SYD701 Class 10

Soft Systems Methodology


Not an IS/IT methodology but a business one

Based on ‘systems thinking’


“ is a systemic approach for tackling real-world problematic situations.[1] Soft Systems Methodology is the result of the continuing action research that Peter Checkland,[2] Brian Wilson,[3] and many others[4] have conducted over 30 years, to provide a framework for users to deal with the kind of messy problem situations that lack a formal problem definition.[5][6]” (wikipedia, 2015)


The seven stages are:

    1. Entering the problem situation.


  • Expressing the problem situation. (Rich Pictures)
  • Formulating root definitions of relevant systems. (Root Definitions)


  1. Building Conceptual Models of Human Activity Systems. (Conceptual Models)
  2. Comparing the models with the real world.
  3. Defining changes that are desirable and feasible.
  4. Taking action to improve the real world situation.


For us it is useful to look at stages 2 and 3 as they have the most value for helping us to analyse a mess and  look for problems that we might be able to provide solutions for. In addition, rich pictures as a stand alone technique is extremely useful in many situations when we are trying to understand something complex.


In IS development it can be used to

  1. Identify problems within a mess
  2. Help to capture different viewpoints of that problem
  3. Pass the problem forward to a more recognised  methodology for development.

Root Definitions

  • A succinct definition of the situation/mess
  • Can have different ones from different perspectives
  • Often try to create a consensus one.




To create a short paragraph

(the shorter the better)

answering these questions


Who (A) is doing what (T) for whom (C).  

Why does this system exists (W)?.

Who owns the problem/situation (O) and in what (current) environment does it exist (E).


Teacher perspective

Teachers (A) educate (T) students (C) in the belief that education is beneficial to both individuals and society (W).  The education system is owned by NZ Govt (O) and lack of funding is a primary issue (E).




Clients – Who are the beneficiaries or victims of this particular system? (Who would benefit or suffer from its operations?)


Actors – Who are responsible for implementing this system? (Who would carry out the activities which make this system work?)


Transformation – What transformation does this system bring about? (What are the inputs and what transformation do they go through to become the outputs?)


Worldview – What particular worldview justifies the existence of this system? (What point of view makes this system meaningful?)


Owner – Who has the authority to abolish this system or change its measures of performance?


Environmental constraints – Which external constraints impact on this system?


Who (A) is doing what (T) for whom (C).  Why does this system exist (W), who owns the problem/situation (O) and in what (current) environment does it exist (E).



e.g. Public Hospital.


Patient’s perspective?


The patient (C )goes to the hospital to see a doctor (A) for treatment (T) in the belief that the treatment will cure them (W).  

The patient funds this through their taxes (O) and thinks waiting times shouldn’t be so long (E).


Doctor’s perspective?

Doctors (A) treat (T)  patients (C) in the belief that everyone has the right to basic healthcare (W).  The government (O) funds the hospital system but saving money and cutting budgets is becoming more important than the quality of care (E).


Government’s perspective?



SYD701 Class 7

50’s – 60’s

individual’s process

yit works- DO IT!


no estimate COSR or time




large systems but know scope

Budget: time and cost

improve comms

traditional SDLC

Conclusion: corporate systems



similar systems


less resource

trad SDLC but adapted


more database


Conclusion: smaller organizations



no defined user

unknown scope

fast delivery of systems

object oriented focus for systems

united process (RUP)

Conclusion: internet based system



online systems

web- based

unknown user

speed is improved

AGILE methods (SCROM)

Conclusion: online web system

SYD701 Class 6


Calculate    scientific

code-cracking          Turning machine



deploying manual calculations

usually work just for one person



corporate use

science – moon landslips

need for commends between h/w+s/w engineers




mainstream corporate



PC’s client





user-oriented generated


universal quantum computer or mobile

2020 →


SYD Class 5

  1. what is system?

components, procedures,input/output,purpose,boundary


Haro  system

have boundaries definite  input/output

non-people system

starting point is well define

output is clear

What kinds of computer systems do we have?

Perhaps we can categorise under these headings? what are we missing?


real time systems = non-information based apps,

Stock market programs

Traffic management systems (air traffic control, auto-pilot, driverless cars etc)


Operating systems

Sensor systems

Weather forecasting

Big Data systems –

Data taken from social media systems

Advertising data

Loyalty cards

Stores data taken from a system used for another purpose – meta data .

