Think Not Machines Systems Thinkers

Photos-Think-Not-Machines-Systems-Thinkers491519267BlogBusiness analysts are really business-systems analysts — where business and systems are joined to make one word. Business systems are interdependent and interrelated organic and/or mechanical entities, which come together to create value for the organization and the rest of its stakeholders. Complex systems involving people and machines, mired in issues, constraints and other problems, require systems-oriented thinking to identify the true solution. To find the root cause to an issue, systems-oriented thinking requires a business-systems analyst to examine problems by breaking them into constitute elements; looking at each of them independently and again as various permutations or combinations until identified underlying patterns lead to solution options.

Systems-oriented thinking is not a single idea but a set of habits or practices within a logical framework. This framework, based on the idea that the component parts of a system — understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems — is the foundation to understanding how policies, people, processes and technology all interact within a complex culturally driven organization. We can examine this further by understanding what constitutes a system. A system is composed of parts sometimes called objects or entities. All the parts or entities of the system relate to each other and fully encapsulate. In addition, systems express the following:

Systems are self-governing in fulfilling their purpose. For example, an airliner is not a complete and fulfilled system until it has a flight crew and passengers — the people are a part of and complete the system.

Properties of Systems

  • Systems are self-contained
  • Systems are not more than the sum of their parts – are things are accountable
  • Systems are made up of discrete entities/objects, processes, activities and tasks
  • Systems are based on rules
  • Systems require input based on an event
  • Systems provide output to other systems or outside the systems’ boundary
  • Systems must create equilibrium with their environment
  • Systems’ components are not necessarily collocated
  • Systems are both temporal and spatial
  • Systems may sometimes overlap one another
  • Systems are often nested inside other systems
  • Systems may be mechanical, organic or a combination of both

In order to solve business-systems related issues, a systems-oriented thinker must have the ability to create successful arguments using a variety of methods. Abductive, inductive and deductive thinking is a way to discipline the mind and maintain a systems-oriented mindset. In my next blog, I will discuss how to reason using abductive, inductive and deductive methods.

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