157 Reverse Salient

An element that limits the overall performance of the system of which it is part.

A reverse salient is a metaphor that borrows from military parlance, referring to a section of an advancing military force that lags behind and impedes the rest of the force from achieving its objective. In design contexts, a reverse salient is any element—e.g., component, mechanism, person, team—that limits the performance of an overall system. For example, the limited ability of direct-current power to be transmitted over long distances acted as a reverse salient on large-scale, direct-current power distribution.1

Reverse salients form because technological advances occur unevenly. Complex technological systems are composed of many parts, ...

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