Robert N. Phillips
CEO, Lasotell Pty Ltd.
How many times have you tried to “improve” a “system” in the workplace only to find that, after all the hard work and after deep-down, middle-of-the-night, honest reflection, the improvement has been only a modest success? Are you still basically amazed at the number of things that did not seem to fit quite the way you thought they would? Do you also feel, in all honesty, that the longevity of the new system has more to do with your continued presence rather than with people believing in its inherent worthiness?
Why do such things happen? After all, you identified the requirements, planned the work, and did all those good things. Why did the “owner” of the system and everybody else keep finding all these wrinkly, irritating bits and pieces along the way?
This article is the first of several articles about Soft System Methodology, which is best described as an organised way of tackling messy situations in the real world. Some examples of messy situations are
- improving health care for elderly in your local district
- deciding how the company should take advantage of information technology
- improving the productivity in a department
- creating a new workflow system for three teams of people
- planning your career
- running a sports club
(These articles will draw heavily on the book Soft Systems Methodology in Action