Thinking about Systems

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24 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 7 μήνες)

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Thinking about Systems

?

I spy “systems”
which I can analyse
and engineer

The Deming View
lends itself to
analysis and tends
to be data driven

I spy complexity and confusion
which I can diagnose as a learning
process

The Systems Thinking View
predicated on appropriate starting
point and level of engagement

The observers perceived real world

Bounded , mechanistic and
trabsactional

The observers perceive real world

Unbounded and messy

Open and Closed Systems: Systems and Processes


Central to the school of
Lean Thinking and Six Sigma

is the implicit assumption of a closed system.
Deming was clear to distinguish between a system and the processes contained within it, to quote:
-


"
If the aim, size, or boundary of the organization changes, then the functions of the sub
-
components
will change for optimization of the new system. Management of a system, therefore, requires
knowledge of the interrelationship between all the sub processes within the system and of everybody
that works in it
.”

And then as the basis of systematic study and the domain for statistical analysis the process: “
When the
process is stable or in control, all the data points will fall within the two limits. Those points are
considered to come from a process that has only common causes of variation.”



However, if one or more of the data points fall outside the control limits (or show certain patterns),
those data points are said to come from a special or assignable cause of variation acting on the
process.”

It is the manager's job to know the difference.


Without this basic knowledge, any management action will be mere tampering”.
Deming was thus very
clear about when lean techniques are applicable and where intervention is mere tampering. This
distinction is interpreted by Systems Thinkers as Open and Closed systems, linked and like stacked
Russian dolls hierarchically arranged.



Variety and Variation


It

is

very

easy

to

describe

the

difference

between

variation

and

variety

but

very

difficult

to

diagnose

this

from

systems

behaviours
.

Does

the

scatter

of

outcomes

around

the

target

suggest

process

errors?

Or

is

the

behaviour

being

observed

more

complex

than

a

single

end

point

would

suggest?


Deming
:

Variation

Disciples

of

Deming

see

variation

as

bad

and

develop

a

school

of

systematic

analysis

and

elimination

of

variation

down

to

the

limit

of

natural

variation
.


Ashby
:

Variety

Ashby

and

the

cyberneticists

see

variety

as

necessary

for

change,

every

system

has

to

be

responsive

to

its

environment

and

it

is

in

sustaining

variety,

through

resources

and

capability,

that

organisations

develop

and

grow
.

How

do

organisations

balance

the

Deming

route

of

standardisation

with

the

Ashby

route

of

sustainability?


Analysis

and

Synthesis

The

mechanical

view

of

an

organisation

assumes

the

complete

replacement

of

parts,

each

element

can

be

analysed,

specified

and

replaced
.

The

mechanics

and

processes

are

more

significant

than

the

people
:

the

components

and

people

are

replaceable
.

The

organic

view

of

an

organisation

accepts

the

interdependency

of

parts,

systems

can

only

be

understood

as

a

whole,

integrated

and

interlinked
.

The

people

are

more

important

than

the

system

&

processes
:

it

works

despite

the

system
.

There

is

a

gross

asymmetry

between

the

approaches
.

Too

much

emphasis

on

synthesis

leads

to

an

over
-
elaboration,

too

much

on

analysis

can

destroy

a

living

system
.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

Faced

with

the

current

economic

crisis

leaders

and

managers

have

largely

focussed

their

efforts

at

reducing

costs

and

improving

efficiencies

with

little

emphasis

placed

on

increasing

effectiveness
.

This

is

akin

to

surgery

and

an

approach

on

radical

surgery
.

It

is

the

mistaken

belief

that

an

excess

of

efficiency

will

deliver

a

leap

in

effectiveness
.

It

is

proceed

without

design

and

with

a

blind

belief

of

quantity

over

quality
.


Unfortunately

most

the

problem

gets

demoted

to

a

solution

-

the

language

of

innovation

gets

forced

into

a

transaction

-

rush

to

a

solution
.

I

don't

have

to

understand,

the

efficiency

and

logic

of

process

steps

I

am

following

will

insulate

me

from

having

to

understand

it
.

Our

natural,

and

economic

world,

demonstrates

the

importance

of

linking

sub
-
systems

for

efficiency

and

effectiveness
.

Equally

past

economic

catastrophes

own

their

origins

to

systems

operating

without

the

moderation

of

balanced

feedback
.

This

dichotomy

lies

with

the

interplay

between

efficiency

and

effectiveness
.



Transactions and Relationships

Most

of

our

current

focus

and

emphasis

is

on

lean

methods

and

improving

operational

efficiency

often

to

the

detriment

of

improving

customer

relationships
.

We

are

all

too

well

aware

of

the

shallow

unsatisfactory

nature

of

formulaic

“have

a

nice

day”

customer

relations
.


Whereas

efficiency

can

be

improved

utilising

traditional

quality

tools

the

challenge

facing

public

and

private

sector

organisations

is

to

true

variety

in

response

to

build

the

requisite

relationships
.

