Title: Functional system maps as boundary objects in complex system development

Authors: Ronald C. Beckett

Addresses: School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria, 3125 Australia

Abstract: A trend towards the provision of product-service packaging and the proliferation of service businesses introduces both tangible and intangible elements into system design. In this paper, we consider the utility of hierarchical system models as a way of flexibly combining such elements by focusing on requisite functionality. Four cases illustrate how the same approach may be used to clarify the requirements of business or socio-technical systems during system development, operation or reengineering stages. It is suggested that a suitable loosely coupled model has significant utility as a 'boundary object' - a term first coined in the study of museum artefacts. Discussion of such objects requires the use of imagination, which may support innovative system design and development. It is suggested that a well-crafted model has multiple uses - as a foundation for system development, in combining traditional and agile project management strategies and in providing a framework to facilitate the capture and organisation of project knowledge.

Keywords: function mapping; boundary objects; IDEF0; GERAM; agile project management; complex systems; system development; system design; hierarchical system models; knowledge capture; project knowledge; knowledge management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJASM.2015.068610

International Journal of Agile Systems and Management, 2015 Vol.8 No.1, pp.53 - 69

Received: 05 Jul 2014
Accepted: 28 Dec 2014

Published online: 30 Mar 2015 *

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