Breaking Down Barriers to
Deliver Success
PRESENTATION PREPARED BY:
Marianne Sweeny
SR Search Strategist
#PORTENTU
PORTENT.CO/ssm-discovery
(Yes, use .co, not .com)
Marianne Sweeny
@portent
marianne@portent.com
4
HERE BE DRAGONS 5
PROJECT PLAYERS
Us
Them
Their target
6
EVERY PROJECT STARTS WITH A PLAN 7
ALSO UNSTRUCTURED PROBLEMS
Dynamic
Multiple stakeholders
Conflicting interests
Uncertainties of many types
Intangibles
8
CLIENT DISCOVERY
9
CLIENT DISCOVERY TODAY
Sales contact
Questionnaire
Client meeting
Email, phone calls, more email, stand up
meetings, more ...
DISCOVERY MEETING 11
OUTCOME
Questionnaire
Meeting minutes
PowerPoint
Expensive box lunch with
big cookie
12
You going to
finish that
cookie?
ROADMAP? 13
WTF?
14
WHY IS A DISCOVERY
SESSION SO IMPORTANT
Because…
15
ENGINEERS THINK THAT …
User behavior is predictable
User behavior is consistent
Process can be automated
Transmission of t...
IN THE REAL WORLD
User behavior is…
Interpretive
Meaning is constructed in relation to unique
situation
User behavior chan...
SYSTEM THINKING IS
Linear
Object-oriented
Mechanistic passive users
Atomistic view of data (discrete items)
Contained situ...
OUTSIDE OF STAR TREK
The real world is…
Chaotic
Subjective
Constructivist active user
Holistic view that encompasses addit...
SOFT SYSTEM METHODOLOGY
20
21
Everyday life develops in all of us trusted
intellectual structures which to us seem
good enough to make sense of our
e...
SSM PROCESS
Use it to GET information needed for various
system components
IDENTIFY wide and sub systems to be
supported b...
STAGE 1: BUILD A CONSENSUS MODEL
Express the current situation and surface
the plurality of project team world views
23
STAGE 2: EXPRESS THE ISSUES
Discussion
Consensus
Model (represent)
24
STAGE 3: AGREEMENT & ACTION PLANS
Develop agreement and action plans
through process of accommodation
25
STAGE 4: EXECUTE
Execute on action plans for purposeful
activity
26
CATWOE
Customers who benefits from the system transform
Actors who facilitate the transformation
Transformation process wh...
SO WHAT, YOU SAY?
PROJECT PARTICIPANT VIEW FROM THIS TO…
29
TO THIS 30
And that’s a good thing
SSM & CLIENT DISCOVERY
31
DISCOVER
Discover client world views, environment,
cultural and political influences
32
REVEAL
Reveal the interacting systems within
organizations (client and ours)
33
DEFINE
Define user purposeful activities (what
problems are we trying to solve)
34
SHIFT
Shift thinking from optimizing for the
technology to optimizing for the users
35
ITERATE
Iterate the SSM throughout the engagement to
meet shifting conditions
36
SO THIS 37
BECOMES THIS
And that’s a very good thing
38
SSM DISCOVERY OUTCOMES
39
CLIENT –SPECIFIC CATWOE
Who are the customers?
Who does the work?
What are the world views that govern our work?
Who “owns...
PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY 41
MODELS IN REAL WORLD SITUATION 42
MILESTONES AND TASKS 43
ACTION PLANS 44
SAVE TIME
45
SAVE MONEY 46
47
END RESULT 48
PORTENT.CO/ssm-discovery
(Yes, use .co, not .com)
Q&A
#PORTENTU
THANK YOU
FOR ATTENDING
Me:
@msweeny
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Save Time, Money and Bloodshed with Soft System Discovery

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We've all been part of those projects. The kick-off meeting goes well. Then the wheels fall off the bus with designers fighting developers and both hating the SEO. Stop the madness with Soft System Discovery a prescriptive method that delivers a shared vision of success.

