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The Discipline of Organizing: Professional Edition, 3rd Edition by Robert J. Glushko

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10.2. The Organizing System Lifecycle

System lifecycle models exhibit great variety; for our purposes it suffices to use a generic four-phase model that distinguishes a domain definition and scoping phase, a requirements phase, a design and implementation phase, and an operational and maintenance phase. These phases are brief and mostly inseparable for some simple organizing systems, more sequential for others, and more systematic and iterative for complex organizing systems.

Most of the specific decisions that must be made for an organizing system are strongly shaped by the initial decisions about its domain, scope (the breadth or variety of the resources), and scale (the number of resource instances). In organizing systems with limited scope and scale, most of these decisions are made in an informal, unanalyzed, and holistic manner. For example, when we arrange our bookshelves or closets it is not necessary to think explicitly about scoping, requirements, design, implementation, and operational phases. For complex organizing systems, however, especially those in information-intensive domains, it is important to follow a more systematic methodology.

Initial decisions about scope and requirements can create lasting technology and process legacies that impact operational efficiency and flexibility. They can also have profound and unforeseen ramifications for the users of the system and other people affected by the work the system enables. A rigorous, well-documented planning process ...

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