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Systems Concepts for
Agile Practitioners
Agile San Diego
5/1/14
Roger Brown, CSC, CST
The significant problems we face
today cannot be solved at the
same level of thinking at which
they were created.
- Albert...
Why?
Chaotic
Complex
Complicated
Simple
Human History
Technological advance and growing
population in a finite space have
...
Systems are greater than the sum of their parts.
System properties and behaviors emerge from the
combination of its consti...
Helpful Theoretical Models
Queuing Theory – Erlang 1910
Lean Thinking – Deming 1940
System Dynamics – Forrester 1950
Autom...
System Dynamics
A system is an entity which maintains its
existence through the mutual interaction of its
parts.
- Gene Be...
Counter-intuitive Behavior
System behaviors come from structures,
not from coefficients
Feedback Mechanisms
Reinforcing feedback Balancing feedback
+
Credit Card
Balance
Credit Card
Interest
+
+
Body
Temp
Sweat...
Feedback Delay
Time
DesiredState
Long delay causes
wider swings
Short delay
converges sooner
Agile/Lean achieve smoother f...
Cost of Change and Feedback Delay
Lean Thinking
95% of variation in the performance of a system
(organization) is caused by the system itself and
only 5% is...
Push & Pull Systems
Push systems overwhelm capacity, creating
turbulence, rework, waste and delay
Pull systems have a stea...
Push Pull
Make a plan Have a queue of work and a goal
Track % completion of plan Measure throughput and work done
Buffer p...
Little’s Law
Cycle Time = Number of Items in Process/System Capacity
?
Single Piece Flow
Do This
Don’t Do This
Unintended Consequences
Local Optimization
A focus on one property can have unintended
impact on the system as a whole
Goodhart’s Law
The moment a measure
becomes a target,
it ceases to be useful as
a measure.
Story Points/Sprint
Complexity Theory
Complicated
Complex
Click pictures to view examples.
• Many different
parts.
• Can take it apart
and rea...
Cynefin Framework
Sense
Input
What our senses tell us
Probe
How we use our senses to
get new information
Mental Models
What sense we make of...
Sense-Making
Tools
- anecdote.com
- getreframer.com
- sensemaker-suite.com
We make decisions based on our
patterns and men...
Learning Organizations
1.Systems Thinking
2.Personal Mastery
3.Mental Models
4.Building Shared Vision
5.Team Learning
Working as a
Team
Organizations where people continually expand
their capacity to create the results they truly
desire, wh...
Urgent Not Urgent
Important
I
• Crises
• Pressing
Problems
• Deadline Driven
Projects,
Meetings, etc.
II
• Preparations
• ...
Learning Levels
Single Loop: tweak the parameters
Double Loop: experiment with the process
Triple Loop: learn how to learn
 Retrospectives
 Communities of Practice
 Book Club
 Brown Bag Seminars
 Shadowing
 Story Telling
 Knowledge Manage...
References
Books:
• Thinking in Systems : A Primer – Meadows
• The Fifth Discipline and its Fieldbook – Senge
• Business D...
Presenter
Roger Brown
• Agile Coach
• Scrum Alliance
• M.S. System Dynamics, Dartmouth College 1977
• Contact
 Email: rog...
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Systems Concepts for Agile Practitioners

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Agile software development practices are based on a set of values and principles described in the Agile Manifesto. As change agents for Agile transformation, we rely on these to help get the message across. There is another layer below principles, a set of scientific models that can help explain why the principleswork and strengthen the Agile message for some audiences. These are described in this presentation.

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Transcript of "Systems Concepts for Agile Practitioners"