ICT systems  = includes telecommunications technology



VOIP – Skype



3G 4G

information systems = stored data – database at its heart/ purpose is to manage information/provide access to info


Transaction processing systems

Customer management systems

Medical systems

Expert systems

Government systems


Social media systems = systems primarily for sharing information/data between individuals (both synchronous and asynchronous)




Instagram etc etc…


User-generated content systems  ( same as social media?)



WordPress  / blogging

Reddit/4 chan




Entertainment systems ?





Search engines, augmented reality, AI, Google, virtual reality, robotics, simulations


Can you identify which are likely to be hard or soft?


Some examples using these headings


Real time systems

air traffic control

traffic lights


self steering cars

sensor systems e.g. security monitors/alarms, greenhouse monitoring

manufacturing systems – automated plant/robotic

weather monitoring


ICT Systems

telecom/ 3g 4g



VOIP systems like Skype

radio communications systems

operating systems?


Information systems

billing systems

Payroll systems

ATM and banking systems

Health records

online retail


enrolment systems/student management system

ticketing systems


Social media systems




email systems


User-Generated Content Systems





Entertainment systems




Is this a useful way of categorising systems?

Is the one below any better?



  • Transaction Processing systems (TP systems) (legacy systems)


banking, betting, eftpos, online retail, booking systems, payroll

– accurate, consistent, secure, very fast


  • Decision Support Systems/Warehousing systems/Big Data


using tp data (+ other demographic data) to support decision making., e.g, google analytics, big data, data warehouses

– census, statistics data sets can be inputs, static, timely but not time critical


  • Expert Systems


automated DSS, (medical) diagnostics, guidance systems, autopilot

  • must be trustworthy and failsafe


  • Office automation systems


Word, Excel, Publisher, Powerpoint, google docs,dropbox, sharepoint

  • easy to use, intuitive GUI, customer-centric


  • Real-time (control) systems (software engineering)


air-traffic control, (regulating behaviour in real time), robotics, temperature control, production line control

  • must be accurate and reliable and predictable


  • Entertainment systems/user content systems


online streaming of video/tv, Youtube/Facebook, games

  • can fail, fast response, user friendly, intuitive GUI


  • Simulations (similar to real-time control systems?)


flight simulators, bridge-navigation simulator

  • must be realistic, immersive with transparent technology


  • Scientific systems


simulations of weather data/climate modelling, statistical modelling, predictive, forecasting etc..

  • not time critical, can handle slow processing


  • Communications systems (social)


Skype, Twitter, Facebook etc……

  • time critical (but can fail), customer-centric


But what about?

Search engines, virtual worlds, augmented reality, robotic systems (i.e. house automation), internet of things



  • Is the systems life cycle metaphor useful for describing how we might develop these kinds of systems?
  • Is the waterfall metaphor useful?
  • Both seem to leave out many of the new systems?
  • is there a better metaphor?
  • Does it matter how we categorise them?

SYD Class 3


3.why do we use them?

enrich communication(emotional)

describe something new by relating it to something familiar.

4.Do we always know when we are using them?

No, we don’t

5.What is useful about using metaphors?



Metaphors in computing

1 How many computing metaphors can you find?

a.mouse, bug, virus,patch, table,file,windows,network,buffer,cache,memory,


Class 2


  • Why do we ask questions?
  1. To gain information
  2. To create an argument
  3. To confirm our understanding
  4. To get more detailed/clear answers
  5. To know someone’s else’s point of view
  6. To make sense of the world
  7. To find a solution to a problem
  8. To make a judgement on something
  9. To start a conversation/engagment with other people
  10. To make a point
  11. Out of curiosity
  12. For our own satisfaction/ to show off
  13. self-assessment
  14. What is a ‘good’ question?  
    1. An open question  – no one word answers (sometimes)
    2. If the question makes sense and is understandable
    3. It depends on why you are asking the question!
    4. Relevant to the context


  • What do you need to ask good questions?  
    1. A base knowledge (to be able to understand the answer)
    2. A valid purpose
    3. An understanding of the context in which you are asking the question
  • Is there such a thing as a ‘bad’ question? `
    1. Yes? Can have stupid questions, poorly phrased, not clear, ambiguous, complex
    2. Yes? Privacy issues
    3. It depends 🙂
    4. A question that has just been asked/answered?
  • What do you expect when you ask a question?
    1. A response (valid, answer, more questions)
    2. That someone is hearing it!
    3. Satisfaction in the response
  • Is there a point in asking questions that you know the answer to?
    1. When you are arguing/debating with someone
    2. When you want to make a point/or show off your knowledge
    3. Can be asking to double check what you think you know – to be 100% sure
    4. To get different perspectives and opinions
    5. To change your own mind
    6. To make people think about the issue
  • Is there a point in asking questions that you think don’t have answers?  
    1. Yes – some questions have no answers but discussing the question is useful
    2. By asking the question, it may inspire people to look for the answer