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  • Unstructured problems are the bane of technology’s existenceSSM moves away from Problem=Absolute solution to Situation that is problematic and evolving – requires thinking that evolvesReal life problems that are rarely staticEnables participants to clarify interests and predicaments
  • Sometimes you have it…If you are luckyUsually just a kick off meeting disguised as discovery
  • IR systems have built in functional complexity to accommodate multiple aggregators and actors that are opaque to users (black box)The information system has the role of supplying knowledge and is not always the sole supplier of outputRole of knowledge support of specific actionInformation System/Soft System: information as socially constructedInformation Engineering: information as a concrete phenomenaProblem solving encompasses system, cultural and strategic concernsSSM incorporates system learning and experiential learning and applies to problem-solving
  • Intersection and Transformation of SSM: Mathiassen, Lars, Neilsen, Asid (2000)Idea is that there would be better systems of IT professionals had better understanding of the scope, nature, impact of the systemUser experience will be better if UX professionals have a better understanding of scope, nature and impact of designs on IT (there are always trade offs)
  • Soft System Methodology: A Thirty Year Retrospective: Peter Checkland (2000)Engineers struggle with how to incorporate this human element into their system design. Needed a way to deal with this complexity of real situations.Clients struggle with how to attract and retain customersWe struggle with how to understand our client issues, environments, methods and infrastructure.
  • SSM is about cycles of discussion, learning and debate – unlike IT system thinking that looks for absolute complete solution every timeSSM uses system and psychological foundations to develop models of human behavior – measurement of these models is problematic because not always quantitative
  • Stage 1: examine the background of the problem to expose issues, problems in structure, develop representation of relevant domains. Used for identification of knowledge gaps, elicit discussion with all of the stakeholder groups
  • Stage 2: Root definition = relevant systems that will provide insight into the problem. Used to ensure all points of view and intersect consideredSelect issues that warrant a closer look by project teamDevelop alternative viewsExplore creative scenariosDrill down into specific organization processes
  • Stage 3: Conceptual Model: expressed by verbs, usually focused on 3 sub systems (knowledge, criteria, application. Verbs are the first level of resolution, e.g. monitor and control. Output = human activity system to create evaluation of the real world
  • Outcome is a rich understanding of parts that results in a richer understanding of the wholeCATWOE can grow, change to scaleAlso BATWOVE where B=Beneficiaries and V = Victims (more complete view, aka SWOT = Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats)
  • Remember the unstructured problems?Intangibles?They will attempt to derail the best laid plans.
  • Answered for us and the clientWould this become the first deliverable after signing?Precipitate the client questionnaire?
  • Selection of purposeful activity systems each based on a declared world view (client and team)
  • Comparison of the models developed against the real world situations that exist
  • Comparison outcome are the components of the Milestones and tasks
  • Action plans are subsets of the main improvement strategy – execution brings about the transformation
  • Everyone going in the same direction to the same place
  • So there you have it… 7.5 Ways or 9.5 Ways or 9.5 Ways plus 7.5 sins, so 17 whatever.
  • Save Time, Money and Bloodshed with Soft System Discovery

    1. 1. Breaking Down Barriers to Deliver Success PRESENTATION PREPARED BY: Marianne Sweeny SR Search Strategist
    2. 2. #PORTENTU
    3. 3. PORTENT.CO/ssm-discovery (Yes, use .co, not .com)
    4. 4. Marianne Sweeny @portent marianne@portent.com 4
    5. 5. HERE BE DRAGONS 5
    6. 6. PROJECT PLAYERS Us Them Their target 6
    7. 7. EVERY PROJECT STARTS WITH A PLAN 7
    8. 8. ALSO UNSTRUCTURED PROBLEMS Dynamic Multiple stakeholders Conflicting interests Uncertainties of many types Intangibles 8
    9. 9. CLIENT DISCOVERY 9
    10. 10. CLIENT DISCOVERY TODAY Sales contact Questionnaire Client meeting Email, phone calls, more email, stand up meetings, more mail, more phone calls, internal meetings, client meeting (?), more phone calls, more meetings, meetings about meetings, email, email, email. 10
    11. 11. DISCOVERY MEETING 11
    12. 12. OUTCOME Questionnaire Meeting minutes PowerPoint Expensive box lunch with big cookie 12 You going to finish that cookie?
