Monday, March 19, 2018

Nothing much to write about

In case anyone is wondering why it's been nearly three weeks since I last posted anything here: I'm fine, I simply don't have anything which I particularly want to write about. I've been fairly busy at work and I've also been fairly busy consulting, so outside of these two activities, there hasn't been much spare time.

I have discovered a series of police procedurals set in Venice 'starring' Commisario Brunetti; having spent a bit more time in Venice than the average day tourist, I can remember several of the places mentioned and have an idea about the geography. It's like DCI Banks has moved to Venice, although at the moment I don't think that author Donna Leon is as good as Peter Robinson, who writes the Banks books. The first four books which I have read are competent but not more so; to be honest, the early Banks books weren't that good either. One noticeable difference is that in the Banks books, normally two detectives interview people (so that there is corroboration) whereas the Brunetti books almost always have Brunetti solo. Maybe the series will improve - there are 23 books to get through.

Monday, February 26, 2018

DBA news

There's been nothing on this blog about my doctorate since the end of November when my research proposal was accepted. I was informed who my new doctoral supervisor would be and then ... silence. After a month of hearing nothing, I asked the DBA administrator what had happened. It turned out that the supervisor had been ill with a pulmonary infection. Eventually we started swapping emails.

During this period of silence, I started work in converting my research proposal back into the opening chapters of my thesis. This was based on the 'original' version which I had written in May, but of course, since then there have been changes in the direction of the research, in an attempt to make it more palatable for a business degree. So there was a certain amount of material which had to be thrown out, replaced by new material on engineering change management and benefits realisation management. I completed a reasonable version of the 'intermediate submission' then sent it to my supervisor for scrutiny.

After another period of silence, we have been corresponding more frequently. Fortunately, working with this supervisor is much easier than the mentor which I had for the research proposal. His remarks have been with regard to the topics which I am discussing as opposed to correcting my English.

Last week, I wrote that I felt that I was close to completion of the current stage but that I was lacking for the literature review papers which discussed the human element in terms of developing enhancements. I asked if he could suggest some keywords which would be relevant to what I wanted, intending that I would do the searching. To my surprise, I received a letter on Friday morning with a list of about eight papers which he considered to be relevant (one of which he wrote himself). Armed with his references, I started hunting the papers via Google Scholar, then reading them.

It seems that most of the papers that he suggested were not what I was looking for, but inspired, I found some recent papers which are much closer to what I want. After printing them, I began reading them and considering what use I could make of them. In the evening, I spent about an hour and a half reading two or three papers closely and adding them to my literature review.

This morning I found one of the papers mentioned as a reference (with the unforgettable author list of Wu, Fang, Wang, Yu and Kao) but decided - so far - not to use this. Although this paper is about engineering change management and ERP, it's about recording engineering changes in ERP and not about appropriating the techniques of ECM for ERP. Writing up another paper led to me searching for the term "cross-functional cooperation", i.e. people in different departments cooperating. This is very important, for the type of enhancement which I intend to research usually benefits one department, possibly at a cost to another department (of course, the best enhancements are when everybody wins). I found one recent (2014) paper which is about cross-functional awareness, SMEs and ERP, so it hits many buttons. I haven't read this yet, but will probably do so this evening.

The work of the past few days has widened my literature review; I also included a portion which was in my original thesis, about user resistance. I would like to finish up all this work by the end of the week and send an updated version to my supervisor, but I doubt that is going to happen: Tuesdays through to Fridays tend to very busy these days, either with the day job or with consultancies (I have two new pupils). I think that I will take this last paper with me and read it on the train tomorrow and on Wednesday; I doubt that I will have suitable conditions for writing about it, though.