The previous white paper in this series consider the analyses associated with the first couple of steps in the Soft Systems Methodology:

•Analysis One: shaping the SSM intervention and mobilizing the stakeholders
•Analysis Two: understanding and defining the ‘social texture’ including roles, norms and values
•Analysis Three: exploring the politics and understanding the disposition, expression and management of power

This white paper builds on these analyses to focus on the crafting of Root Definitions of the problematical situation and the development of conceptual models of the systems concerned. It examines the building of Purposeful Activity Models, taking the Enterprise Architect into more familiar modeling territory, but with a few interesting extensions in preparation for the designing and implementation of feasible and valuable change in the enterprise environment. It also considers in more detail the ways in which standard EA frameworks could be adapted and extended to incorporate key SSM features.

There’s no substitute for reading the papers themselves, but for readers short of time, the next section is an extract taken from Papers 1 and 5. It provides a very short outline of the Soft Systems Method - what it is, where it came from, and why it is significant. Readers wishing to deepen their background in the topic before embarking on this Paper can read the previous papers.