Principles of system Development
Lionell K. Griffith
The following represents a partial listing of the principles I use in the process complex problem solution. A philosophical proof is not presented. However, each principle was identified as a consequence of one or more rather difficult situations encountered on the path to a solution of a problem. While there is a bit of redundancy contained within this list, the redundancy addresses importantly different issues encountered in various problem contexts. The list is not exhaustive but if even half are understood and followed, the likelihood of success is greatly enhanced.
- Existence exists and only existence exists.
- Magic is inoperative in this universe so don’t expect it to work or an engineer to use it.
- The name is not the thing just as a map is not the territory.
- Changing the name does not change the thing just as changing a map does not change the territory.
- If it’s real, it must be dealt with or it will deal with you.
- Not naming or not thinking about something will not cause it to cease to exist.
- Naming or thinking about something will not cause it to exist.
- Things that don’t exist can only be made from things that do exist.
- The means used determine the ends that can be achieved.
- The end that is to be achieved determines the means that can be used to achieve it.
- The only alternative to existence is non-existence.
- Existence will never cooperate with you. You must cooperate with existence.
- Wanting, needing, feeling, wishing, intending, and the like do not make it happen. You actually have to DO something.
- Ignorance is evidence for ignorance only.
- To know means to be aware of what is.
- To mean, means to refer directly or indirectly to the facts of reality.
- “To intend” refers to an internal state rather than to external reality and is not a synonym for “to mean”.
- The human mind is a superior pattern recognition device and can see patterns where there are none. This is why we need Science.
- Reason is logic applied to experience and experiment.
- Logic is non-contradictory identification.
- Contradictions cannot exist.
- If one notion contradicts another, the one, the other, or both are not part of existence.
- Conclusions not based upon evidence are right only by accident.
- Conclusions based upon selective evidence are right only by accident.
- The content of a concept is all attributes of all members of the class of entities to which it refers.
- A definition merely distinguishes one concept from another and does not specify their total content.
- Knowledge can only build upon prior knowledge.
- Prior knowledge can only be built upon the evidence.
- The evidence can only come from our basic senses and well-designed experiments using them.
- Cutting a concept from its reality base is an act of intellectual fraud and results in a degradation of one’s ability to think.
- Science is the rigorous application of logic to experience and experiment.
- Consensus is a political process and not a scientific one.
- When a new truth is discovered, there is a period of time where only one person knows it.
- The number of people who accept or reject a scientific statement has nothing to do with the truth of that statement.
- While causation produces correlation, the discovery of correlation does not prove causation.
- A mass of data by itself, no matter how large, contains no meaning nor valid interpretation.
- The meaning and valid interpretation of a mass of data is contained within the circumstances under which the data was accumulated.
- A wild ass guess has no better that a random chance of being right. Even then, there is no further conclusion that can be drawn from such an observation.
- A conjecture is an unexamined but somewhat educated guess. As such, it can suggest a working hypothesis.
- A hypothesis is a carefully examined educated guess based upon the evidence with a limited issue to be questioned.
- The questioned issue of a hypothesis must be able to be subjected to a rigorous test or the hypothesis is reduced to the status of a conjecture or wild ass guess.
- A Theory, contrary to common usage, is a well-tested integrated view of a significant set of facts that explains how the facts interrelate.
- A good Theory often implies the possibility of facts and relationships among them that have yet to be examined and tested.
- Engineering is the rigorous application of Science to the art of making things that work.
- Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future. Niels Bohr
- It’s more important to do right things than to do things right.
- The problem to be solved determines its solution.
- If you don’t like the solution, maybe you aren’t solving the right problem.
- If it doesn’t have to work, then any old thing will do.
- If it has to work, then you must know what “it works” means.
- All estimates are wrong except by accident.
- If you don’t know or understand what you are estimating, the estimate can’t be right even by accident.
- The fact you can’t explain something indicates only that you are ignorant of the explanation. No further conclusion can be drawn from such ignorance.
- Religion has nothing to do with Existence, Reason, Science, or Engineering.
- Religion’s realm is the unknown, unknowable, and non-existent.
- Faith is not knowledge.
- I promise it, I deliver it. You promise it, YOU deliver it.
- Without adequate discovery, decision is unreliable. With adequate discovery, decision is unnecessary.
