What is happening to the subject Engineering?because i have been trying to listen to the video but it is not opening.
What is happening to the subject Engineering?its because i have been trying to listen to the video but it is not opening.
Various ‘softer’ approaches to problem solving have been proposed. The one that we shall describe is based on (although not exactly the same as) the methodology developed by Peter Checkland and his collaborators at the University of Lancaster. This has been applied to systems problems in a number of projects.
The soft systems approach is based on a number of key principles.
Problems do not have an existence that is independent of the people who perceive them.
Solutions are what people perceive to be solutions.
People perceive problems or situations differently because they have different beliefs about what the situation is and what it should be.
Problems are often linked into what are called ‘systems of problems’ or ‘messes’.
The analyst, researcher or manager trying to solve the problem is an integral part of it!
The stages of the soft systems approach are illustrated in Figure 36.
The approach begins with a situation in which one or more people perceive that there is a problem.
It will not be possible to define the problem or its setting with any precision and, in any event, the different people involved will have different ideas.
The first step is to develop a picture (called in soft systems terminology a rich picture) that encapsulates all the elements that people think are involved in the problem.
Once the rich picture has been drawn, the analyst will attempt to extract ‘issues’ and key tasks.
Issues are areas of contention within the problem situation.
Key tasks are the essential jobs that must be undertaken within the problem situation.
The essence of rich pictures is that they represent all the elements in a situation in an unstructured way. By all the elements I mean both ‘hard facts’ (if there are any) and the softer, more subjective aspects of the situation being considered.
Look at the rich picture of a new product introduction process shown in Figure 37, then answer the following questions.
(a) What situation do you think may have led to the drawing of the rich picture?
(b) What are the hard elements in the situation?
(c) What are the soft elements in the situation?
(d) Briefly write the ‘story’ that the rich picture tells.
Figure 37 The new product introduction process
(a) The situation that led to the rich picture being drawn might have been a dissatisfaction with the new product introduction process in terms of its ability to deliver what the customer wants or the time that it takes.
(b) The hard elements in the situation could be:
product as delivered
dates of tests
though all these have ‘softer’ elements.
(c) The soft elements are:
management heat under the review vacuum
quality control sleeping peacefully
the gap between the voice of the customer and customer wants
the convoluted ‘pipe’ of management approval.
(d) The story that the picture tells is one in which the voice of the customer is elicited and defined, albeit with imperfect transmission of requirements. The requirements are then reviewed with management urging action leading, perhaps, to premature decisions about requirements. Approval takes a long time and results in ‘vapourware’ that influences the design process.
Documents are released from design into product development, which produces models and undertakes field tests and pilots. The product is then delivered to the customer but is not the same as what was wanted. And all the while, quality control slumbers on.
The issues and key tasks extracted from the rich picture become the basis for defining what are called the ‘relevant systems’.
For example, suppose the problem situation is a deteriorating performance in a call centre. One of the issues might be the (high) turnover of call centre operators. This might lead (depending on the point of view taken) to an idea of the call centre as an ‘employment-providing system’ or an ‘entertainment system’.
There is no reason to restrict relevant systems to one issue or key task. Further analysis of more than one relevant system might provide valuable insights into different perspectives on the situation.
The initial idea of the relevant system is then expanded into a root definition. The root definition of the ‘entertainment system’ might be, ‘A system to ensure that call centre operators find their jobs as interesting as possible and that the social and physical office environments are stimulating.’
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