The situation is all too well-known: the number of spectacular development failures in, for example, large software projects remains at an alarmingly high level. In spite of frantic ongoing efforts to come up with new methods and tools to support such tasks, there seems to be no radical improvement in sight. While the complexity of systems increases at an ever-accelerating pace, our innate human cognitive capabilities for managing such development tasks remain the same as they were in historical times.
This book takes an alternative route to the development of complex systems. Technology, methods, and tools are still important, but human-centric aspects like common understanding, coordination, visualization, and reduction of complexity, are here brought to the forefront.
The core of the alternative approach is the system anatomy, a means that was conceived in the early 1990s by Jack Järkvik, one of the contributors to this book. The system anatomy is a simple but powerful image showing the dependencies among capabilities in a system, from the most basic to the “money-making” ones, thereby representing a novel way of describing what a system is. This out-of-the-ordinary image has since then been used extensively in various forms at Ericsson for managing extremely complex system development tasks.
When an innovation such as the system anatomy sees the light of the day, it soon becomes evident whether or not that innovation is feasible; otherwise, it will disappear silently into the darkness of history. The anatomy concept has certainly turned out to be extremely viable. Moreover, it is quite likely that the potential of the anatomy-based approach is not nearly fully exhausted, either in practical applications, or as an object of research.
The time has come to make the system anatomy innovation known to a wider audience. Therefore, the purpose of this book is to provide a snapshot of where the anatomy-based approach to system development stands today, by looking backwards at the first attempts to use the anatomy, by examining current usage of the concept, and by contemplating what might lie ahead.
Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2011. , 201 p.