Order or Chaos?Jun 24, 2006
It is astonishing if you look at the orderliness in physics and in the applicability of the laws of physics. Order and discipline are also considered as a desirable quality in human life.
It is interesting to note the relation of order and predictability. Predictability helps better ordering and orderliness makes the results more predictable. This is the key for many of the modern process improvement techniques such as Lean.
Lean processes first aims for an order in the system. This first step is one of the most difficult steps as the change needs to be from within. If the change is not from one’s self, it becomes an imposition – a trigger for disorder. The immediate and surprising savings come from ordering the systems. From my experience, it is always a challenge to bring order and uniformity in a team unless it is demonstrated and the team is motivated. Much more efforts will be spent on follow up and maintenance of order until a steady state is reached.
It costs to bring order into a system. It costs time and money to keep our rooms clean and tidy. As a child, I was not much orderly in life. Those days my father used to tell me – “it saves an hour, if only we take a minute to keep things right, at the first place”. Lean implementations prove that the cost of order and discipline is recoverable. However, orderliness by itself may not bring huge savings. The savings will depend on how effective the arrangement is. It is important to study the usability of an ordered system to decide the effectiveness. In a team, it matters how members perceive the system and how they are able to adapt to it. Most of the times, it makes sense to limit the ‘degree of orderliness’ at a medium so that it is acceptable to everyone.
While order and discipline are much desirable, chaos is unavoidable. Deterministic laws of physics are classical. In modern days, quantum mechanics adds a dash of randomness and unpredictability to the rigidity of physics laws. It is then also important to relate to the chaos of the system, and to learn to limit it in allowable limits. In physics too, the randomness affects small particles, not the larger systems.
Order or chaos? It is difficult to say which is fundamental. Human nature is unpredictable and random and chaos seems to be the answer. It requires commitment and dedication to adopt orderliness into our nature and practice it in everyday life. Everyday I need to take many conscious decisions to maintain order in my environment. Still, I am striving & straining, for a better order in my life. It is an unending journey, a journey to perfection!