Another perspective of Soft Systems Methodology

In Class a slightly different SSM model was shared from what I found in my research. In class there were eight steps to the SSM Model. Establish the problem/situation.  SSM is used for unstructured problem solving, however situations arise that need to be looked at to identify the problem that needs to be solved. Describe the problem/situation.  This is an opportunity to collect descriptive data and identify key points that should be included in the process. Define related root systems.  All systems that affect the situation should be identified and defined.   

Create conceptual models.  This should be done for every system related to the problem or situation. Comparison between the real world and the conceptual system models.  This is an opportunity to check the suggested models with real world application to make sure it aligns. 

At this point the situation has identifiable problem points.  Based on the conceptual systems model and real-world comparison potential changes can be defined.  It is likely there is no clear-cut resolution, however there will be some potential conclusions that can be applied. The identified action can be taken to determine if these changes are an adequate resolution. 

This is an iterative process, the actions taken are analyzed and potential new unstructured problems or situations are identified. 

Potential limitations

  • In comparing the systems model and real world there is no specific tool or technique in place.  Not having a specific tool offers the ability to adapt this step freely, however it can also impede the analysis. 
  • In general, this model needs to take systems thinking into consideration.  Since SSM is a group process individual knowledge could vary.  This can affect several steps including the interpretation of the real-world view and the ability to identify and agree on possible changes.

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