Thursday, December 27, 2007

Top postings of 2007

In the last 12 months (to be precise, from last December 28, the day after the Top postings of 2006 entry through December 26, 2007), you have chosen ten top postings on Making Sense With Facilitated Systems as ranked by unique pageviews in Google Analytics.

As I noted last year, there are potential statistical problems with this list. Those who read my blog every day using the main URL don't get counted; both last year's and this year's tallies were made from those who landed on specific URLs as reported by Google Analytics (but excluding visits I may have made). That may be okay; those who linked to specific pages may have cared more about them. Recent entries have a more difficult hurdle, as they haven't been around as long to be viewed. The dates don't quite line up with the calendar year, although I suspect that makes little difference in the results. If you know of a better way, let me know.





  1. For some time now, I've been using an open source simulator for my system dynamics work because it seems to help me think more effectively. That doesn't mean I've given up on commercial tools; I still use iThink for creating interactive environments, and I will be teaching IMT 586 at the University of Washington using Vensim PLE (and I may be using it in professional applications, as well). Last April, I combined my interest in the arts with my interest in this new approach to system dynamics in a public article about marketing program for symphony orchestras. You selected TAFTO 2007, the pointer to that article, as number ten on the list.


  2. I've written several articles about data and numbers. Making more sense with numbers part 3 offered an easy process to plot data you receive in email or reports.


  3. The words we use can be vitally important in helping us think productively about key business, organizational, and social challenges. In A systems language for business, number eight on the list, I described one team's evolution towards a better language for discussing business issues, thanks to a course they took from me in system dynamics modeling and simulation.


  4. Good data helps us ground our thinking in reality. Still more on data, a pointer to several online sources of data, captured the number seven spot.


  5. Growth can create problems (witness any of the bubbles that have occurred over history), but where are good examples of successful companies that intentionally don't grow? Number four on the list is Small Giants: the American Mittelstand?, pointing to a book that answers that question.


  6. Sometimes old technology still has utility; sometimes it still attracts interest. At number five, Technology comes full circle, a description of my continuing use of a slide rule in my work, certainly fits that description. For those who are interested, it points to a source for new slide rules.


  7. When I first started work as an engineer, PERT charts were done using mainframe computers or hand-drawn charts. Today, project management has become a profession with a certification process, and automated tools with graphical user interfaces have long since replaced tables of numbers and dates. Your sixth-most-popular entry was Critical chains: a decade later, my revisiting of Eliyahu Goldratt's critical chain theory that linked to Tom von Alten's revisiting of his views on the approach.


  8. Productivity is obviously important to you. Your third most popular posting of the year was a surprise to me: If you can say it, it's done, an entry about the array programming language J.


  9. Barry Richmond has a deserved place as an educator and thinker on system dynamics and systems thinking. I posted a link to an article he wrote about systems thinking and followed up with "Scientific thinking" the modern way, a differing view on the application of modern scientific thinking in system dynamics. That was your second favorite posting from 2007.


  10. The 2007 posting you viewed the most was the series Making musical sense by email, showcasing a conversation between music critic, composer, author, professor, and consultant Greg Sandow and me that used a system dynamics model to explore the aging of audiences for symphony orchestra concerts in the USA. Now I'm curious: was its popularity because of the topic (music), the approach (a somewhat novel approach to using system dynamics), or the fact it was a real conversation between two people? Let me know.


All of those postings were made in 2007. It wouldn't be fair to finish this list without noting that some postings from prior years did rank higher than some of these. Here's the all-time top ten list of postings from Making Sense With Facilitated Systems as measured by your viewings in the last twelve months:



  1. TAFTO 2007 (2007)


  2. Making more sense with numbers part 3 (2007)


  3. A systems language for business (2007)


  4. Still more on data (2007)


  5. Small Giants: the American Mittelstand? (2007)


  6. Technology comes full circle (2007)


  7. System Dynamics for Cheapskates (November 2006)


  8. Critical chains: a decade later (2007)


  9. If you can say it, it's done (2007)


  10. "Scientific thinking" the modern way (2007)


  11. Making musical sense by email (2007)


  12. System dynamics with MCSim (November 2006)


  13. In praise of the lazy employee (April 2005)


  14. System dynamics and program evaluation (June 2005)


  15. Making sense with numbers (November 2006)


That list includes the top ten postings written in 2007 plus the five entries written in prior years that were at least as popular as the top ten 2007 postings.

As 2007 draws to a close, I want to thank you who read Making Sense With Facilitated Systems and to invite you to continue with me in 2008. If you have suggestions or feedback for this blog, contact me.

I would be honored to be of service to you or your organization in 2008. If you're trying to make sense of tough business or organizational challenges, curious how I might be able to help, or just want to talk about some of the issues you face or that I write about, get in touch.

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