In this paper we argue that traditional information systems design and development is implicitly informed by a certain deliberative theory about the nature of purposeful activity. However, we examine other theories of activity that lead us to challenge this dominant model. This work-in-progress report reinterprets a number of existing case studies from the literature and provides a preliminary account of a new case study in order to demonstrate that successful operational systems in time-constrained environments often do not exhibit those characteristics that are the hallmarks of the deliberative approach. These systems are better discussed in terms of routines and situated action. Finally, we make some preliminary observations about the significance of this for Information Systems.