying the purpose of the system in terms of effects, (b) developing an IT system and associated organizational change that realize the specified effects, and (c) measuring the absence or presence of the specified effects during pilot use of the system while also remaining alert to the emergence of beneficial but hitherto unspecified effects. In this paper we explore effects-driven IT development and discuss the possibilities and challenges involved in making it an instrument for managing IT projects. Two main challenges are that effects must be measured while development is still ongoing, making pilot implementations a central activity, and that vendor and customer must extend their collaboration, particularly concerning organizational implementation. Empirically, the paper is based on three cases from the Danish healthcare sector.

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