Complexity Thinking
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An overview of Systems Thinking, and how to apply the ideas of Complexity Theory to management of systems, with the results being called "Complexity Thinking". ...

An overview of Systems Thinking, and how to apply the ideas of Complexity Theory to management of systems, with the results being called "Complexity Thinking".

This presentation is part of the Management 3.0 course created by Jurgen Appelo.

http://www.management30.com/course-introduction/

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  • Very clever, simple, too long, and somehow intriguing... at some point you claim metaphors are dangerous as it make us draw conclusions too fast, and towards the end, uses metaphors to give the conclusion! (of course, as I love metaphors, would love a greater discussion on its value)
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  • Simply Fantastic
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  • Hi Jurgen,
    I tried to find a definition for SYSTEM in this presentation, but there were none.
    Instead, I have created the archectype System for my research work. It enables using numerous tools and technologies in order to plan and understand system-specific implementations.
    B.R. Erkki
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  • theory put in perspective. Refreshing!
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  • Rommel Ancheta, Intellicare VP

    Mind boggling and though provoking.
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  • When we talk about things we always use abstractions. Incomplete representations of the world around us.
  • And we always have multiple options for choosing abstractions.
  • Engineers and scientists are particularly good at abstractions, which is why all system theories are created by “left-brainers”.Note: it is known that “left-brain” versus “right-brain” is bad science. But it is a useful metaphor.
  • But too much abstraction leads to problems. Such as executives only focusing on cold numbers in spreadsheets, instead of real human beings.
  • Or consultants trying to design organizations, without realizing that they cannot be objective observers.
  • Or the alienation of architects who create fantastic models that don’t make sense to people in real situations.
  • Or the idea that project management can predict and control the future.
  • Or the idea that there is always someone to blame whenever there is a problem.
  • Some people think we should strive for a holistic approach to organizations. We can call them the “right-brainers”.
  • In fact, it is impossible to be really holistic.
  • It is always necessary to place boundaries.And where to place them depends on the problem.
  • See book: page 41-45
  • This is the same as the Law of Requisite Variety. But this quote is easier to explain.Only the human mind is at least as complex as the complexity of the environment that software projects find themselves in.
  • I explain that the 360 degree evaluation is, in principle, a good idea. Because the point is to let the system (the team) generate its own feedback about its parts (team members).However, in some companies it is implemented badly. There are even HR tools that fully automate the 360-degree process, enabling people to fill out forms via email, anonymously, about each other. This is very bad for trust and respect in the organization.I explain that the last time I organized a 360 degree evaluation I did it during dinner with the whole team. It was a great and very useful experience.See book: page 242-245
  • I explain that complexity researcher Dave Snowden says in his keynotes that stories/narratives work better than values or vision statements. And I show with this picture that we used a lego model of metaphors, combined with photos and video, to craft the vision for the ALE network.
  • The “long tail” and the “strength of weak ties” are both metaphors that suggest that the sum of all small things in a social network can together be more powerful than the few strong things in the network.Likewise, several weak models can be more powerful than one strong model.In social systems we only have weak models (no strong mathematical models).Therefore, we need multiple models to make sense of the world around us.
  • What worked for you in the past may not work for you in the future.What works for somebody else may not work for you.
  • The practices you try will influence the system, but the system will also influence the practices you try.
  • Exploration is often forgotten on Agile teams.They only do (lots of) adaptation and (a bit of) anticipation.
  • Working models must be developed through their actual use by people, otherwise they won’t make sense to them.
  • In Scrum the whole team is required to participate in stand-ups and planning/demo meetings. Therefore Scrum wants us to use the complexity of the minds of the whole team to deal with the complexity of the environment.Scrum is just one model. For example, it specifically requires the use of timeboxes and is incompatible with iterationless models (such as Kanban). In fact, the term “ScrumBut” clearly suggests that there is a “proper” way of doing Scrum.Scrum does recognize that it is a framework and that other practices have to be filled in to make it work, but acknowledges that these practices depend on context.Scrum specifically suggests to iterate often because the demo of the product will influence the customer, and this will influence the backlog, and therefore the product.There is only focus on adaptation and anticipation in Scrum. There is no clear suggestion to explore.Scrum requires that the team changes its process model through regular retrospectives.

