Posted 1 year ago | Originally written on 17 Jan 2022
A systems can be said to be mature when its quality output is optimised under the given inputs. This means that one would very rarely observe special causes as these have been driven out of the system due to a systematic attempt to address all such causes. In addition, because of the high quality of output, variation in output will be very narrow at the desired set point. While it might be the case that such a system may be further improved, it might be infeasible to do so due to the law of diminishing returns i.e. ever more investments will result in ever less additional improvements to the point at which the costs become prohibitive.
Once a system has attained maturity, the following may be observed, particularly with regards to its human operators:
- The operation of the system is independent of any one operator. Dependence on any one such operator would in effect be a special cause, which - by definition - have been almost entirely eliminated. We say that the system is not coupled on any one operator. Such a system is a joy to work on because it benefits from true teamwork and every operator may benefit from time away without ever needing to 'check up' on the system.
- Related to point (1), the operation of the system does not require exceptionally talented or skilled personal. Again, this implies that the need for exceptional skill has been eliminated as a special cause, since the system is mature. Recruiting new operating personel is remarkably easy. Furthermore, such recruitment may target candidates from the pool of applicants with the highest availability - low skill workers meaning relatively high competition among applicants. By contrast, trying to fill specialist roles targets the pool of highly skilled applicants who benefit from scarcity of such candidates and high wage costs making it relatively complex to fill such positions. Competition between recruiters incurs significant risks for employers further placing their systems at risk.
- Related to point (2), scalability is straightforward as is entails direct increases in resources (whether technical, intellectual or human). For example, consider a mature system capable of handling production of M widgets an hour and suppose that demand for widgets increases to kM (k>1). Since the system is mature, achieving this production goal will only required an additional k-1 resources to fulfil the new demand. However, if the system was not mature then any increase in resources may only serve to amplify the occurrence of special causes, which could undermine whatever gain that is accomplished in one part of the system.