  1. 1. Systems Concepts for Agile Practitioners Agile San Diego 5/1/14 Roger Brown, CSC, CST
  2. 2. The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking at which they were created. - Albert Einstein
  3. 3. Why? Chaotic Complex Complicated Simple Human History Technological advance and growing population in a finite space have increased the complexity of human interactive structures.
  4. 4. Systems are greater than the sum of their parts. System properties and behaviors emerge from the combination of its constituent parts Reductionism is not sufficient. Our systems are dynamic and driven by nonlinear effects that are not easily understood.
  5. 5. Helpful Theoretical Models Queuing Theory – Erlang 1910 Lean Thinking – Deming 1940 System Dynamics – Forrester 1950 Automata Theory – 1940 Ulam and von Neumann Network Theory - 1970 Complexity Theory - 1970 Learning Organization – 1990 Senge A model is a simplification of reality intended to promote understanding.
  6. 6. System Dynamics A system is an entity which maintains its existence through the mutual interaction of its parts. - Gene Bellinger Orderly processes in creating human judgment and intuition lead people to wrong decisions when faced with complex and highly interacting systems. - Jay Forrester
  7. 7. Counter-intuitive Behavior System behaviors come from structures, not from coefficients
  8. 8. Feedback Mechanisms Reinforcing feedback Balancing feedback + Credit Card Balance Credit Card Interest + + Body Temp Sweat - 3 examples from www.beyondconnectingthedots.com
  9. 9. Feedback Delay Time DesiredState Long delay causes wider swings Short delay converges sooner Agile/Lean achieve smoother flow and reduced risk by shortening the delay time for feedback
  10. 10. Cost of Change and Feedback Delay
  11. 11. Lean Thinking 95% of variation in the performance of a system (organization) is caused by the system itself and only 5% is caused by the people. - W. Edwards Demming Misconception easily turns into common sense. - Taiichi Ohno
  12. 12. Push & Pull Systems Push systems overwhelm capacity, creating turbulence, rework, waste and delay Pull systems have a steady flow that provides predictability ♫ Push
  13. 13. Push Pull Make a plan Have a queue of work and a goal Track % completion of plan Measure throughput and work done Buffer plan for contingencies Small, frequent tasks to manage variety Plan decides what to do next People decide what to do next Long feedback delay Continuous short feedback loops Demand exceeds capacity Demand limited to capacity Fixed scope and time Fixed WIP Forecast based on estimates Forecast based on data
  14. 14. Little’s Law Cycle Time = Number of Items in Process/System Capacity
  15. 15. ? Single Piece Flow Do This Don’t Do This
  16. 16. Unintended Consequences
  17. 17. Local Optimization A focus on one property can have unintended impact on the system as a whole
  18. 18. Goodhart’s Law The moment a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be useful as a measure. Story Points/Sprint
  19. 19. Complexity Theory Complicated Complex Click pictures to view examples. • Many different parts. • Can take it apart and reassemble it. • If one part fails, it all fails. • Many similar parts acting independently within social rules. • Aggregate behavior cannot be predicted from individual part behaviors. • Still “works” if a part is removed.
  20. 20. Cynefin Framework
  21. 21. Sense Input What our senses tell us Probe How we use our senses to get new information Mental Models What sense we make of new information Actions, Experiments What makes sense to do next
  22. 22. Sense-Making Tools - anecdote.com - getreframer.com - sensemaker-suite.com We make decisions based on our patterns and mental models, not on information or theory.
  23. 23. Learning Organizations 1.Systems Thinking 2.Personal Mastery 3.Mental Models 4.Building Shared Vision 5.Team Learning
  24. 24. Working as a Team Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning how to learn together. - Peter Senge The Fifth Discipline, 1990
  25. 25. Urgent Not Urgent Important I • Crises • Pressing Problems • Deadline Driven Projects, Meetings, etc. II • Preparations • Learning • Kaizen Events • Relationship Building • True Recreation NotImportant III • Interruptions • Some phone calls • Some email • Someone else’s emergency IV • Trivia • Busy work • Time wasters • “Escape” activities When do we get time to improve? If we don’t spend any time sharpening the saw, we will have to work harder and harder to get the same results. - Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 2004 By intentionally creating downtime, or ‘slack’, management will find a much-needed opportunity to build a ‘capacity to change’ into an otherwise strained enterprise that will help companies respond more successfully to constantly evolving conditions. - Tom DeMarco, Slack, 2002
  26. 26. Learning Levels Single Loop: tweak the parameters Double Loop: experiment with the process Triple Loop: learn how to learn
  27. 27.  Retrospectives  Communities of Practice  Book Club  Brown Bag Seminars  Shadowing  Story Telling  Knowledge Management  Brainstorming  Skills Exchange Team Learning Tools
  28. 28. References Books: • Thinking in Systems : A Primer – Meadows • The Fifth Discipline and its Fieldbook – Senge • Business Dynamics - Sterman • The Principles of Product Development Flow: Reinertsen • The Systems Bible – Gall • 10 Steps to a Learning Organization – Kline and Saunders • Learning in Action – Garvin • Systems Thinking Playbook – Sweeny and Meadows Websites - www.beyondconnectingthedots.com/ - Bellinger - www.cognitive-edge.com – Snowden - www.systemdynamics.org
  29. 29. Presenter Roger Brown • Agile Coach • Scrum Alliance • M.S. System Dynamics, Dartmouth College 1977 • Contact  Email: roger@agilecrossing.com  Twitter: rwbrown  Blog: www.agileCoachJournal.com  LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rogerwbrown
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