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System crisis management in three steps:


In step one of our example of the three steps to system crisis management, we are mapping out the situation of our coal supply being cut off using this diagram from 1855. Rather than hand draw the diagram like G. H. Henshaw did, we will automate the creation of the drawing using Graphviz. The names are abbreviated in the diagrams; for instance, Master of Engineering and Repairs for Buffalo and Dunkirk is abbreviated as BufDunMasterEngrRep. To follow along with the example, download a copy.

The proposal is to convert the engines to charcoal utilizing our own crew, and need to understand how they are currently utilized. We don't need to diagram everything, though, just what is relevant to our proposal. Notice there are 6 boiler makers dedicated to the Dunkirk line:

There is a standard file format called dot that Graphviz and other tools can use to visualize diagrams written in dot. The language is quite flexible, but for the purposes of this site we will keep it simple. To capture the red stars above, we could write this in the dot language:

digraph {

This Graphviz dot command:

dot -Tsvg smalldiagram.gv > smalldiagram.svg

generates this diagram automatically:

We need to extend the fireboxes of all of our engines, and can use blacksmiths, machinists, boiler makers, and coppersmiths to make the modifications. We have a shop in Susquehanna and Dunkirk that have the necessary space and equipment. We currently ship timber for Erie Timber Sales, and know that they can provide 9,000 tons of timber between their lots in Dunkirk and Buffalo. We will map out the related items using the dot language:

digraph {

Notice that we added the line overlap="false". This keeps the nodes from touching. We will use the Graphviz twopi command to route and create the diagram:

twopi -Tsvg bigdiagram.gv > bigdiagram.svg

Here is our new, complete, generated graph:

Contrast this to what you might normally see in an email description of a problem or a typical tactical huddle of stakeholders and managers. We have taken some shortcuts using tools that are normally applied in a more sophisticated way, but with our shortcuts, we demonstrate how to apply the methods in a situation without prior design at the time of crisis. It is possible to define these kinds of diagrams with common meaning and inference. Cruft Buster demonstrates a limited version, but the possibilities are endless.