Complexity Thinking Presentation Transcript

  • 1. © Jurgen Appelo  version 2  management30.com Complexity Thinking or Systems Thinking ++ ? “The search for simple –if not simpleminded– solutions to complex problems is a consequence of the inability to deal effectively with complexity.” – Russell L. Ackoff
  • 2. Jurgen Appelo writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur... www.jurgenappelo.com
  • 3. Get my new book for FREE! m30.me/ss
  • 4. story
  • 5. What happens when you go to a bar full of systems thinkers and complexity researchers
  • 6. Russell L. Ackoff Ralph Stacey Dave Snowden Donella H. Meadows W. Edwards Deming Peter M. Senge Peter F. Drucker Peter Checkland Gerald M. Weinberg John H. Holland Michael C. Jackson John Seddon Max Boisot
  • 7. “What exactly is the bar?”
  • 8. “Are the people here part of the bar?”
  • 9. “Is the beer part of the bar?”
  • 10. “If we drink the beer, is it still part of the bar?”
  • 11. “What if my beer and I go outside?”
  • 12. “Is the bar a system?”
  • 13. “What is the purpose of the bar?”
  • 14. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 15. We converse about abstractions Abstractions are imperfect and incomplete.
  • 16. It is a form of interaction The activity of abstracting is basically a form of interaction between people in which they simplify the complexity of their own ordinary, everyday interactions […] in an effort to make meaning of what they are doing […]. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 17. To make sense of the world Sense-making is the way that humans choose between multiple possible explanations of sensory input. – Dave Snowden http://kwork.org/Stars/Snowden/snowden3.html#Simplicity
  • 18. reductionism re·duc·tion·ism noun ri-ˈdək-shə-ˌni-zəm – explanation of complex life-science processes and phenomena in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry – a procedure or theory that reduces complex data and phenomena to simple terms http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reductionism
  • 19. The bar is... the building, inventory, employees, guests, some interaction, etc... reductionism
  • 20. A problem is that people have become addicted to the successes of reductionism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism
  • 21. “Left-brain” thinking All system theories were created by engineers and scientists (“left-brainers”).
  • 22. Analysis in management This systems movement […] has come to form the foundation of today’s dominant management discourse, so importing the engineer’s notion of control into understanding human activity. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 23. Problem: Dehumanization Cold numbers in spreadsheets
  • 24. Problem: Objectivation “Designing” human interaction
  • 25. Problem: Alienation Instructions from ivory towers
  • 26. Problem: Prediction “Controlling” the future
  • 27. Problem: Attribution Blaming people for problems
  • 28. • Problem: Dehumanization • Problem: Objectivization • Problem: Alienation • Problem: Prediction • Problem: Attribution This list of five problems is my abstraction, and my attempt at sense-making!
  • 29. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 30. Revenge for “right-brainers” Some people have suggested more holistic approaches.
  • 31. See the whole system Living systems have integrity. Their character depends on the whole. The same is true for organizations. – Peter M. Senge The Fifth Discipline
  • 32. Greater than the sum of the parts The enterprise must be a genuine whole: greater than the sum of its parts, with its output larger than the sum of all inputs. – Peter F. Drucker Management
  • 33. Synthesis, not analysis Analysis is only one way of thinking; synthesis is another. [...] In analysis, something that we want to understand is first taken apart. In synthesis, that which we want to understand is first identified as part of one or more larger systems. – Russell L. Ackoff Recreating the Corporation
  • 34. But what is the whole
  • 35. Problem: Impossible If everything is connected to everything, what is the “whole”?
  • 36. Problem: Unscientific new age fluffy bunnies – Dave Snowden http://km4meu.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/radical-ideals-and-fluffy-bunnies/
  • 37. An unquestioned assumption By formulating a research aim to uncover the fundamental characteristics of systems of various kinds, we were making the unquestioned assumption that the world contained such systems. – Peter Checkland Systems Thinking, Systems Practice
  • 38. Actually, there are no systems Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the questions we want to ask. – Donella H. Meadows Thinking in Systems
  • 39. There are perspectives A system is a way of looking at the world. – Gerald M. Weinberg Introduction to General Systems Thinking
  • 40. Systems depend on context The boundaries of systems keep shifting, using reductionism and holism. How much to abstract or extend depends on what you want to understand.
