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Operation/run-time as a separate stage of the life cycle

Operations/Functioning/Execution/Engagement is a special stage of the life cycle, as it is at this stage that the description and realization of the target system deal not with its creators, but with systems in the operational environment. Creators can be operators, repairmen, modernizers, but their work is mostly attributed to the design time. There may be a contentious point about operators, but there is a trend to replace operators with machines, starting from Watt's centrifugal governor for steam engines to the automation of a logistician's work in the supply chain and the operational manager at an enterprise. This is a general trend: early tube televisions had six adjustment handles on each side for viewers to adjust drifting parameters of analog circuits, whereas modern televisions have no adjustments at all (though you can go deep into the menu and set color preferences once for a specific viewer, but it doesn't require a dedicated operator). And the number of middle-level managers replaced by issue tracking software is something we can't even count. Operators often troubleshoot the target system rather than actually "operate on" it - they come from a neighboring system, the creator (or the creator's creator if we talk about a creation chain). Therefore, someone in the position of an operations manager (a position with the same name as a role!) more often performs not so much the role of "operator of an already established organization", that is, the role of an operations manager, but the role of a development manager (meaning organizational design and leadership).

All work implementing the "engineering process"/life cycle (that is, work on practices of creating and developing the target system) is primarily done so that the system can fulfill its function in the supra system at the time of use (this perspective is from the supra system), provide a service to the environment at the time of use (this perspective is from the target system). All system creation and development is done for use: to provide irrevocable benefit to the environment through the system (sometimes through a long creation chain for this benefit to reach the target system and onwards to the supra system) as a result of its functioning (from the supra system's perspective) or work/service for the created system (from the system's perspective).

This is schematically illustrated using the example of a super complex system - a person.

The person is shown here as a system that is made (and not one that grows and develops on its own). Unlike biological life cycles, it does not show the life cycle, because it does not consider the cycle of a human's biological life, biological life is only part of the proposed description methodology (viewpoint), emphasizing practices/actions/methods/labor in system creation and their roles.

People are born (the family is shown as the creating system performing the practice of birth), educated (school/teachers as an educational system, a "creating system performing the practice of education"), and at that moment, when they are not yet grown and not fully educated, they are not fully capable. But even at this moment, the human agent can already have two parts: one part will be learning, and thus is the target, while the other part will be a teacher::creator). It's not explicitly shown on the diagram, but it could be a roleplay scenario. Someone like Theodore at the age of ten could suddenly become not only Theodore the student, but also simultaneously Theodore the teacher (and before that Theodore the tutor, to pick out what he wants to learn), and go for some self-learning (which is unlikely), or even quietly try to learn how to defeat monsters depicted on the screen with a drawn sword in a video game (which is highly probable). Then the person exploits themselves as they begin to have self-ownership (and here difficulties may arise if this person cannot fit into any supra system: few people need individuals who can defeat drawn monsters with a drawn sword, and people who are absorbed in social networks browsing memes are not needed in any supra systems as creators of anything. During exploitation, we find many systems in their operational/environmental/system environment. At the same time, increasing time is spent on repair practices (doctors as creating systems) and "modernization" (education, physical training), but often this is not reflected in development processes/life cycle models. Then the doctors primarily treat them (exploitation is completed, the person no longer functions - they are taken out of operation), and then the microbes cease to exist in the body (liquidation practice. An alternative implementation of the liquidation practice in this case - cremation, where there are no microbes). What about development? There are several options: either we consider the "biological life cycle" with reproduction (and try to make this person's children smarter and healthier than they are), or consider that it is not the person who lives on but the memes spawned by them during "use" - replicating, adding something to the development of collectives, societies, communities, humanity. One form is creating books, courses by this person. Another form is creating students who will replicate the new knowledge born during the life of our "person from the picture." That is, the move towards development is a move towards evolution, overcoming the limitations of one system instance, even if that system is a human. Ultimately, we view the person not as the target system, but as the machine-creator in a creation chain. This is more complex because a person can self-educate, be a machine for themselves, and also have parts of their personality that can simultaneously perform conflicting roles. And here, of course, multifaceted ethics come into play with all these questions about subordination of human interests to society's interests, which can easily be confused with the interests of individual people from that society, as well as attempts to protect the interests of not the society, but of humanity, or even "all sentient beings," or simply ordered life in a part of the universe. The term "exploitation" (in any form, "exploiting a person") is emotionally charged, and speaking poorly about a person's "design" and "manufacturing" in any sense of these words is unwelcome. Speaking about "crafting mastery" is frowned upon, as strong traditions are in place. However, this example is extremely useful in understanding the principle: the same systemic thinking with obligatory consideration of the boundaries of its applicability can be used to reduce the complexity of dealing with the most diverse target systems in a variety of system environments and with various system creators. The way of thinking does not change, the concepts do not change, but you can always choose politically correct terminology. However, the questions will remain, and political correctness will not save you from these questions. Death will remain death, even if you politely call it "liberation from suffering," and birth will remain birth, even if you poetically call it "arrival in this world." Systemic thinking will not let you forget about anything: it will force you to discuss the method of creating and developing the system (practices), warn that discussing only works of creating and developing the system without discussing the methods of these works - is impossible. If there is work, it always goes according to some method.

There are two different understandings of exploitation/use in terms of repairs (maintenance - structure and functionality remain the same) and modernization (partial change in functionality and structure, where "ongoing everything" effectively means continuous modernization, and development/evolution is continuous modernization, even if it happens with different system instances):

  • Exploitation as a stage::work includes all these sub-stages::works. The main project roles are operators and various types of users. Repairmen and modernization engineers are not separately considered, as creators have done their job and can be forgotten.
  • Maintenance and repairs, as well as modernization, are considered separate stages of the life cycle, with modernization dividing into several different (first, second, and so on) stages of exploitation, whereas "maintenance and repairs (M&R)" is considered a stage that occurs in the same period ("overlap of life cycle stages") as exploitation, understood as "operational functioning" (operations). That is, maintenance and repairs are not considered "short stages" but are considered a lengthy stage lasting the same time as the exploitation stage - and it doesn't matter that the actual maintenance and repair works constitute not too significant time within this stage. What is important is that in thinking, the tasks performed by different people are distinguished, these tasks (during the time when the system is working/exploited, and during the time when the system is not working, and creator systems are working on it), in discussions, are not mixed with each other.

This once again emphasizes the formal attribution of tasks to different stages and the need to focus on the discussion of the method/practices/way of working. Practices are ways of performing tasks that you must do with the system for it to be successful. The actual tasks following these practices will be performed in the most whimsical configurations: sequentially, in parallel, compressed or stretched over time depending on resources, by one multi-specialist or by a hundred "specialists," it will depend on the specific project situation. But if the project requires developing the architecture (practice), you will have to anticipate these tasks and find an organizational capability - the architecture will not develop and document itself, explain itself to the developers, confirm if the developers adhere to it, and then change itself when it turns out (by whom?) that the current architecture is inadequate and needs urgent change.