Learning For Action: A Short Definitive Account of Soft Systems Methodology, and its use Practitioners, Teachers and Students
April 2007, ©2006
PART 1 THE NATURE OF SSM.
Chapter 1 A SKELETON ACCOUNT OF SSM AS A WHOLE.
What is SSM?
What is the SSM Process?
What can SSM be used for?
Is SSM mature?
How was SSM developed?
How does SSM differ from other systems approaches?
Chapter 2 A FLESHED-OUT ACCOUNT OF SSM.
The SSM Learning Cycle: Finding Out.
The SSM Learning Cycle: Making Purposeful Activity Models.
The SSM Learning Cycle: Using Models to Structure Discussion about.
The Situation and its Improvement.
The SSM Learning Cycle: Defining ‘Action to Improve’.
The Whole SSM Learning Cycle Revisited: seven principles, four actions.
PART 2 SSM IN ACTION.
Chapter 3 SSM IN ACTION IN MANAGEMENT SITUATIONS.
Case 1: Rethinking the Role of a Head Office Function in Shell.
Case 2: Evaluating Past Events.
Case 3: Upgrading the Skills of a Department.
Case 4: Tackling your own Issues.
Case 5: Clarifying a Concept.
Chapter 4 SSM IN ACTION IN THE FIELD OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS.
Case 1: Creating an Information Strategy in an Acute Hospital.
Case 2: Evaluating a Clinical Information System.
Case 3: Evaluating a National Initiative in the NHS.
Case 4: Providing Information Support for Scientists and Technologists.
Chapter 5 SSM: MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND CRAFT SKILLS.
Craft Skills in SSM Use.
Tips on Techniques in SSM.
PART 3 SUMMING UP.
Chapter 6 SSM AS A WHOLE – some reminders.
Approaching SSM: the mindset.
SSM: an aide memoire.
Appendix One: SSM’s Theory.
Appendix Two: The Story of SSM’s Development.
Appendix Three: A Talked-through Example of Activity Model Building.
Appendix Four: A Generic Model of Purposeful Activity Modelling.
Appendix Five: Some Frequently Asked Questions.
John Poulter is a practitioner of SSM. He first used SSM formally when working with Peter Checkland in the UK's National Health Service in 1993. A founder member of the Soft Systems Research Group, he has presented papers and other publications on the use of SSM.
- Omits the development detail and historical/intellectual material yet contains the practical essentials which will allow teachers to teach accurately and students to learn with real understanding.
- A new, accessible book on SSM written by the leading academic in the area.