You Can't Keep a Cake and Eat It! Dichotomies in Systems Engineering

G. Chroust (Austria)


System Design, Software Design, Education, trade-off, dichotomy, design decisions


During the conception of a complex system its design ers have the problem to make initial architectural deci sions without having sufficient information. This prob lem is especially annoying for so-called 'wicked systems'. Such decisions usually entail a choice between basic al ternatives (so-called systemic dichotomies) like centralized versus decentralized system architecture, optimistic versus pessimistic behaviour, etc. Based on such decisions the ba sic system architecture is conceived. These decisions are difficult to reverse later. Knowing a-priori the key options and their consequences improves the decision process and the design process for the anticipated system. In this paper we describe essential dichotomies, give specific examples and their characteristics. Finally we clas sify them according to the underlying strategic pattern.

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