  • What is a ‘definitive’ answer?  
    1. Unchanging, indisputable, short, succinct?
    2. No uncertainty?
    3. An objective truth?
    4. Doesn’t invite more questions/ the final answer in this context
  • What do you need to do after asking a question?
    1. Pay attention to the response
    2. Clarify your understanding
    3. Record the response (in memory, or digitally)
    4. Evaluate the response in terms of the purpose of the question


  • How do you decide when to you stop asking questions?
    1. When you die!
    2. When you get a negative response
    3. When you need to take a break (to reflect, to rethink your knowledge)
    4. When others need a break
    5. When you have reached an accpetalbe answer/response
    6. If you have reached a time limit
  • How do you decide whether to accept/believe/use the response or not?  
    1. Evaluate the usefulness of the answer, decide to act or not
    2. Watching body language of the person
    3. Asking lots of people to confirm the answer
    4. Does it agree with your personal opinion/bias and if not will you change your mind
    5. Does it fit with your model of the world as you know it.
    6. You may observe it for yourself


  • Who should you ask questions of?  
    1. Anyone relevant to purpose
  • What is the purpose of self-questioning?
    1. Personal satisfaction
    2. Question the right/wrong of what I am doing
    3. Out of boredom 🙂
    4. To check your own understanding by playing devil’s advocate
    5. Process what you think you know
    6. wondering/ thinking of questions you need to ask
    7. Keep your brain busy
    8. To have someone to talk to!
  • Why are questions important to IT practice?  
    1. There is so much to know!!
    2. To gain knowledge – always more to know
    3. Not to waste time
    4. To share the insights we have
    5. Collective knowledge (collaboration and cooperation)
  • Can you learn without asking questions?  
    1. It depends!
    2. Somethings –  yes

Ethical Behavior and Approval about Artificial Intelligence

As we all know, people create the Artificial Intelligence system that to help people do some complex works. In order to AI can work more efficiently, the human is adopted in the intelligent system of human thinking mode and human emotion. Indeed, it can help AI work more fast, however, some Ethical Problems are impact people as well. Let’s do an assumption, X man bought a robot, the robot has their own thoughts and emotions, it can help to do many housework for X. One day X left home to the supermarket to buy things, he order robots take care of his baby before he left.  His baby is very naughty and he angered robots,then robot fight the baby. It is horrible, right? Artificial Intelligence has its own mode of thinking they could become uncontrollable.

In this current society, military and technology sometimes determines the position of the countries. So people begin to combine the Artificial Intelligence and weapon, it can make huge weapon more  powerful. Such as fingerprint recognition, the pupil recognition, face recognition and , automation weapons. Some weapons can not control by people, they can determines who can live and who will die. It is very dangerous if bad guys got this technology.

The development of artificial intelligence also has a great help in medicine research, but the price is very high, normal person can’t afford so expensive price, so to a certain extent, this is not fair.

Science Research About Artificial Intelligence

1. Identify the problem. 

1.what is an Artificial Intelligence?

2.How to program an AI application?

3.The way of your study/teach has changed in this ten years?

2.Design the solution 

1.How many projects that the AI includes?

2.If we want to programming an AI application, what a software  we  always use?

3.How many works that the AI can replace human to do?


3.Implement the solution

1.make a questionnaire for our classmates, that can let me know the level of AI knowledge and how the way of students studying and teachers teaching has changed in this ten years for everyone in our class.

2.ask questions for professional programming teacher, tutor or professor. And I can research by surf the Internet.

4.Evaluate the solution

I think we are very representative of a generation, we’ve gone through the computer, smart phone the ten years of rapid development, or we can say ten years of AI rapid development, which is showed by the changes of AI bring to us, this is the Time Trend.And we are learning IT, no matter we learn database or networking we all can use our major knowledge in the development of AI.

5.Communicate the work

I made some mistakes before this week, I just focus on the effect of AI brings, and I want to add some programming knowledge into my case.

