“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” – John Gall
“A large system produced by expanding the dimensions of a smaller system does not behave like the smaller system.” – John Gall
“A system should be built with a minimum set of unchangeable parts; those parts should be as general as possible; and all parts of the system should be held in a uniform framework.” – Dan Ingalls
“Designers of systems tend to design ways for themselves to bypass the systems.” – John Gall
“Each system level provides the context for the level(s) below.” – ???
“In complex systems, malfunction and even total malfunction may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.” – John Gall
“Efficient systems are dangerous to themselves and others” – John Gall
“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” – Clay Shirky
“Intra-system Goals Come First.” – John Gall
“It’s better to have a partial view of the whole than a complete view of the parts.” – Dave Snowden
“Man should be above systems, and not subordinate to them.” – Steve Jobs
“Most human institutions . . . end by becoming obstacles to the very purpose which their founders had in view.” – William James
“New systems generate new problems.” – John Gall
“Systems Develop Goals Of Their Own The Instant They Come Into Being.” – John Gall
“Systems tend to grow, and as they grow, they encroach.” – John Gall
“The best design depends on what the system is expected to do, both now and in the future.” – Scott Meyers
“The best programs and software systems exhibit a sense of consistency and elegance, as if they are shaped by a single creative mind, even when they are in fact the product of many.” – Fred Brooks
“The bitterness of poor system performance remains long after the sweetness of low prices and prompt delivery are forgotten.” – Jerry Lim
“The entire system also must have conceptual integrity, and that requires a system architect to design it all, from the top down.” – Fred Brooks
“The entropy of a system can decrease when that system is coupled with another system (e.g. a heating system connected with a thermostat). The law of ever increasing entropy is only valid in an isolated system.” – Arieh Ben-Naim
“The larger the system, the less variety in the output.” – John Gall
“The team that built the present system is the best one to evolve it – but seldom the right one to create its replacement.”

  1. December 24, 2022 at 8:01 am

    No wonder so many quotes from John Gall. The Systems Bible by John Gall one of my favorite books.

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