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The course "Methodology" continues the course "Systems Thinking" (mandatory prerequisite), telling about practices (activities, types of work, methods and techniques) of the life cycle of systems. The exposition is mainly for the practices of system creators, such as people and their organizations with their computers and equipment. The course provides a modern understanding of methods of creation and development, presenting a system diagram of the project as a set of objects, the changes of which must be tracked throughout the project.

The methodology course provides a modern version of the doctrine of method (practices of work, methods of work, activities, types of work, types of engineering). Methodology appeared as a philosophical discipline about methods of cognition, but in modern engineering and management, "methodology" has become the teaching of methods of carrying out activities to change the world, that is, activities of creating systems of various levels. The exposition is based not so much on philosophical literature of past centuries and literature on general systems theory of the last century, but on methodological international standards in management, engineering, software engineering (in particular, we widely use the OMG Essence 1.2:2018 standard, the system diagram of the project is given based on it). It is detailed what happened to the concept of "life cycle," how it gradually replaced by the concept of "method/process of development" as the transition to "continuous everything" with the inclusion of operations in the duty of the engineering team. We also draw a line of reasoning about the growing evolutionary complexity of systems, which was thoroughly discussed in the "Systems Thinking" course for practitioners. System creators and their methods of work are also evolving. To understand these constant changes, one must be able to work with the concept of "practices" in thinking and action, distinguishing "practices" as work methods from the works themselves, and this is what our course is dedicated to.

The exposition does not touch upon praxiology as a general theory of activity (concepts of goals and means of activity, goods, utility, negative value of labor, etc., are not disclosed). The normative part of the methodology is also not presented, which today is represented by a scale-less version of system engineering. All of this should be the subject of separate courses.

The course is available as an online course and a book from Ridero Publishing. The mandatory prerequisites for understanding the content discussed in it will be completing the courses "Modeling and Consistency," and "Systems Thinking" from the "Infinite Development" program of the System Management School. Our course will be a prerequisite for the "System Engineering" and "System Management" courses. The methodology course is a course in teaching fundamental practice, so in fact, it is a prerequisite for virtually any applied course.

In the case of courses on fundamental disciplines, we recommend taking our course again (during the first pass, there are inevitable "forward references," mentioning concepts that will be further elaborated in the text of the course. Repeating the course makes all these places much clearer, the perception of the course material changes significantly, "reads like the first time, a lot of new things are understood"). Do not forget to check the materials with links to literature, there is a lot of interesting information there. Pay special attention to modeling and thinking writing tasks. More comments on how the course is structured can be found in the first section of the "Systems Thinking" course; our course is actually its continuation.

Reading the textbook from the course is absolutely insufficient to master methodological thinking in any way. It is necessary to carry out modeling exercises, in which you must fill in tables. Methodological thinking in life will be exactly like this: you will create and fill in similar tables, turning them into checklists and thus tracking the execution of work according to some methods of these works.

After completing the methodology course, the student should be able to distinguish between managing work and managing the life cycle, be able to determine practices and roles that perform these practices, understand the objects (alphas in the OMG Essence language) that need to be monitored during the project implementation.

The material of this course first appeared as part of the textbook "Systems Engineering Thinking" in 2013, the current text is its eighth revision.

The author expresses gratitude to the students and teachers of the department of technological entrepreneurship at MIPT, where initial teaching of methodology was conducted and the first experience of teaching this fundamental discipline was gained, the members of the Russian chapter of INCOSE, with whom lengthy discussions of the course content were held, employees, students, and volunteers of the System Management School, where the course has been refined over the past few years. Dozens of comments were provided by readers of the author's blog (, blog translations are available on Telegram, Morlockbook, Vkontakte, Freefeed), and the comments of dozens of beta-testers were considered. Special thanks to Roman Varyanko, who promptly proofread the text, not limited to grammar and spelling, but also made substantive comments.