How to Do Systems Analysis (Wiley Series in Systems Engineering and Management) Review

How to Do Systems Analysis
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"How to do System Analysis" distills a lifetime of experience in addressing large scale complex systems problems into a common sense approach that focuses as much on systemic thinking as on analytical tools.This book views systems analysis as a combination of operations research (with its analytical tools and methodologies) and policy analysis (with its ambiguities, perspectives, and competing values). While acknowledging the importance of solid analytical skills, Gibson, Scherer, and Gibson emphasize the importance of understanding context, identifying stakeholders, specifying the problem, establishing objectives, establishing criteria, developing indices of performance,formulating and evaluating alternatives, and iterating progressively toward a solution that acknowledges the competing interests and trade-offs inherent in any system of moderate size and complexity.Unlike many engineering text, this book looks at analysis in the context of the problem - encouraging the analysts to "embrace error" early in the process, expending time and effort to the extent necessary to rule out dominated alternatives so that more serious trade studies and precise analysis is limited to more promising alternatives.

The chapter on goal development is particularly good in its recognition of the importance of the "axiological component" - the underlying values that define what is important to the client or customer.The authors walk the reader through a seven step process of goal development that includes describing the current situation (the "descriptive scenario"), defining the desired situation (the "normative scenario"), and developing an objectives tree with indices of performance that reflect client or customer values.

The book is loaded with realistic examples and case studies that can be used to provoke discussion and convey concepts.Many of the examples are drawn directly from the experience of the authors; others are drawn from current events involving difficult or controversial public policy decisions.This book is a great companion text for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course in systems analysis as well as an excellent reference book for practicing systems engineers and analysts.

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Product Description:
This book focuses on systems analysis, broadly defined to also include problem formulation and interpretation of proposed alternatives in terms of the value systems of stakeholders. Therefore, the book is a complement, not a substitute to other books when teaching systems engineering and systems analysis. The nature of problem solving discussed in this book is appropriate to a wide range of systems analyses. Thus the book can be used as a stand-alone book for teaching the analysis of systems. Also unique is the inclusion of broad case studies to stress problem solving issues, making How to Do Systems Analysis a complement to the many fine works in systems engineering available today.

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