Friday, July 5, 2013

Trying to define all in once "Production System", "Improvement", "Learning", "Kata" and so on...

I am playing with some definition about systems, measures, value of information, improvements, katas and so on, rearranging and reinterpreting them in my own personal way some concepts found in sources I'll mention at the end of this post.

Sometimes is useful to have a model and related terms in order to construct arguments about something (i.e. difference between experimenting and learning, difference between learning and doing a kata, difference between activity and behavior and so on...).

System : A collection of elements connected together to form a purposive whole with properties that differ from those of its component parts (particularly the elements of a system can be other systems i.e. proper subsystems) 1
A production system: A system whose purpose is producing a Direct Outcome.
Direct Outcome: an output of a system that has direct value, or can be transformed in direct value by an external system.
Indirect Outcome: any item that is in the end-point of the result of an activity of a subsystem of the development process system whose impact is improving to create an improvement of the (whole) development process system.
Measure: A reduction of uncertainty based upon one or more observations.
Behavior: a sequence of interdependent changes in the state of a system and/or subsystems.
Activity: A behavior whose deliberate purpose is a Direct Outcome or an Indirect Outcome.
Stealth activity: A behavior that has an Outcome that: is not by purpose or is by purpose but there is no shared measure or an agreement about its Outcome.
Ability (or skill): a mapping {activity, subsystem} -> {0,1}. During the time, ability can change by practicing. (A 0 ability is being totally unable, where 1 means being close to the theoretical maximum limit).
Learning: An information about the Outcome that can be obtained by an Activity (even a Stealth Activity).
Experimentation: A deliberate change in some behavior in order to validate an hypothesis about its Outcome.
Hazard: The adoption of an activity without an acceptable measure of risk and outcome (i.e. without experimentation or without a steady shared, accepted risk threshold).
Kata: A deliberate practice for maintaining/increasing an Ability.
Improvement: A change of a system that makes it perform better in term of a measure of its Outcome.
Value of information: The difference between the outcome of an activity picked up given the information, and the outcome of the activity that would be picked up without the information.

1 From “Growing wings on the way”. Alternative definitions from “Thinking in systems”: An interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something 

Some refs: "Toyota Kata", "Growing Wings on The Way", "Thinking in Systems", "How to Measure Anything".

(p.s. yes the definition of risk is still missing: I would say that risk is uncertainty related to undesired events, where simple uncertainty could be just a set of events with some probabilities, that definition is more or less borrowed from "How to Measure Anything")

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