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Impacts of Complexity

Unecessary complexity is a common cause for waste and excess costs.  Here are some excerpts from a book called Systemantics that discuss the impacts of complexity. They are amusing and thought-provoking.

– Le Chatelier’s Principle: Complex systems tend to oppose their own proper function. As systems grow in complexity, they tend to oppose their stated function.

– The Fundamental Theorem: New systems generate new problems.

– Laws of Growth: Systems tend to grow, and as they grow, they encroach.

– The Generalized Uncertainty Principle: Complicated systems produce unexpected outcomes. The total behavior of large systems cannot be predicted.

– As systems grow in complexity, they tend to oppose their stated function.

– A complex system cannot be “made” to work. It either works or it doesn’t.

– A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.

– A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.

– A complex system can fail in an infinite number of ways. (If anything can go wrong, it will.) (See Murphy’s law.)

– The larger the system, the greater the probability of unexpected failure.

– Colossal systems foster colossal errors.

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