Report Of A Brainstorming Session at IFIP 8.2 Working Conference in Boise, submitted by Edgar Whitley

Following the debate on the IFIP 8.2 mailing list earlier this year, David Avison asked if I could facilitate this discourse at the working conference at Boise. Thus, over lunch on the last day of the conference, participants were asked to consider issues that they wanted to raise that did not fit within the normal agenda of the business meeting.

The brainstorming session was very successful, with many issues reported back to the business meeting. They broadly addressed two main topics: theoretical themes that IFIP 8.2 should consider addressing at future meetings and issues to do with the organisation of the conference and working group.

Drawing on my notes from the meeting and those of Michael Myers (the IFIP 8.2 Secretary), below is my summary (in no particular order) of the discussion, a discussion which we hope will continue both in the IFIP 8.2 mailing list and at future meetings.

Theoretical themes for IFIP 8.2 to consider

  • Conference on contingency issues of enterprise wide software
  • Discussion of teaching of pluralist development methods
  • We should be more careful about definitions, for example, the relationship between systems and network
  • There should be more talk of a communicative approach
  • There should be clearer discussion of issues of power
  • We suggest some discussion of post–modernism
  • Should we broaden the concept of organisation?
  • A possible conference topic could be mission critical software and systems
  • We question the fast food approach to theory
  • A discussion of the architecturing role of information systems

Organisational issues

  • Many people commented on how friendly people were in 8.2
  • Organising chairs should be included as editors of the proceedings
  • Make proceedings available online
  • Coffee after lunch
  • Less noisy entertainment
  • Suggest a role for new members of the community
  • Could the conference website have full details of authors, so that they could be contacted by people who are particularly interested in their papers?
  • Keynote speakers are invited to provide new perspectives to the group and should not be expected to face a hostile audience just because they have a different perspective
  • More use should be made of the IFIP 8.2 mailing list, especially between conferences
  • One way to widen participation would be to have special lower rates for PhD students. Would conference attendees be prepared to pay a slightly higher fee if this was used to subsidise the fees for PhD students?
  • Add the ability to order extra copies of the proceedings (for your departmental or institutional library) on the registration form
  • Water for presenters
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