Category Archives: Systems

I have that liberated feeling again…

Systems, business processes, and software often get black marks on their names. There is a dominant view that implementing a system will create Dilbert-esqe flunkies that roll around, demotivated to do anything but the minimum required. After describing (albeit poorly) what I do for businesses to a few business owners, one mentioned “So you create […]

A bad system is better than no system at all

A business run without a system is like a car driven by a man with short-term memory loss, continually having to guess which pedal is the brake, the gas, and the clutch. It will, most likely, eventually, and with luck, go forward, but the passengers aboard will not find the ride comfortable or smooth. And […]

Stability v Change

Are stability and change mutually exclusive? Is it possible to create a stable, changing system? Can you reinforce the value of a stable product or environment or business without sacrificing the ability to change? The UAW feeds on people’s desire for stability. They promise a stable wage with stable benefits while working at a stable […]

The system optimum is not the sum of the local optima

There are all sorts of situations where a single localized optimum equals overall badness: A top-of-the-line video card that is the best in the world but hogs so much computer resources that the other components are starved. A project manager that is the best at getting the best employees to work on his jobs, so […]

Implementation Fatigue

The main danger that a company faces in implementing a new system of any sort is not budget overruns or schedule delays, or even a poor end product. Rather, it is that the intended users of the system do not actually become users. Though there are many causes of this disconnect, one theme that runs […]

How to know a system is good

A system is good when the design and implementation phases of the system are well thought out. A system is good when the users of the system buy in. A system is good when the stated goal is clearly articulated to anybody who interfaces with the system. A system is good when the perception of the system is […]

Definition defines a system as “an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole” or, as it pertains to computers, “a working combination of hardware, software, and data communications devices.” These are both good definitions. They both capture the essence, in a succinct way, of the word. But I would […]