In

social

services

a

good

outcome

may

be

achieved

as

much

through

a

transaction

less

relationship

as

through

a

relationship

transaction
.



Consider

the

choices

presented

to

the

doctor
:

whether

to

dispense

hope

or

pills?





Effectiveness v Efficiency

Efficiency: Closed System attributes



Here and now (today, hours and minutes)



Bounded



Defined rule set



Transactional activities /processes



Agreeable to LEAN methods (efficiency)



Focus on reducing variation



Focus on solutions



Task focus and analytical tools, e.g. PDCA

Effectiveness: Open System attributes



Tomorrow


extended decision action cycle



Unbounded


boundary can be fluid



Rule set outside of systems boundaries



Focus on requisite capabilities and resources



Not agreeable to LEAN methods (efficiency)



Focus on increasing variety and effectiveness



Focus on options for change
-

“Trade off” of


resources and capabilities



Relationship focus

Which is your dominant system: where & when?

Effectiveness v Efficiency

Which is your dominant system: why, where &
when?

Effectiveness: Open System attributes


Tomorrow


extended decision action cycle



Unbounded


boundary can be fluid



Rule set outside of systems boundaries



Focus on requisite capabilities and resources



Not agreeable to LEAN methods (efficiency)



Focus on increasing variety and effectiveness



Focus on options for change
-

“Trade off” of r
esources & capabilities



Relationship focus
-

People dominate the problem and its setting



People being



Divergent thinking



Diagnosis



Holism



Human activity systems and Mode 2 thinking (Knowledge)


Efficiency: Closed System attributes



Here and now (today, hours and minutes)



Bounded



Defined rule set in operation



Transactional activities /processes



Agreeable to LEAN methods (efficiency)



Focus on reducing variation



Focus on solutions



Task focus and analytical tools, e.g. PDCA



Things dominate the problem and its setting
-

Non Human


activity systems machine paced production line



People doing



Convergent thinking



Reductionist / Cartesian



Mode 1 thinking (Knowledge)


Zachman

Framework (
Simplified
)

1.
Scope (context)


2.
Business model (concept)



3. System model (logical)

4. Technology
model (Physical)

5. Detailed representation (component)

6. The Real system

(as built)

Diagnosis

Divergent thinking




Analysis, Design

& Build

Convergent thinking



How do you move from Diagnosis to Analysis, Design & Build?

Process

Logic


six and lean sigma operates here

Lean Systems Thinking


What do we mean by lean thinking?


What outcomes do we want from lean systems thinking?


How will we know that we have succeeded?


What are the benefits of lean thinking?


What are the issues with lean thinking?


What do we mean by systems thinking?


How does it help us with the issues of lean thinking?


What are the issues with systems thinking?


How do we go about developing lean systems thinking

What do we mean by Lean Thinking? (1)


It is the antidote to
WASTE?

What is Waste?


Any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no
VALUE


Lean thinking is a systematic and structured approach to precisely
specifying
Value

in terms of specific products and services with specific
capabilities at specific prices to specific customers


Lean thinking ignores the existing investment and
re
-
thinks where value is
created


A lean system has no resilience


it is in effect a closed couple system
which is not adaptive to environmental change.

What do we mean by Lean Thinking? (2)

Service Excellence Involves
:




Delivery Performance



Relationship Performance



Trade off of service v functional attributes

Service Excellence

Delivery Performance

Relationship Performance

1.
Define your corporate mission in terms of customer benefits

2.
Develop organisational and service/product visions

3.
Gain commitment across the organisation

4.
Select the right people

5.
Train, train and retrain

6.
Change the measure to incorporate customer service values

7.
Use technology to enhance customer satisfaction

8.
Quality is about exceeding customer expectations

9.
Use scenarios to scan for
breakpoints

in the environment

Traditional Lean Thinking (1)

Traditional Lean Thinking

Our View


Systems Thinking

Specify Value

Service Excellence


moving beyond six and lean sigma. What is critical re different
customer segments and service & functional attribute

trade offs, relationship & delivery
performance?

Integrate the Value Stream

Yes, but which flow is critical and what is the context. More importantly Core Processes do
not equal
Distinctive Competences
. Emergent properties need to be managed

Make the Offering Flow

Yes, but

needs to consider work design and the electrician and house wife problem.
Additionally work design is recursive ; lean assumes a linear flow of work and activities

At the Pull of the Customer

Yes, but need to understand service as well as functional attributes of the offer plus the
other stakeholders

Right First Time

Yes, But what is critical to quality,
service or functional attributes,
all attributes whether
specified or not can kill the system

Service Attributes

Functional Attributes


Problem solving


Courtesy


Listening


Understanding


Responsive


Quality


Reliability


Maintainability


Design


Functionality


Traditional Lean Thinking (2)

Our View


Systems Thinking

“Lean Systems
Thinking”

Viable Systems

Focus on the

performance of
the system

Whi ch customers? What
envi ronments

. Context i s al l.

