There are many kinds of factors that contribute and lead-to the result. The Idealistic and Realistic ways offer two different principles of identifying source factors.


In the idealistic way of identifying factors, the factors has been categorised according to an ideal or theory as they might or should be rather than as they are.

An example of a group of idealistic sources factors are: People, Process, Technology, Data.

The downside of using idealistic source factors is that they may not explain the most important factors that contribute to the result. Idealistic capabilities can therefore lead to biased decision making.


In the realistic way of identifying factors, the factors are identified by their realistic and actual contribution.

There can be quite many factors that actually contribute, including factors that does not fit easily into neatly structured organisational schemas or practices. By organising factors according to their relative contribution, from large to small, it is possible to find the most important factors -the salient source factors.

The realistic way to work with source factors fits with existing and well practiced analysis techniques, such as influence diagrams, assurance case, evidence based argumentation and multi-factor analysis.

Examples of source factors include:

  • Operands and other sources:
    • things, processes, material and immaterial, knowledge, information, experiences
    • assets, facilities, equipments, resources, competency, skills, attitude, aptitude, means, ways, power, servicing, physical makeup, operational concept, routine, prescribed or described work process, ability, faculty, proficiency, aptitude, authority, …
  • Operants: people, machine, IT, energy, robot, actors, …
  • Interweave: learning, feedback loops, servicing, culture, bridges, communication

A crucial factor that is often overlooked is the ways other factors are - integrated, coordinated, aligned, combined, etc.

A team that has worked together earlier is likely to have a higher degree of capability, than a newly composed team.

Interweaving is based on the realistic way and integrates well with existing practices. No need to reinvent the wheel.