Interest Area–The influence of the artificial intelligence of human society


The influence of the artificial intelligence of human society

1. The labor employment problem

Due to the artificial intelligence can replace human in all kinds of mental work, will make some people have had to change their jobs, and even cause unemployment.Artificial intelligence in the application of science and engineering, will make some people lost in information processing activities (such as planning, diagnosis, understanding, and decision-making, etc.), and even have to change their way of working.

2. The change of social structure

People on the one hand, want to artificial intelligence and intelligent machines to replace human engaged in all kinds of labor, on the other hand, worried that their development will cause new social problems.In fact, nearly 10 years, the social structure is changing a kind of quiet.”Man – machine” of the social structure, will be to “people – intelligent machines -” replaced the social structure.Intelligent robot is one of intelligent machines.Many was borne by people now and in the future work will be held by a robot to, as a result, people will have to learn to get along with intelligent machines, and adapt to the change of social structure.

3. The way of thinking and the change of the idea

Development and application of artificial intelligence, will affect the human way of thinking and traditional ideas, and make them change. For example, traditional knowledge are usually printed in newspapers or magazines, books are fixed, and the AI system knowledge base knowledge is can modify, continuously expand and update.BUT! some students who have come to rely too much on a calculator, and their active thinking ability and calculating ability will also be markedly reduced.Excessively depend on the advice of the computer and indiscriminately accept, intelligent machines will make the user’s cognitive decline, and increase the misunderstanding.In the design and development of intelligent system, consideration should be given to the above problems, try to encourage users to initiative in problem solving, let their intelligence actively involved in the problem solving process.

4. The psychological threat

Artificial intelligence also make part of the social members feel psychological threat, or spirit.People generally believe that only human beings are mental perception, and thus don’t with the machine.If one day, these people are beginning to believe that the machine can also thinking and creative, so they are likely to feel disappointed, even feel threatened.They worry: one day, intelligent machine of artificial intelligence will be more than human natural intelligence, make human turned out to be the slaves of the intelligent machines and intelligent system.

Broad (Possible) Research/Project Interest Area


Today I introduce an Artificial Intelligence which is my interested in. Artificial Intelligence is a research or we can say development, used for simulation, extend and expand the person the theory, method, technology and application of intelligent system is a new technology of science. AI is a branch of computer science, it attempts to understand the essence of intelligence, and can produce a new kind of response in the form of human intelligence similar intelligent machines, research in this field include robot, speech recognition, image recognition, natural language processing and expert system, etc.Since the birth of artificial intelligence, the theory and technology matures, application field expands unceasingly, also can imagine, the future of artificial intelligence technology, will be a “container” of human wisdom. AI is the information process of human consciousness, thinking of the simulation.Sure, it is not smart, but could think like people, also be more than the intelligence of people.Artificial intelligence is a challenging science, engaged in the work of man must understand the computer knowledge, psychology and philosophy. This is the science of including is very extensive, it is composed of different fields, such as machine learning, computer vision, etc., in general, one of the main goals of the artificial intelligence research is to make the machine to be able to do some usually require human intelligence to complete complex work.But different time, different people have different understanding of the “complex”.


You know, when people get into the information society, when people used calculator, not only means we touch the AI, but also we need it in our life. And now, people almost use smartphone and computer, definitely, it is belong to AI area. I like use smartphone and computer, that is the reason why I interested in that.



like Text recognition and play chess with AI, we can achieve it through the programming.


use this approach it is easy for small game, but in some large game which have a lot of roles if it have some bugs it is very hard to fix it.


This is an advanced approach that we create a AI system, it is very original system at the beginning but it can grow up by itself and can fix the mistakes as well.


4.1 AI has a great influence on the natural science, people use AI to study science subject, by the way, the AI also can help people to recognize the defects of their thinking.

4.2 Artificial intelligence has a great effect on the economy.AI make the computer network industry has huge development.All walks of life can avoid the use of artificial intelligence.

4.3 AI also provides a new mode for human cultural life.Current game will be gradually developed into a higher intelligent interactive means of cultural entertainment, today, the application of artificial intelligence in the game has been deeply to the development of each big game makers.


5.1 About the security of AI. You know, in many science fiction films the robots security problem always is a serious problem.

5.2 Robot need a human emotion?

5.3 Artificial neural network is a good technology ? System can update by itself , it is a really good thing?


I’d like to research it. Because it is a unfamiliar area for me, I just interested in it, therefore, before I touch that area I would do research about it.