Open System vs. a Closed System Stereotype
So, one day I sent a Level 2 planning and control operative into a Level 4 scenario. Rather than point out the open system nature, I thought I would study what he would do. Within a day he was back, all quiet. I asked him about the project "all done" he replied. He was happy, the project was happy. Of course I was both amazed and apprehensive. I asked to have a look at the Work Breakdown Structure to see how he treated all the open system governance stuff the major contributed to dynamic complexity that a WBS wouldn't capture. Looking at the page, there, buried a couple of levels down was the box: "Governance." The WBS was refreshing and appealing to the team as it cleverly made the lion's share of the problem disappear from the radar screen. The whole open system context was buried. Suddenly reality appeared simpler than it is and we could all go home for the weekend in comfort!
We like to depict our initiative within a control framework. We addressed how Level 1 is a matter of line supervisor oversight, how Level 2 entailed a manager level, have Level 3 entailed an executive director oversight. So, what happens at Level 4? Do we keep moving up the organogram to find the common control point? As we are already reaching the canopy of the organization, how much further can you go?
The bitter reality is, Level's four and five are open system. Though there are simple work-arounds for this, there are no meaningful and simple work arounds. As with the lower levels, the Work Breakdown structure remains an important part of the solution set. However, for Level 4 and 5 there is an inversion at the top the triangle transforms into an hourglass shape, one triangle turned on another.
The upper triangle reflects the work required to reduce the dynamic complexities of the open governance network to a manageable baseline, the low triangle reflects the detail complexity disintegration of the problem as the pathway to the solution.
One triangle operates on the other. Hence, as the project team is trying to achieve a product, the end users aspirations for the solution are transforming. The further you go, the broader the expanse between planned implementation and the objective.