Copyright by Tom Poppendieck, Mary Poppendieck

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Chapter 7. See the Whole

Systems Thinking

A system consists of interdependent and interacting parts joined by a purpose. A system is not just the sum of its parts—it is the product of their interactions. The best parts do not necessarily make the best system; the ability of a system to achieve its purpose depends on how well the parts work together, not just how well they perform individually.

Systems thinking looks at organizations as systems; it analyzes how the parts of an organization interrelate and how the organization as a whole performs over time. When this analysis is done by constructing a computer simulation of the organization's behavior, it is called system dynamics. System dynamics analysts construct a computer model by interviewing ...

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