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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lean Inventive System Thinking - A Framework for Software Development in GIXBang

The rapid explosion of Global complexity calls for new ways of solving problems and making decisions. Continuously increasing complexity in the modern day systems call for radically different measures to ensure high levels of productivity. Couple this with increasing distance between user requirements of what they really need versus what they want, the challenges are increased manifolds. Since Information Technology is central to the modern world, it is but obvious that approaches to create, design and develop IT systems need to respond to the complexity explosion. The current approaches to software construction and delivery are finding exceedingly difficult to meet these challenges. Further the problems of software design are compounded due to non-physical nature of software systems, where intuition, experience and judgment of experts plays more important role than quantitative and measurable metrics of the traditional engineering world.

The existing methods based on the normative or descriptive approaches for making decisions leaves lot of decision makers and problem solvers on their own despite making claims to the contrary. The problem solver finds him alone in a complex web of decision dependencies and fuzzy end of decision complexity. I have been experimenting with some of the techniques and methods for solving real life problems in Information Technology (IT) service delivery. These techniques are organized as a framework for collective problem solving using three key thinking dimensions – these are Lean Thinking, Inventive or Design thinking and Systems thinking. The framework called LIST framework has already proved its worth in many real life case studies in improving overall productivity, reducing cycle time, designing relevant solutions needed by customers and minimizing stress on the employees. The framework has some of the known LIST techniques such as Design Structure Matrix (DSM), Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), TRIZ, Set-based concurrent engineering (SBCE) and Value Stream Mapping (VSM). There are some of the new techniques developed by me, such as System Complexity Estimator (SCE), System Change Impact Model (SCIM) and Project Cacophony are also included as part of the framework. LIST for Software Development is the need of the hour!
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