Thursday, 10 May 2012

Understanding the 3 types of system

Many years ago Professor Lehman at Imperial College London described an important taxonomy of "systems" which is even more important today as systems become more social:
  1. S-Type systems have a fixed specification, correctness and clear success criteria
  2. E-Type systems are real world systems where user satisfaction is the only success criteria and cannot be specified in advance as each intervention/innovation becomes part of the system and changes it
  3. P-Type systems are somewhere in the middle between E and S
Anytime you intervene in a problem or opportunity with a group of people you must know which type of "system" you are dealing with and act accordingly.

Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams, virtual collaboration and business simulation at