Thursday, March 4, 2010

Systems Thinking about a Problem at Work

This is an analysis of a situation I saw playing out at work. It revolved around off-shoring labor in an attempt to reduce costs having unintended consequences. In particular, one heroic worker was fixing incoming quality problems in an attempt to "be good" but was, in fact, making the problem worse by hiding the impact of the off-shoring decision.

See the embedded presentation below to step through the problem. I suspect this will look familiar...

I've used a systems dynamics based diagram to sketch out the factors and feedback. I've found this to be a very powerful approach for looking at complex problems to understand the underlying factors.

This site has a pretty good tutorial on how this works.