Quality Improvement Zone

Understand system

Understand current system

The outcomes teams achieve are a result of how their system functions. System understanding is therefore essential to the improvement journey.

The Improvement Journey
The Improvement Journey with Understanding the system circled

If teams want different outcomes they need to understand how their system is currently working. They can use this knowledge to help them identify the right improvements to make changes where they are needed.

Topics in Understanding the System

What is a system?

  • System definition
  • System types: simple, complicated, complex

Why it is important to understand your system

  • System understanding overview
  • Tools to help you understand your system

Human Factors and ergonomics

  • What is Human Factors and ergonomics?
  • When and how to use it


Download these topics below: 

References, Frameworks and Tools

References and Tools to help you understand your system.

QI Zone Understanding Your System eLearning Module

Process MappingUsed to outline the sequential steps in a process.

Cause and Effect AnalysisUsed to explore and record likely causes of problems

Forcefield analysishelps teams identify, discuss and assess the forces for and against a proposed change.

User experience (including surveys) – method to gather information from the perspective of a person who interacts with and/or receives something from a service

Pareto charts helps teams identify and focus on areas of improvement with the biggest impact.



The Improvement Guide, 2009, Langley et al