© Gary Swift

Inventing the Future with Structured Planning
Systems Design Methodology for Software Products

Version 2.1, June 6, 1995


Software companies need a strategic design process like Structured Planning to remain competitive in today's marketplace. Structured Planning offers the following advantages:
  1. It supports User Centered Design by providing a structure to utilize all sources of information about customers and extending the definition of "the user".
  2. It fosters Quality and Competition by providing a structure to use information from all corporate quality initiatives ( from bug statistics to the design of products itself.
  3. It promotes Vision and Prognostication by providing a structure for capturing imaginative insights regarding long, medium and short range scenarios.
  4. It resolves the problem of Fragmented Design Insights by stating them in a common format so that they can be related to one another and translated into active design directives.
  5. It is based on a Design Methodology that: (a.) utilizes both left and right brain methods and tools for problem analysis and solution synthesis respectively; (b.) supports interdisciplinary teams and participatory design; and (c.) goes beyond generating individual designs by being a system that generates systems.
  6. It states design problems in operational terms that explicate the underlying forces creating the problem.
  7. It states solution summaries and speculations in terms of action directives and specifications that can be implemented by engineering.
  8. It decomposes a large problem maze into a hierarchical map for solution generation, allowing the design team to solve small subsets of problems quasi-independently and then combine their solutions into a holistically integrated system.
  9. It facilitates the hand-off from design to engineering by using the same problem solving map for detailed design and implementation.
  10. Solution sets can be generalized into an evolving design Pattern Language -- a corporate memory for design insights, strategies and solutions.
Such a systems design process could be used by strategic planners and others to create a coherent corporate design program based on real-world design requirements, resulting in a product stream of competitive and profitable software systems.