University of Twente Student Theses


The characteristics of a new semantic standards development approach: the Pressure Cooker method

Kulcsar, I.Z. (2013) The characteristics of a new semantic standards development approach: the Pressure Cooker method.

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Abstract:Semantic standards are important because they are able to connect different information systems by providing interoperability. It is estimated that the lack of interoperability costs billions of US dollars in different industries. Even if there is interest from the businesses, the current methods of standards development do not lead to solutions in a short time. Nowadays, the average standards development time can take up to 36 months. Among a wide range of projects, TNO also participates in semantic standardization projects, typically assisting in development efforts with standardization experts. A few years ago, based on a standardization expert’s initiative, TNO applied a new approach called the Pressure Cooker that significantly reduced the development time compared to the time-extended method. Instead of following the traditional way of standardization, where the work sessions are separated by 4-5 weeks, the new method reduced the development time by organizing the originally separated work sessions within one week. Not only resulted the first try in an adopted standard (meaning the standard was adopted), also the development time was significantly reduced to 8 months. After two more applications of the new approach, TNO wanted to identify the characteristics and the formalization of the results of the experimenting with the Pressure Cooker method. This study describes the approach and identified issues with the as-is Pressure Cooker method. The issues were identified by the analysis of the experiences in the three former applications. When the list of issues was finalized, a structured literature review was applied in order to address the challenges. The structured literature review resulted in a list of improvement ideas that were discussed with standardization experts in the form of an expert session. The result of the session was used to select the most promising ideas in addressing the issues. In this thesis, the improved Pressure Cooker method is formalized and described. The method has advantages such as short development time and fixed costs but it must be emphasized that it cannot be the best choice in every situation. It is important to be able to judge whether a standard development request focusing on the characteristics of the project suits more to the Pressure Cooker method or to the time-extended process. Therefore the following characteristics are identified that can determine the successful application of the method:  The number of the Steering Committee members should be below 10.  The project has to follow a minimalist approach, and not a structuralist approach.  The Co-pilot has to be familiar with the chosen technology and with the Pressure Cooker method too.  The goal has to be an 80% standard. The Pressure Cooker can give a fast first step toward the final standard. The result of a Pressure Cooker can be best used for a pilot project and subsequently fine-tuned in the pilot.  Without committed participation the Pressure Cooker is not applicable. There are cases when certain stakeholders cannot be left out even if the analysis does not suggests the involvement of them. In these situations, the time-extended method is the better choice.  The larger complexity of standardization project has can undermine the common goal of the stakeholders and can make the decision making longer. If any of these occur, the Pressure Cooker method is not recommended.  In the case of a mature standard, the goal is not an 80% standard anymore, but a 100% one. Therefore, if the size of the update does not allow 100% standard scope in the project management triangle with the given time and cost attributes, the Pressure Cooker method cannot be used. With small changes, the Pressure Cooker method can be applied, because the 100% target can be reached within the boundaries of the project.  The Pressure Cooker method cannot be applied in the case of anticipatory standards development. A PC project needs clear scope and the development time is limited. None of these features beneficial for the development of anticipatory standards.  If the Steering Committee does not unanimously agree on the development project then the Pressure Cooker should not be used because of lack of commitment and clear goal. This research concludes that applying the proposed Pressure Cooker method in situations where it fits according to the characteristics, can result in significantly shorter development time than the time-extended standardization approach and it is more reliable than the as-is Pressure Cooker method. Research should validate the outcome in practice in the future.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
TNO, the Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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