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Systems engineering: Challenging complexity
Systems engineering: Challenging complexity

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Stage 3: Relevant systems and root definitions

The issues and key tasks extracted from the rich picture become the basis for defining what are called the ‘relevant systems’. For example, suppose the problem situation is a deteriorating performance in a call centre. One of the issues might be the (high) turnover of call centre operators. This might lead (depending on the point of view taken) to an idea of the call centre as an ‘employment-providing system’ or an ‘entertainment system’. There is no reason to restrict relevant systems to one issue or key task. Further analysis of more than one relevant system might provide valuable insights into different perspectives on the situation.

The initial idea of the relevant system is then expanded into a root definition. The root definition of the ‘entertainment system’ might be, ‘A system to ensure that call centre operators find their jobs as interesting as possible and that the social and physical office environments are stimulating.’