This is usually used to look at individual elements within a system - chickens, the shed, a vegetable patch. The inputs are listed, then the outputs and the intrinsic characteristics. How can the needs (inputs) be met by the syste? How can the outputs be utilised? How can you make use of its behaviour productively? It can also be used to establish what a system needs overall and what it produces. It can also help to measure the viability of a plan.
- What are the costs involved in implementing the design? £/$, time, available resources etc
- Ditto for maintenance.
- What yield will the system produce?
- Where is there a shortfall in resources as things are at present?
“The purpose of a functional and self-regulating design is to place elements or components in such a way that each serves the needs and accepts the products of other elements.” (Designers Manual p37) Therefore a useful technique is to analyse elements that will be included in the design. This can help to point out where relationships can be made between elements, to reduce work (by making sure an element's needs are met by other parts of the system) and pollution (by making sure the outputs will be used by another part of the system).