What is decomposition and why is it needed?

Simply put, decomposition is the division of the whole into parts.
It is used in various areas of activity: in mathematics, at work, when preparing daily tasks, solving problems, etc. It is built on the basis of time management, improved interfaces. Decomposition means breaking it down into parts, creating a chain of actions that will lead to a goal. Such a chain can look like a flowchart or an intelligence map, for example.

There are two main types of decomposition:

Horizontal: the decomposition is divided by types of work, levels and components. The minus of this approach is that each step performed does not lead to a specific result.

Vertical: Each task is worked through separately and the result is the result. This type of decomposition is much more convenient than horizontal decomposition, because the result of each completed step can be analyzed and changed if something goes wrong.

Whichever type of decomposition is chosen, it will fulfill its main purpose – to facilitate understanding of how to achieve the desired result.

Likewise, in business, when the performer has a task before him, decomposition will be the best aid in accomplishing it.Decomposition

There are important reasons for this:

Task decomposition: The ultimate task may not seem achievable. There is such a thing as the “Elephant Method” in time management – it is exactly decomposition. The gist is simple: you can’t eat all the elephants at once, but slicing them into steaks is more than realistic.

Understanding the timeline: imagine that a company intends to open a branch in another city in a month and the budget is set at $20,000. The step execution hierarchy revealed that this time would not be enough because they did not take into account the time required to select a team.

Implementing the plan: a goal without a step-by-step plan to achieve it becomes a ghostly dream. Decomposing the process of bringing it to life makes the end point more realistic.

Identifying Sources: Let’s return to our new office discussed in the second paragraph. Breaking down the goal into sub-tasks will help you figure out what October needs to bring in additional company employees, such as opening a branch office, and the staffing agency that will select the team.

Save time: If you know exactly what you need to do and when, achieving your goal will take much less time than understanding your steps in the abstract.

Minimize risk: The more precisely and clearly written down each step, the less likely you are to lose resources.

Prioritization: a strict hierarchy of delivery of lower subtasks to higher levels determines what needs to be done first

How to decompose?

To decompose goals you can use the methodology of Brian Tracy, which has found wide application in different areas of business. It involves

12 steps to help arrive at the desired outcome:

  1. Understanding desire and achievement.
  2. Reality and the ability to measure the goal.
  3. Capturing the desired result in writing.
  4. What profits you’ll get when you achieve the goal.
  5. Resources and defaults.
  6. To what point you need to reach the goal.
  7. A description of possible difficulties on the way to the goal.
  8. Finding the latest information.
  9. Assembling a team.
  10. Writing a plan of action.
  11. Visualization.
  12. Implementation


Decomposition is a great way to achieve goals and plans both in your personal life and in your work.

Visualizing the solution, planning action steps, parsing small tasks, how to achieve the goal, and a positive mental attitude will help save resources and avoid mistakes along the way.

The main advantage of structural decomposition is that it helps to look differently at things that can be daunting in their scope. Often goals such as “become a millionaire in 3 years” or “lose 30 pounds in a month” do not seem feasible. As soon as you decompose the global goal, draw a “map,” everything immediately falls into place.