In order to get where you want to go, you must know how to get there. When building systems, you need to know what you need to build it.
Programming Principle #1: Use the Methods of System Analysis and Design to Understand What You Need
The methods of System Analysis and Design are necessary to understand what components your system needs to reach its goals.
These methods are:
- Learn what components your system needs.
- Learn what each component does to contribute to your system.
- Learn how each component works with your system.
- Learn where each component should be.
- Learn when each components is needed.
Know what components you need, what they do, how they work together, and where and when to use them.
For the remainder of this article, we’re going to use a simple example of crossing a bridge as our system.
Method #1: Learn What Components Your System Needs
The components of your system are the river, the bridge, and of course, yourself crossing it. Therefore, the components can be listed as such:
System Analysis and Design requires that you look even further into the components, to know the details of each one.
- Depth of River
- Speed of River
- Height, Length, and Width
- Materials: Stone, Iron, Wood
- Height, Weight
- How fast you can swim, should the bridge fall under you.
We could go even further in the details, but remember this: A great system only uses the components and needs, and the attributes of those components it needs. In other words:
To get what you want, the most resourceful way is to use only what you need to get there; nothing more, nothing less.
Method #2: Learn what each component does to contribute to your system.
In order to cross our bridge, we have to know what the river does, the bridge does, and we ourselves do. Therefore, we begin to list the functions of each component.
- Flows (direction)
- Recedes (in drought)
- Rises (when it rains)
- Connects two land masses, with something beneath it.
These functions allow us to know what each component does on its own. It’s important to know that each component does what it is supposed to do, even without being part of the system.
For example: a river doesn’t need a bridge, nor does a bridge need a river. Furthermore, you can walk, run, or swim, without a bridge, and you can swim in a lake, pool, or ocean.
Method #3: Learn how each component works with your system.
Knowing how each component works with your system provides clues on where and when to use them. To get to those answers, we must understand the relationship between what each component does with the other components and the system.
A river is part of the system in that it presents an obstacle. This gives us the problem of getting over the river.
The bridge is the tool we use to cross the river, and crossing the river is our solution. Many people confuse tools as solutions: a bridge is not a solution, because if nobody walks over the bridge, then nobody crosses the river.
Therefore, we can conclude our components work together:
- The bridge works with the river by sitting over it.
- We work with the bridge by walking from one side of the bridge, to the other.
See, we never cross the river. We cross the bridge.
Knowing this distinction is essential for the next method.
Method #4: Learn where each component should be.
An engineer would place the bridge at the most accessible part where, when it rains, the water doesn’t rise to the point that the bridge is in danger of falling, and the water doesn’t block entry to both sides of the bridge.
When we arrive at the river to cross it, one side of the bridge must be as accessible as the other side. By placing the bridge in the best possible position, we allow people to cross in the most optimal situations.
In other words, optimal positioning of your components ensures a greater chance of success.
Method #5: Learn when each components is needed.
The last method allows us to create efficiency. By creating efficiency, we use less resources, optimize results, and prolong the life of our system.
A bridge should only be used when it needs to. Walking back-n-forth constantly, when the riverbed is dry, is a waste of the bridge’s functions and resources. Eventually, all that foot traffic will wear the bridge down, and then collapse.
The same can be said for any system, including a business. If you work your employees to the point of exhaustion, they will collapse, and not be able to work anymore. You’ll need to repair them (which can be a costly health bill), or replace them with new workers.
The ethical leader would ensure that their components are working well, when and where they’re needed; not more, and not less, to ensure optimal results.
Use the methods above of System Analysis and Design, to put together an optimal system that allows you to get the most results for the least resources. By using these methods, and following the principle of System Analysis and Design, you ensure that your system is well organized, with a great foundation for growth.