Tag Archives: systems thinking

Systems Thinking Bibliography

Bibliography from the session on Systems Thinking led by Jean Tabaka and Bill Wake (William.Wake@acm.org), at Agile 2009, August, 2009. We've found these books useful and interesting and hope you do too.

Banyai, Istvan. Zoom. Puffin, 1998. ISBN 0140557741.


Brynteson, Richard. Once Upon a Complex Time: Using Stories to Understand Systems. Sparrow Media Group, Eden Prairie, MN, 2006. ISBN 0971930481. 


Senge, Peter. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization. Doubleday, 1990. ISBN 0-385-26095-4.


Senge, Peter, Art Kleiner, Charlotte Roberts Richard Ross, and Bryan Smith. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. Doubleday, 1994. ISBN 0-385-47256-0. 


Sweeney, Linda Booth. When a Butterfly Sneezes. Pegasus Communications, 2001. ISBN 1883823528. 


Thiagarajan, Sivsailam. Thiagi’s 100 Favorite Games. John Wiley & Sons, San Francisco, CA, 2006. ISBN 0787981990. 


Weinberg, Gerald. Quality Software Management: Volume 1, Systems Thinking. Dorset House, 1992. ISBN 0-932633-22-6.


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http://www.systems-thinking.org/ (Web)

Review – The Principles of Product Development Flow (Reinertsen)

The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development, by Donald Reinertsen. Celeritas Publishing, 2009.

Lean product development can be looked at as flow-based product development. Reinertsen draws on a variety of areas (economics, queue theory, control theory, the military) to explore the consequences for product development. The book is organized as 175 principles, organized into chapters by area. Here are a couple examples: “B2: The Batch Size Queueing Principle: Reducing batch size reduces cycle time”; “F8: The Cadence Batch Size Enabling Principle: Use a regular cadence to enable small batch sizes”. Each principle gets a page or two of explanations; the diagrams are plentiful and helpful. (For an introduction to the topic, I still recommend Reinertsen’s book Managing the Design Factory.)

Review – Quality Software Management, vol. 1: Systems Thinking

Quality Software Management, Volume 1: Systems Thinking, Gerald M. Weinberg, Dorset House, 1992.
Starts with “What is quality?” Looks at management patterns for software development, and highlights the importance of feedback. Uses system models (that show interconnections with reinforcing and damping feedback) to examine the impact of management and the need to steer. Considers the challenges of steering, and of customer feedback.

Weinberg applies these tools to look at quality and errors. Errors are hard to find, and resolving one problem can create others. Finally, he looks at how stress and pressure can cause breakdowns in teams. (Reviewed Nov., ’02)