Introduction to the notion
The problem of adapting our systems and organizations to a changing environment, the need to adjust them to potential reconfigurations (mergers and acquisitions, partnerships…) gives rise to particular attention being paid to the elements at risk of variation. There are two types of variation:
- temporal: a single element of the system will go through several forms or will display different behavior over time;
- substantial: at the same time, the element will have to adjust itself to conditions such as country, language, brand, organization…
The elements that are likely to be affected by variations are potentially to be found in all the aspects. In order to provide the system with the necessary agility – only what is necessary, no more no less –, these elements should be identified: they are the variation points. The design should then consider the appropriate ways of dealing with these variations.