Systems Thinking SIG

"Systems Thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a
framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things,
for seeing patterns rather than static ‘snapshots’.
Systems Thinking is a discipline for seeing the ‘structures’
that underlie complex situations."

Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation

About us

The SIG has emerged from a Joint Working Group (JWG), established in 2013 between APM and the UK Chapter of the International Council for Systems Engineering (INCOSE UK).

The JWG set out to foster and encourage better integration between project management and systems engineering, drawing on industrial and academic expertise from across the two professional bodies.

The Systems Thinking SIG will continue the strong relationship with INCOSE UK, supporting (and supported by) members of both communities.


The Systems Thinking SIG is a natural development of the JWG whose aim is now:

“To promote systems thinking as a methodology to improve delivery of complex change initiatives“.

  • develop the Project Management BoK for Systems Thinking with particular
    emphasis on good practice and guidance to enable P3M and Systems Engineering
    to work efficiently and effectively in the delivery of complex projects;
  • introduce systems thinking as a recognised competency for project managers;
  • promote systems thinking as a methodology in a broad range of change initiatives and help organisations deliver more effective outcomes with fewer resources;
  • provide an active forum for the community of project management and systems thinking professionals to debate and share experiences, ideas, tools and techniques.

The SIG has a strong agenda in continuing the development of both guidance material and deeper research in line with its aim, and in reaching out across the other SIGs and the wider APM membership to help foster the links and relationships that lie at the heart of systems thinking.


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More about Systems Thinking: 

Systems thinking is an approach to problem solving which takes into account the overall system as well as its individual parts with the express aim of:

  • capturing the right requirements, ensuring a system addresses the right problem and the right need, considering all stakeholder requirements;
  • understanding the hierarchy and boundary of a system;
  • building in system resilience, robustness and flexibility;
  • understanding emergent behaviours and properties of a system both positive and negative;
  • avoiding development of unintended consequences;
  • defining, understanding and managing the interdependencies of the whole system and across its boundaries;
  • help understanding of complicated, complex and chaotic problems.


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Blogs by this SIG

  • Tagged:
  • Systems Thinking SIG
  • Managing accelerating change
  • Date:29 June 2018
  • A key challenge facing business leaders in the current economic environment is the ever-increasing rate of change. This is driven by globalisation, rationalisation and the disruptive use of technology.
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  • BoK 7: What do we mean by social systems?
  • Date:22 March 2018
  • It’s always been well understood that successful project delivery depends on clear roles and responsibilities, teamwork and communication between the people involved...
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