Monday, April 9, 2012

Principle #3. Functional Completeness

When creating a new management automation system, the most common question that developers have is, “What will it do at the end?” It is quite hard to answer such a concise question with a similarly concise response. After all, management automation is a relatively complex thing. However, my research partner and I tried to outline the overall direction and give a few tips regarding what should be included into a conceptually complete C2/GOMA system. The next principle, Functional Completeness, talks about that.

Definition: “Any conceptually complete management automation system must have 5 tightly integrated functional groups: Sensing, Analysis, Planning, Execution, and Communication & Collaboration.”

Key points of this definition:

  • Any conceptually complete C2/GOMA system must automate at least 1 OODA Loop. Otherwise, it is considered incomplete.
  • The first 4 functional groups contain management functions related to the 4 states of the OODA Loop:
    • Sensing - extracts, validates, and consolidates situational information.
    • Analysis - interprets information, compares current situation to expectations, finds mismatches and their causes, and provides facts for planning or replanning.
    • Planning - formulates action plans to achieve upper-level management goals.
    • Execution - performs the generation and transmission of control signals to execution origins, following set action plans and tailoring them to the current situation.
  • The 5th functional group, Communication & Collaboration, integrates the management functions of the OODA Loop with each other (Continuous Management) and connects the entire subsystem to the rest of organization (Organization Wholeness principle).

To implement Functional Completeness, do the following:

  • Be clear from the beginning on what type of system you are creating. It may be one of the following:
    • Complete C2/GOMA System - covers all 5 functional groups
    • Planning System - performs planning, goal setting, and decision making
    • Analytical System - performs analysis and data interpretation
    • Sensing/Observation System - extracts and presents situational information
    • Execution System - transmits control signals to execution origins
    • A combination of certain systems (Analysis and Planning System, Observation and Analysis System, etc.)
  • If there are functional groups absent in the management automation system, they must be covered by someone or something else. One way or another, the management cycle must be complete, otherwise it will be dysfunctional. The integration of multiple complementary subsystems can achieve this completeness. Also, if some functions of the cycle are not automated, those holes can be filled by humans. The decision on automation completeness (coverage) should be done consciously, after an analysis of all possible consequences.
  • Make sure that information is available to the management automation cycle by using public interfaces. Quite often, decisions regarding the implementation of public interfaces are done only after the implementation of a system of core logic, or are not done at all. This leads to the development of an isolated, self-contained system. Information that is available and could help in work doesn’t come into the management cycle and functions become complicated or unneeded. It is better to design a management automation system as a component, starting from its public interface (from the Communication & Collaboration function group). The public interface will cover all incoming and outcoming information flows. Then, once the public interface is implemented and information is free and available to the cycle, move on to design the management functions of the remaining function groups.

By integrating the functional groups of Sensing, Analysis, Planning, Execution, and Communication & Collaboration into your management automation system, you can have Functional Completeness.

1 comment: