On Sat, 2008-10-04 at 10:56 +0100, Patrick Hoverstadt wrote:
> Hi Barry
> > About 15 years ago I spent the better part of a year developing what
> > I called a graphical interface for the VSM. It was an attempt to
> > develop a database whose user interface was the VSM diagrams.
> > Unfortunately, I am a pretty lousy programmer and the resulting
> > tool was not that good (and it totally lacked the cyberfilter
> > capability which I think is crucial.
This is another example of a reason to modularize using open source
Those with the skills to produce accessible and meaningful graphical
presentations are not generally those with the skills needed to produce
an effective cybferilter (for example) or to understand how the various
components can fit together to build a recursive structure of arbitrary
Trying to do everything "in house" using the available (but not
necessarily well-matched) resources is (imho) an very expensive,
hit-and-miss approach. In contrast, an open development model protected
from closure (perhaps by using the GPL licence wherever possible) can
draw on the vast, unidentified pool of skills available.
Effort needs to be incentivized, so individual modules need to have
fruitful application in a more flexible environment than that for which
they were conceived. That's why (for example) a flexible cyberfilter
would be useful in a stand-alone desktop environment (one possible form
of the "user" side of the abstraction layer, placing a heavy burden on
human components) as well as a networked daemon (another possible form
of the "user" side of the abstraction layer, minimizing human
> Similarly, we did a 3-D graphical VSM model as an interface, with the
> graphical components (VSM sub-systems, linkages, components of the
> environment etc.) expanding or contracting with the data. This was
> from a database, but could be live feed. We did it as a proof of
> concept, and I think it worked well for that, quite a lot of
> methodology came out of it.
This could have been (and still could be) developed as an open source
system, set loose in the wild to reproduce and evolve.
There's little point in making humans do what machines do better when
the humans have neither enough time nor sufficiently powerful tools to
do the things that only humans can - those involving judgement,
imagination, explanation, empathy, interaction with other humans, ...
> BUT it is so far removed from where most of management is that nobody
> was really interested. In fact a lot of VSM ers couldn’t get it –
> though to others, it was blindingly obvious. A couple of interesting
> 1. I really struggled to find enough / appropriate data from a
> business to run it. There were massive black holes in the data.
Might these holes have been filled in if the collection and filtering
the data had been left to machinery (in which case would the machinery
for collection and filtering have evolved without the machinery to act
upon it (in which case would the machinery to act upon it have evolved
without those humans who can act upon it ... ))?
> 2. The linkage of data to structure is forced on you if you use a
> tool like this, whereas it isn’t if you use conventional dashboards,
> and this has huge impact on the misattribution of performance data
> (which I find is the rule, not the exception)
> 3. It could handle a massive amount of data and display it in a
> form that was easily accessible (to those that could “get it”) We
> could show the ten year history of a company in 2 minutes. The
> rendition into graphical form acts as an automatic perceptual filter.
I agree entirely, and I the demonstration (I recall) was impressive.
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