Science behind Agile: Part 1

Hi, this is Jan from and this is the opening post to a series about systems that we live in.

You shall learn a basic understanding of Systems Thinking.
You might have heard of it. We will talk about it.
Also, you shall get information about Systemics.
It is less likely you heard of that one, but don’t worry. We will talk about that as well.

At we work with systems a lot. Technological, sure. But also social systems and contexts that shape and guide them, but I am getting ahead of myself here.

Let’s kick-off with some fundamentals.

To simplify the topic, we can say that the whole world and the universe is made up of layers of systems upon systems upon systems. Connected and affecting each other through a range of forces and phenomena that our science has given names to.

For our purposes, we will use a simplified, yet correct definition of a system, that we will use to further support our effort.

Here it is, our simplified yet true definition:

“System is a number of individual elements connected together through relationships.”

And let’s expand with:

“The relationships between elements of a system are also the boundaries, borders of the system.”

We could, of course, expand on this definition indefinitely. We could confront dictionaries and search for a more precise definition, but this is all that we need now. To get more hands-on, let’s examine a few examples of a system that matches our definition.

The schematics of a system. This one looks like a rectangle, because of the relationships between the elements.

- Universe as described and understood by current science. — Made of individual galaxies, black holes, stellar systems and other phenomena affecting each other with huge gravitational forces, heat, radiation, pressure, etc. Likewise, we could examine a galaxy or a solar system.
- Earth — A system made of an uncountable amount of elements, such as trees, mountain ranges, water bodies, atmosphere, ozonosphere, ionosphere, human beings, animals of various kinds, insects and even grains of sand. All of them are elements of a larger system — Earth.
- Human beings — An organism made of tangible items such as individual organs composed again of cells, fat, bones, skin, etc. Or less tangible, yet still existing and measurable phenomena such as personality, memories, electric charge, magnetic field and other elements that are impossible to hold in a hand but also form a human being. These interact and affect each other with various forces, signals, and communication. (For example chemical communication between two organs.)
- Team — Composed of human beings and tied together both by external and internal forces — rules, norms, agreements, individual and shared motives, and interpersonal relationships.
- Company — “A team of teams” composed and tied together by the same kinds of forces as an individual team and their scaled-up versions.

At this point, you have the introductory information required to slowly get into thinking in terms of systems. Next time we will have a look at Machine Systems.

What possibilities of this thinking can you see now? Which examples of systems do you recognize out there?

Drop me a comment with what you have to say or ask a question and I will get back to you.

Until next time this has been


Science behind Agile: Part 1 was originally published in ableneo People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.