- All rule driven activities ultimately fail.
- The act of following the rules changes the system so that the rules no longer function as expected.
- The purpose of a system is what it does: POSIWID.
- Problems cannot be solved. They can only be controlled.
- A controller must have at least as much variety as the system it controls: Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety.
- Execute first the tasks that must be completed or there is no point in doing anything else.
- A team of one can do the work of four.
- A team of two can do the work of three
- A team of three can do the work of two.
- A team of four can do the work of one.
- For a team of more than four, productivity goes exponentially negative relative to the size of the team.
- Management has no effective decision to make other than go or no-go.
- After the go decision, management’s only positive contribution to the project consists of making sure the right people are on the team and that they have what they need to do their work.
- Any other managerial activity with respect to a given project can only damage or destroy the productivity of the team.
- If its been done before, use the existing solution and don’t burden your development team with solving it all over again.
- All process improvement programs consist of four steps. The devil is in the details.
- Say what you are going to do.
- Do it.
- Make sure you did what you said you would do.
- Do it better the next time.
- There is no such thing as a Silver Bullet. Problem solving requires Knowledge, Understanding, Skill, Discipline, Thought, and Effort as well as sufficient resources to do the work.
- Reason, Reality, and Logic are the only things that really count. To be Human MEANS to know this and to be good at it.
- “The Human Element” is simply an excuse for a “do it my way or the highway” power and control obsession.
- Alternatively, “The Human Element” is an excuse for being ignorant, incompetent, and stupid while still trying to control those who are not ignorant, incompetent, and stupid.
- Reality doesn’t give a damn about “The Human Element” so I don’t either. If you want to get a real problem solved, you won’t either.
- If a team can produce results, it’s a good team.
- If a team can’t produce results its not a good team no matter how much each member is a “good team player”.
- Many times a person who is already a team can out perform a team filled with “good team players.”. This kind of person usually produces the results of the team in spite of the fact that the rest of the team are “good team players” and not because of it.
- The commandment “Be a good team player” often translates to “Be reasonable: do it my way.” Failure soon follows such a command.
Email from LK Griffith 15Jul19:
Interesting website. Massive. Filled with priceless gems. The knowledge of which was won at a horrendous cost. Hopefully your Plan B will make a difference.
A Plan B is desperately needed and will be fought by existing institutions to their death. The powers that be are where they are BECAUSE they desire power over everything else Including life, success, and actualizing growth. If they can’t make people do what the people don’t want to do, they feel they have no purpose for existence. It is making people do in spite of what they really want and need is their only reward. Money is nothing but an anesthetic to deaden their feelings of dread and anxiety if they have any feeling at all.
The people don’t know what they want or need so they go along to get along. Some try to grab a portion of that pathological power and use what little they grab to no good end. Organizational Dysfunction continues unabated until the bitter end.
Case in point: The current collective (group think) of Democrats seeking the power to destroy the only society that has ever existed based upon the principle of self ownership. They and their cohorts of camp flowers who have no sense of self are purposefully following a path to total destruction of everything. Why? Simply because they resent the requirements placed upon them by the fact they are humans capable of reason and are therefor responsible only for themselves and that they should keep their word. The will to power over others is seen as much too valuable to give up to be able to live and thrive resulting in failure being the only option. Too many Republicans, Libertarians, et.al. seem to be cooperating with it.
Yes, this is my pessimistic side. Yet the only point of optimism I have is we, as humans, do have free will that enables us to choose differently. Enough soon enough? I don’t know. Time will tell.
To do what I did, I had to step outside of the system, become invisible to the system, and work only with the reality I had in front of me. I neither wanted nor sought power over others. A Team could not have done it. A manager could only made it impossible to do. In fact, I was the team and the manager of that team.
Teams, managers, and institutions can only accomplish that which has already been accomplished. They cannot and will not accomplish anything fundamentally new. At best, all they can do is make slight improvements on what was/is at a huge cost. Even that is fraught with failure and high cost.
See Boeing 737 Max 8 as case in point. Management made the design decisions that killed almost 400 people. Their justification is that they met their quarterly goals. The result is a cost, to Boeing, that exceeds the cost to design an all new airplane from scratch correctly. The managers likely will not be held personally responsible. Maybe Boeing will survive and maybe not.