Showing posts from August, 2006

I'm Taking a Month Off

I'm taking a month off from blogging. Will be back in September.

Systems Archetype: Shifting the Burden to the Intervenor

There is a special case of Shifting the Burden which I am especially familiar with because I have worked as a consultant for many years: Shifting the Burden to the Intervenor . Description The problem may occur when an organization decides to rely on outside competence to solve an internal problem. The problem may be solved. The catch is that the competence to deal with the internal problem now resides outside the organization. This makes the organization vulnerable if the problem occurs again. "The organization" may be a company that outsources development work to a consultant, or outsources a part of their infrastructure to a subcontractor. Departments within an organization are also vulnerable. They may (not always voluntarily) let another part of the organization take over an important function, only to find that the other part of the organization is not able to process requests quickly (usually because of queues), may not fully understand the requests (development depar

Systems Archetype: Shifting the Burden

Description Shifting the Burden is one of the more common systems archetypes. The problem occurs when a short term fix is applied without regards for possible side effects. The short term fix seems to work, but over time the side effects escalate. In many cases, the capability to apply a long term solution atrophy over time, making it very hard to correct the problem. Example A classic Shifting the Burden example in software development is when management tries to apply a brute force solution, like increasing the manpower of a project, or forcing developers to work an excessive amount of overtime, to compensate for low productivity, or poor planning. The diagram above describes a situation where a project has productivity problems. In other words, it won't make the deadline. The obvious, but often flawed, solution is to add more people to the project. Most projects measure progress in terms of hours worked. Unless you live on Mars, you are almost certainly familiar with the basic