    13. 13. ROADMAP? 13
    14. 14. WTF? 14
    15. 15. WHY IS A DISCOVERY SESSION SO IMPORTANT Because… 15
    16. 16. ENGINEERS THINK THAT … User behavior is predictable User behavior is consistent Process can be automated Transmission of the output (data) is the end result 16
    17. 17. IN THE REAL WORLD User behavior is… Interpretive Meaning is constructed in relation to unique situation User behavior changes due to changing context Information is processed before and after the system 17
    18. 18. SYSTEM THINKING IS Linear Object-oriented Mechanistic passive users Atomistic view of data (discrete items) Contained situationality 18
    19. 19. OUTSIDE OF STAR TREK The real world is… Chaotic Subjective Constructivist active user Holistic view that encompasses additional elements for context Internal cognition Trans-situationality 19
    20. 20. SOFT SYSTEM METHODOLOGY 20
    21. 21. 21 Everyday life develops in all of us trusted intellectual structures which to us seem good enough to make sense of our experiences, and in general we are reluctant to abandon or modify them even.
    22. 22. SSM PROCESS Use it to GET information needed for various system components IDENTIFY wide and sub systems to be supported by new/modified system STRUCTURE an analysis and design process to facilitate mapping of information to issues 22
    23. 23. STAGE 1: BUILD A CONSENSUS MODEL Express the current situation and surface the plurality of project team world views 23
    24. 24. STAGE 2: EXPRESS THE ISSUES Discussion Consensus Model (represent) 24
    25. 25. STAGE 3: AGREEMENT & ACTION PLANS Develop agreement and action plans through process of accommodation 25
    26. 26. STAGE 4: EXECUTE Execute on action plans for purposeful activity 26
    27. 27. CATWOE Customers who benefits from the system transform Actors who facilitate the transformation Transformation process where inputs become outputs World views that give the transformation meaning Owner to whom system is answerable to Environment or constraints on system 27
    28. 28. SO WHAT, YOU SAY?
    29. 29. PROJECT PARTICIPANT VIEW FROM THIS TO… 29
    30. 30. TO THIS 30 And that’s a good thing
    31. 31. SSM & CLIENT DISCOVERY 31
    32. 32. DISCOVER Discover client world views, environment, cultural and political influences 32
    33. 33. REVEAL Reveal the interacting systems within organizations (client and ours) 33
    34. 34. DEFINE Define user purposeful activities (what problems are we trying to solve) 34
    35. 35. SHIFT Shift thinking from optimizing for the technology to optimizing for the users 35
    36. 36. ITERATE Iterate the SSM throughout the engagement to meet shifting conditions 36
    37. 37. SO THIS 37
    38. 38. BECOMES THIS And that’s a very good thing 38
    39. 39. SSM DISCOVERY OUTCOMES 39
    40. 40. CLIENT –SPECIFIC CATWOE Who are the customers? Who does the work? What are the world views that govern our work? Who “owns” the project? What are the environmental influences? What are the systems and subsystems? What inputs become transform into what outputs? 40
    41. 41. PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITY 41
    42. 42. MODELS IN REAL WORLD SITUATION 42
    43. 43. MILESTONES AND TASKS 43
    44. 44. ACTION PLANS 44
    45. 45. SAVE TIME 45
    46. 46. SAVE MONEY 46
    47. 47. 47
    48. 48. END RESULT 48
    49. 49. PORTENT.CO/ssm-discovery (Yes, use .co, not .com)
    50. 50. Q&A #PORTENTU
    51. 51. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING
    52. 52. Me: @msweeny
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