An ‘Ideal’ specification represents a hypothetical, and perhaps only theoretical, best, Level for Stakeholders, irrespective of considerations, such as Cost, available technology, or culture.

Alternative Names

Concept Number: *328
English Master: Ideal
Synonyms, Variations & Acronyms: none


An Ideal Parameter specifies an Ideal Level, on a defined Scale, under specified Conditions for a Scalar Attribute.

An Ideal Level is never a committed target Level. It is a Benchmark Level. We might want to move towards it, hold it out as motivation, but we do not expect to reach it in practice. It could conceivably be reached in the real world. In which Case we may have to reset our ‘ideal’ notion towards a new Level of ‘ideal. In this sense Ideal differs from ‘perfection’, which by definition cannot be improved.

Ideal is is arguably classifiable as both target and Benchmark, depending on how it is applied in practice. If it is used to compare current Goal and Stretch Levels with the Ideal – then it is used as a Benchmark. If it is seriously pursued in the long term, and possibly reached, even for limited cases, then it is a target Class of Requirement.




Parameter [Scalar], Benchmark, sometimes Target Level.


Scale: Average distance in Meters from average available parking place, or public transportation individual step off site, to nearest available office entrance.

Ideal [Walking Impaired in Wheelchair]: Less than 100 Meters <- Employee Survey.
Ideal [Senior Sales Executives & Others often in and out of office]: 50 Meters.
Ideal [Office Staff using Public Transport]: 200 Meters <- City Planning Guidelines.

Past [People using Public Transport]: 1,000 Meters, [Drivers Parking]: 300 Meters.

Goal [New Office]: 100 Meters, [New Office, People using Public Transport]: 200 Meters.

Ideal specifications Document sentiment, but Goal specifications declare the officially adopted target that seems to balance with all other practical, political, and economic considerations.


The reason we have other target Levels, like Goal and Budget, is because they must be established by considering all Constraints (such as time, money and technology). Ideal is idealist, and doesn’t have to worry about such mundane things. It can be established without regard or respect for economics or technology.
“The Role of an Ideal is not so much to be reached, but to focus the allocated time and effort toward achieving it. If indeed an Ideal is achieved, a new ‘improved’ Ideal should take its place to guide thought and Action.” <-KEENEY92, quoting Russell Ackoff (1978) The Art of Problem Solving.


]: >++ “Explanation, more positive than Stretch ‘>+’.”
In Context: -->++-->



Stretch *404
Target *048
Benchmark *007
Perfect *648


Historical Note: ‘Ideal’ was specified by Tom Gilb in 1996 After reading Keeney’s remarks [KEENEY92, page 210 (7.4)].

Note [July 13 2004]: Ideal Levels might be, but are not necessarily, Levels of perfection.

This Concept entered by Adore

Created by system. Last Modification: Thursday 11 of July, 2019 18:35:30 CEST by Admin (Kai).