10 Practical Ways to Manage Complexity

Managing complexity is one of the central themes in my systems engineering course.  In one of my lectures, I offer ten practical suggestions for managing complexity.  The list isn’t exhaustive, but these ten ideas usually provoke some interesting discussions.

  1. Improve Communications
  2. Verify and Document Assumptions
  3. Instill a Culture of Thoroughness
  4. Simplify Where You Can
  5. Establish Quality Assurance Processes
  6. Manage Risks with Accountability
  7. Understand the Value and Risk of Decomposition
  8. Understand the Value and Risk of Abstraction
  9. Exploit the Use of Hierarchy
  10. Maintain a Systems Perspective