Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Purpose of Laws, Regulations, Policies, and Standards

In organizations of every type, from two individuals, to entire countries, the purpose of laws, regulations, policies, and standards is to reduce the inter- and intra-organziational process friction.  Process friction reduces the effectiveness of the process while reducing the cost efficiency of the process.

Without an archtiecture of policies and standards, it is quite easy to end up with conflicting policies and standards, policies and standards instantiated with convoluted or unenforceable "business" rules and so on, which create more process friction than they reduce.

Systems Engineers use the laws, regualtions, policies, and standards as one category of design constraint requirement in implementing new and transforming old systems.  If these have defects or conflicts the system created or transformed will not operate optimally.  Additionally, it may cause the failure of the effort.

This is one reason that 90 cents of every dollar spent be the US Federal government programs and entitlements goes into overhead.


  1. Hi Bob! Interesting blog--I don't pretend to understand most of it. But in the way of friendly debate, I call "shenanigans" on 90 cents of every government dollar goes into overhead. Please provide a reference for this. And can we really say that other institutions (corporations, universities, non-profits, etc) are any more efficient than the federal government?

  2. I will when I get the time. I have a feeling there are way more examples than you can imagine.

    Also, I will be providing a new post on the Equity as a silly concept. Look for it.

  3. PS--Thanks for the comments. It helps me strengthen the communication of concepts that go 90 degrees to both the right and the left, making them both unhappy.

  4. One further thought. The management of the infrastructure includes all of those things that you would like you classify as security. Having clean water is part of having an organizational infrastructure that supports the growth of wealth of the citizens of the political organization, as does support for education, as does maintaining roads and bridges. But, according to Arrow's paradox, the organization cannot optimize any of these without reducing the resources for the others to zero or near zero.