System Modeling

Editors rating: 
No votes yet
Users rating: 
Your rating: None
No votes yet
Intent or purpose: 
The intent is to find the source of a problem within a complex system.
Used as component of: 
This process is used to emphasize that a process or problem is part of a system, and to then identify where to begin with the analysis of a problem.
Types of Participants: 
Any types of participants can be involved in this process.
Recommended size of group: 
Remarks about group size: 
The group can be of any size.
Optimal amount of time needed: 
The optimal amount of time needed can not be generalized. It depends on the complexity of the system that is analyzed and on the amount of problems found.
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
The outcome will be an analysis of inputs, processes and outcomes, that will help the client to improve certain parts of the system, and to detect possible sources of problems.
Level of participation: 
The level of participation is high, as participants have to think about their work and what and where there could be a problem.
Ideal Conditions: 
There are no special conditions needed.
How is success evaluated: 
The process is successful when effects and impacts (see procedures) are conspicuous.
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
A special Facilitator-Client Relationship is not neccesary.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Not set
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
The facilitator does not need any particular characteristics.
Setting and Materials: 
No material is needed or recommended.
Resources Needed: 
There are no additional resources needed.
Pre-Work Required: 
There is no work that needs to be done beforehand.

There are three important phases to this method.

Firstly, there are inputs, being all the resources that are used to carry out the actual activity (processes). This can be raw materials, products or services that are produced by other parts of the system, which might not be the focus of this analysis. The facilitator has to point out to the group that they have to look at every part of the whole system so as to detect possible mistakes.
The next phase is focusing on the processes. Meant by that are activities and tasks that turn the inputs into products or services. A special focus should be on the analysis of this part as most mistakes or issues occur in this field.
Then, the team should look at the outputs, being the direct products or services that follow from the processes.
If problems are spotted, they should be discussed and possible solutions should be found, or direct changes should be put into action. Of course, an implementation plan could help to keep the problems in mind in the future. If everything went accordingly, there should be noticeable effects and impacts. Effects are changes in the client's knowledge, attitude or behavior that result from the outputs and indirect outcomes from the processes as they intervene. Impacts on the other hand, are long-term and more indirect achievements and effects of the outputs, for example a new structure for certain parts of the system.

How flexible is the process?: 
The process is very flexible, as it can deal with a wide range of problems.
Follow-Up Required: 
There is no follow-up requiered.
Derived from: 
This process derived from the Waterfall Model by Winston Royce.
Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World with CD-ROM by John Sterman - ISBN-10: 0071179895 & ISBN-13: 978-0071179898