  • 41. No radical holism/reductionism Complexity theory does not embrace the radical holism of systems theory, the notion that everything matters and everything has to be taken into account. – Steve Phelan The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 42. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 43. Brains, bacteria, immune systems, the Internet, countries, gardens, cities, beehives… They’re all complex adaptive systems.
  • 44. A team is a complex adaptive system (CAS), because it consists of parts (people) that form a system (team), and the system shows complex behavior while it keeps adapting to a changing environment.
  • 45. One perspective The properties of complex adaptive systems are: • Aggregation • Nonlinearity • Flows • Diversity – John H. Holland Hidden Order
  • 46. Another perspective There are six notions in complexity theory: • Sensitivity to initial conditions (butterfly effect) • Strange attractors (unpredictability) • Self-similarity (fractals) • Self-organization (distributed control) • The edge of chaos (emergence) • Fitness landscapes (continuous improvement) – Michael C. Jackson Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers
  • 47. And it evolved like this... – Jeffrey Goldstein Complexity and the Nexus of Leadership
  • 48. Or like this... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Complex_systems_organizational_map.jpg
  • 49. Or like this... http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurgenappelo/4948963883/
  • 50. Of course, these are all just abstractions...
  • 51. Complexity theory itself is complex Papers are being posted on the Web long before publication and there is rapid movement of what could be called precodified or protocodified knowledge. […] I am not saying whether this is good or bad; I am merely suggesting that this is one of the characteristics affecting the evolution of complexity sciences. – Max Boisot The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 52. Complexity theory is about change Complexity theory is not a cohesive theory. It is not one equation. It is really a collection of ideas about the concept of change in complex adaptive systems […]. It talks about the dynamics of change in a system. – Irene Sanders The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 53. People and relationships We found that this new science leads to a new theory of business that places people and relationships […] into dramatic relief. – Roger Lewin, Birute Regine The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 54. And about hype I think the next century will be the century of complexity. – Stephen Hawking San Jose Mercury News, 23 January 2000
  • 55. And about unification We can justifiably think of Complexity as a sort of umbrella science – or even the Science of all Sciences. – Neil Johnson Simply Complexity
  • 56. But who wants unification? Scholars […] have been understandably reluctant to see their pet subject as simply one more example of some broader 'general system'! – Peter Checkland Systems Thinking, Systems Practice
  • 57. No consensus, no unification Perhaps because the field has attracted researchers from a wide diversity of home disciplines, there is no consensus as to how to define, measure, describe, or interpret "complexity." – Steve Maguire The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 58. Complexity theory explains why complex problems need multiple perspectives. It is successful in explaining its own failure at being one theory!
  • 59. But complexity is growing Accelerating economic and social change in the global economy, the consequent imperative for ever faster innovation, the emergence of global networks of partners, […] the multiplication of media channels, and burgeoning diversity in both the workplace and marketplace. – Steve Denning Radical Management
  • 60. And complicated is not complex Analysis works in complicated cases (plic in complicated means "fold"), but the interweavings (plex) of the complex do not yield to reductionist analysis or to a concentration on details. – Michael L. Lissack The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 61. You can try to simplify a system to make it understandable But you cannot linearize the system to make it predictable
  • 62. Complicated vs. Complex is itself is reductionism (and a false dichotomy)! Some systems can be seen as both complicated and complex.
  • 63. This is all great, but how do we use all these ideas about complexity
  • 64. The Scientific Method The traditional approach... 1. Observations 2. Hypotheses 3. Predictions 4. Experiments http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
  • 65. Houston, we have a problem This makes the standard method of accumulating evidence highly problematic, because it is based on the assumption of repetitive events. Evidence is accumulated by observing repetitions in traditional science but rather different notions of evidence need to be developed for the complexity sciences. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 66. Complexity invalidates prediction! The crucial problem which science faces is its ability to cope with complexity. – Peter Checkland Systems Thinking, Systems Practice
