Rapid SD - Practical advice sought

Junior Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2002 3:39 am

Rapid SD - Practical advice sought

Post by Ivybeans@aol.com » Tue Apr 13, 1999 8:30 pm

Dear Luis,

Jay Forrester and the MIT team have developed a model conceptualization
framework in their Road Maps that you might be interested in using. See file
D-4597 in <A HREF="http://sysdyn.mit.edu
m-toc.html">SD Course</A>

Ivan Taylor
From: Ivybeans@aol.com
Education Coordinator
Canadas National Capital System Dynamics Group

"Luis Blando"
Junior Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2002 3:39 am

Rapid SD - Practical advice sought

Post by "Luis Blando" » Sun Dec 12, 1999 8:22 pm


I am about to start a small SD project for a retail drugstore chain in
Argentina. The problems, prima-fascie, seem to be symptomatic of supply
chain delays, a-la beer game. Unfortunately, I will be able to meet the
client face-to-face only once in late December in a couple of meetings.
After that, its email or phone communication only. My question to the more
experienced readers of this group is, therefore, what do you suggest I
concentrate the face-to-face meetings on? Any expert tricks I could use to
detect any major flaws in my/their thinking early on? (please bear in mind
that I am a novice at this)

I feel that if I follow the standard method I will unfortunately have to
leave before I have grasped much of the problem, or their business. Given my
contact with them, I do not think I have to build trust or rapport with the
customer, and that might speed things up a bit. However, I am in a bind for
I cannot hope to model the system with them in the first (and only) meeting!
(PS: I know this shouldnt be done but I really want to try and help them)

Any advice would be appreciated.

Luis Blando

Bill Braun
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Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2002 3:39 am

Rapid SD - Practical advice sought

Post by Bill Braun » Mon Dec 13, 1999 8:04 am

There might be some utility in teaching them how to read causal loop
diagrams. After you move to e-mail communication, you can upload CLD
"sketches" to your web site, they can look at them and provide feedback on
where to take the model.

Bill Braun
From: Bill Braun <medprac@hlthsys.com>

Jim Thompson
Junior Member
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2002 3:39 am

Rapid SD - Practical advice sought

Post by Jim Thompson » Tue Dec 14, 1999 1:35 pm

Hi Luis,

Before you get together with your group ask them to take some time to
describe the issues they want help with. Specifically, you are asking
them for their reference mode data. You can get this by asking them to
describe the problems they see and to add some time series data in the
form of graphs or spreadsheets to support their concerns. The time
series dont have to be data that is regularly measured. Ask for a
hand-drawn graph of when things go wrong and how it looks. That is,
they can define the y-axis on the graphs with variables like delivery
delays, late shipments, back orders, backlogs, inventories, sales, etc.,

If the participants can get the time series data to you before your
meeting, you can develop one or more dynamic hypotheses and illustrate
the issues with their graphs. From this, you will have a first cut at
the outputs for your model and that will help point to the inputs. You
can then ask them to supply you with more information for the inputs.

As an alternative, you can describe the problems for them. This is less
satisfying and sets you up as an expert in their business -- which it
doesnt sound like you are. But if you have a set of outputs described
and can illustrate a problem or set of symptoms, they can at least
comment on and develop your hypothesis.

Some practical advice:
Aim to listen 80% and talk 20% of the meeting time. When you talk:
Avoid SD jargon. Avoid scientific talk. Avoid mentioning the history
of the methodology. Avoid reference to other organizations that have
used SD unless you have the published information to distribute. Avoid
reference to mathematics and/or computer simulation models unless the
participants are mathematicians and/or computer wonks. Use their
terminology with great care. Stick to commonly understood accounting,
business and finance terms and assume that very few accounting, business
and finance terms are commonly understood.

Jim Thompson
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