Systems need to be open,
adapti ve and resi l i ent


Customers are taken as
setti ng the

systems
boundari es. The systems i s
defi ned as a cl osed system
of work acti vi ti es defi ned
and control l ed by the
workers . However, work
and experti se are not
synonymous

Context i s al l

Not al l customers are equal

Demand i s vari able and not
predefi ned as per a producti on l i ne


What does the systems do


its purpose

Context i s al l

Systems can exi st for mul ti pl e
purposes


Assumes perfect knowl edge
on the part of the worker

Context i s al l

Systems can exi st for mul ti pl e
purposes


Serves to improve
performance

What performance?

Organi sational or transactional.
Improvi ng order entry i s sub
opti mal to i mprovi ng the suppl y
chai n

Cost of poor qual i ty (fai l ure
demand)

Focus i s on the organi sati on as a
system and the rel ati onships
/interfaces whi ch need to be
mai ntai ned. That i s the vi abi l ity of
the organi sation as a system of
work

Considers long term viability

Yes


the Organi sations as a result
transacti ons may change.
Transacti onal i mprovement can

be sub opti mal and ul ti matel y a
fi x to fai l

change

Focussi ng on end to end
process opti mi sations i s sub
opti mal

Yes, see above

Is designed in a participatory

way

Work desi gn i s a strategi c i ssue
not to be confused wi th how
transacti onal processes are to be
executed.

RAEW anal ysis. Work
and experti se are not
synonymous

Assumes work desi gn can
be undertaken

at a
transacti onal l evel by the
parti ci pants. Thi s assumes
perfect knowl edge!!

Yes, see above


Assessing Context & Selecting Approach

Issue

Prognosis

Approaches

Poor product/service

Readily changeable

TQM, 6 Sigma

Low productivity

Changeable

Work Study/BPR/Lean Sigma

Long cycle times

Changeable

JIT/Agile

People reluctant to change

Moderately changeable

Good leadership with a cadre of change agents

Middle management blocking

Moderately changeable

If due to BOHICA, combination of RACI/RAEW, resource planning and good
communication

People refusing to change

Moderately changeable

VOE
-

mass resistance probably means that policy communication has been
poor.

Poor morale

Probably changeable

VOE / Resource planning & deployment

Narrow vision

Hard to change

Needs enough highly visionary leaders to turn around large organisation

Short
-
term orientation

Very hard to change

To change mindset


need to change
KPI’s

Narrow constituency

Very hard to change

Needs big kick by other stakeholders, e.g. regulator, but VOC is best bet.

Addiction to latest management fad

Probably unchangeable

Organisation exhausted by initiative overload because top team think that
everyone else has the problem


not them

Closed culture

Probably unchangeable

Needs takeover by well resourced management

People unable to change

Unchangeable

Except by removal

Obtuse/Political/Unscrupulous Top Team

Unchangeable

Except by removal but only if the total culture of the organisation is
changed as well

Some things about Systems
-

Basic
Principles 1

1.
Systems do not exists


they do not have a singular definition? See
Boulding

2.
What is your concept of systems and what are we talking about? Linked processes a la Deming or Human
Activity Systems?

3.
Systems
always have to exist for a purpose or can exist
for multiple
purposes

4.

There are always two systems in simultaneous operation

1.
The problem solution system

2.
The problem context system

3.
The solution System can never map completely to the problem context

5.
All Systems can be defined in terms of 1000’s of attributes


only a few mattered from a customer perspective
( re values based segmentation)

6.

All Systems exhibit multiple views (so what view is correct


the answer is all views are correct


see the
housewife and the electrician
problem.

7.
All attributes have to be fit for purpose, i.e. zero defect v customer perceptions

8.
Only a few attributes matter from a customer perspective

9.
All attributes can kill the systems whether defined or not

10.
All Systems are open i.e. adaptive.

11.

ICT systems are always closed. I.e. non adaptive
-

no feedback loops

12.

All systems to survive must demonstrate requisite variety

13.
You are part of the problem and solution space, i.e. multiple perspectives always exist



Systems Hierarchy

The concept of organization goes beyond the formal
hierarchy of functionally based reporting.
Relationships between people matter

A closed network of

recurrent interactions

Relations

Social

relationships

Organizational

identity

Stable forms of

communication

Organizational

structure

Raul
Espejo
, “The viable system model: a briefing about
organisational

structure,” 2003



External

Environment



Management



Operations

The challenge is to balance the varieties of operations & environment and management & operations via appropriate
attenuators

and
amplifiers
.

Information

Actions

Information

Actions

Variety of

Environment

Variety of

Operations

Variety of

Management

»

»

Variety needs to be managed actively along all
communication channels
-

adapted from
Rudolf Kulhavý