This paper explores the consequences of the uncertainty introduced into the system development lifecycle by a prototyping approach and the practical strategies employed by developers in prototyping projects. Drawing on various strands of the sociology of technology, the paper discusses findings from a multi-disciplinary research project, which investigated the use of prototyping in commercial information systems development in the UK during the period 1995-1998. Qualitative semi-structured interviews with commercial practitioners were followed by a series of mini case studies. We draw on interview and participant observation material and the practitioner literature on Rapid Application Development (RAD). In the course of the project, we encountered a variety of practical strategies which attempted to extend the sphere of developers ' influence beyond the technical realm to affect (but not determine) how the user/customer participates in the development process. Various techniques attempt to create a climate of joint ownership and shared approaches to change management. For example, the role of an ambassador user encompasses shaping the environment in which the system will operate via information
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