Highly Complex Systems

Wayne M. Angel, Ph.D.





Table of Contents

Beginning Matters
Part 1: Optimal Management

Part 2: The Theory of Society

Part 3: Simulations

Part 4: SignPost Technologies

End Matters


Each presentation is engaging and has a controversial element, i.e. it is interesting.  They point out where common wisdom and common practice are not optimal.   The conclusions in each presentation are backed up with extensive organization simulations and real life examples.

  • The 5 Critical Factors for Optimal Organizational Achievement
    Certifications, large company contractors, and industry standard methodologies are of little value.  The critical factors that do matter are straight forward and clearly understandable.  They do however require a professional commitment to excellence that will not likely be found where it is claimed in a marketing advertisement.

  • 6 Common Causes of Project and Organizational Failure
    Failures occur in easy to understand patterns.  Avoiding the patterns requires significant effort, but is certainly within the reach of most groups.

  • What it Takes to Create an Optimal Achieving Organization
    Creating is a lot easier than changing and organization.  In some cases the cost to change may be too great.

  • Personal Optimal Change Agent Achievement
    Without the leadership of specific individuals change occurs only through a slow drift from some starting point.  Most managers are not effective change agents.  An optimal change agent not only has the skills to direct change but to chart a path that is better than the current situation.  Learning how to find that path is a very difficult challenge.

  • Forecasting in Complex Human Systems
    The historical record of forecasting correctly in complex human systems is dismal.  There is a clear path to doing better.  However, few are likely to follow this path.  It is difficult.  For those who can and do the rewards can be great, but not what you might think.  One must keep in mind that in the country of the blind the one eyed man is not honored but rather thought insane.

  • The Methodology Emperor Has No Clothes
    We have had 20 years of the marketing of methodology in Organizational Development and in Project Management.  It is time we assess the value.  Indeed there is clear value to large contracting companies and little to no value for their clients.  A somewhat controversial position.

  • The Happy Workplace: A Wild Goose?
    There is much in the literature that essentially claims that happy employees are productive employees.  This flat out not true.  A happy workplace is the result of high achievement not the cause.

  • Performance Measures: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    In general holding individuals accountable for achieving some specific measurable goal is believed to be a good thing.  Implementing poorly thought out performance measures and turn a bad situation into an ugly situation.  Even the very best performance measures will have a negative side.  It is essential to develop a means to accurately evaluate the consequences of a performance measurement plan.

Presentations can combine the above and will be adjusted to the specific audience.


  • Organization Health Check Up

    • Evaluate prevalence of the 5 critical factors.

    • Ascertain prevalence of failure factors.

    • Determine quality of performance measurement programs.

    • Determine opportunities to improve achievement potential.

    • Identify near term new risks to the organization.

    • Evaluate processes from the point of view of value to the goals of the organization and deliberately not from the point of view of adherence to a specific methodology.

  • Situation Forecast

    • Develop situation simulation.

    • Test simulation against historical data.

    • Identify to which parameters the outcome of interest is most sensitive.

    • Identify probability of outcomes based on proposed changes in those parameters to which the outcome is most sensitive.

    • Track the situation as it develops and update the simulation and forecast as appropriate.

  • Project Forecast

    • Determine the probability that the project will complete on time and within budget.

    • Identify what can be changed to improve project outcome.

  • Design and Implement a Performance Monitoring Program

    • Create an organization model and simulation.

    • Use the organization simulation to identify consequences of existing performance measures.

    • Identify a number of potential performance measures.

    • Use the organization model to test potential performance measures for their effect on the organization

  • Implement a Management Plan Optimization Aid

    • Create a simulation of the operational area of interest.

    • Develop evolutionary optimization algorithms to search for improved management plans.

    • Forecast the consequences of changes to management plans.

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(C) 2005-2014 Wayne M. Angel.  All rights reserved.