Collective Agility, Paradox and Organizational Improvisation: The Development of a Particle Physics Grid
Information Systems Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 303-333, July 2011
Posted: 21 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 1, 2011
This paper examines systems development in a global collaborative community of high energy physics and offers insights and implications for agile systems development in other large scale and distributed settings. The paper studies the ongoing construction of the UK’s computing grid for particle physics (GridPP), a grid that is itself part of the world’s largest grid, the Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (LHC). We observe in this project a collective, agile and distributed performance through which the Grid is constructed. We express this through the concept of “collective agility” which captures a large distributed performance rather than the more conventional sense of agility as small-group and deliberate systems development practices. The collective agility of GridPP is analysed as a process of “enacted emergence” expressed through the dynamics of six improvisation-paradoxes.
Keywords: collective agility, improvisation, paradox, grid computing, particle physics
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