Goal Analysis: An Example

The importance of formulating the goals in as concrete a form as possible has already been emphasised. Analysis of the system’s goals can best be done under the follow­ing three headings:

1. System Task

2. Criteria

3. Limitations

The task of a system may be to convert raw oil into various petrochemical products. It may also be to convert potential energy in the form of a stored mass of water into kinetic energy, and then to electrical power. A number of criteria apply to this task, for example, those of an economic nature. From the ergonomic viewpoint, the important criteria are to create a safe environment for the people in the production process and for those in the community. It is also important to create interesting and meaningful jobs as well as comfort and well-being for those involved.

Limitations are factors that are constrained by the environment and society as a whole. Examples of limitations are laws and regulations. The context in which the system is to function also gives rise to a number of limitations and conditions. Before a system is developed, therefore, it is important to determine how the system can function together with other systems (which can also affect the system in question).

A system for converting water storage energy into electrical power is, of course, dependent on which other types of power production it will be working in conjunction with. It is also dependent on how the electrical power is to be distributed. One prede­termined background factor is also the design of the water system. By taking these various parameters into account, a number of factors that are important to the system itself may be enumerated, together with all the limitations on the system.