  • 67. Complexity theory predicts that we cannot rely on predictions.
  • 68. That doesn’t seem very helpful. Is there anything else we can do
  • 69. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 70. http://www.flickr.com/photos/hey__paul/6223650676/ What’s this?
  • 71. model mod·el noun ˈmä-dəl – a usually miniature representation of something – a description or analogy used to help visualize something (as an atom) that cannot be directly observed – a system of postulates, data, and inferences presented as a mathematical description of an entity or state of affairs http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/model
  • 72. We use models for two reasons Confirmatory models: prediction & control Exploratory models: insight & understanding – Steve Phelan The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 73. We’ll focus on exploratory models Confirmatory models are impossible to make in complexity theory. But we can use exploratory models to aid in sense-making.
  • 74. Making sense of improvement http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDCA http://gumption.typepad.com/blog/entrepreneuria/
  • 75. Making sense of learning Shu Ha Ri Beginner Advanced Beginner Competent Proficient Expert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuhari http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_model_of_skill_acquisition
  • 76. Making sense of complexity Ralph Stacey Dave Snowden
  • 77. There’s only 1 criterion for models Does the model help people to make sense of the world (insight and understanding)?
  • 78. Of course, it requires a balance How detailed (complicated) will you make the model to make it useful? The usefulness of a model depends on the complexity of the mind and of the environment.
  • 79. A simple model of London http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FHHhq9JdAXg/TIUalCWz_zI/AAAAAAAAAUg/C0CTOtV6iiw/s1600/cowshed-spasmap-aw8-low+res.jpg
  • 80. A complicated model of London http://www.bestcitymaps.com/citymaps/images/london.jpg
  • 81. http://effectiveagiledev.com/AgileTraining/ScrumImplementationWorkshop/tabid/74/Default.aspx A simple model for projects
  • 82. http://wyzsadvies.blogspot.com/2010/08/project-beheer-en-de-papierwinkel.html A complicated model for projects
  • 83. A simple model for managers – Jurgen Appelo Management 3.0
  • 84. A complicated model for managers – Dan Levinthal The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 85. Models are never perfect All models wrong, some are useful. – George Box Usefulness is context-dependent. It depends on the people and their environment.
  • 86. http://www.flickr.com/photos/miguelpdl/4356975474/ What’s this?
  • 87. metaphor met·a·phor noun ˈme-tə-ˌfȯr also -fər – a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metaphor
  • 88. Metaphors in science • Butterfy Effect • Edge of Chaos • Survival of the Fittest Metaphors are fuzzy but effective models.
  • 89. Metaphors in management • organizations as machines; • organizations as organisms; • organizations as brains; • organizations as flux and transformation; • organizations as cultures; • organizations as political systems; • organizations as psychic prisons; • organizations as instruments of domination; • organizations as carnivals. – Michael C. Jackson Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers
  • 90. Organizations as machines Machine images pervade management jargon. We have managers who “run” a company, much the way you would run a machine. We have the “owners” of the company, which is perfectly appropriate terminology for a machine but somewhat problematic when applied to a human community. And of course there are leaders who “drive change.” – Peter M. Senge The Fifth Discipline
  • 91. Danger of metaphors Reminiscence syndrome Jumping to conclusions because things look “the same” – Jack Cowan
  • 92. Example: inventory as waste The metaphor of inventory applied to knowledge work can be useful, but it fails fast. It leads people to draw conclusions about “waste” that make no sense (to me).
  • 93. Useful question: when do they fail? Metaphors are the weakest of all models. They fail fast. Science likes mathematical models. They fail much later.
  • 94. A key point of complexity theory Multiple weak models can make just as much sense as one strong model. (And it’s certainly better than no models.) In the end all models fail.
  • 95. This point makes it clear you also need other people’s views on complexity thinking. A single perspective is not enough!
  • 96. What’s this? http://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/2634586376/
  • 97. mathematics math·e·mat·ics noun ˌmath-ˈma-tiks, ˌma-thə- – the science of numbers and their operations, interrelations, combinations, generalizations, and abstractions and of space configurations and their structure, measurement, transformations, and generalizations http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mathematics
  • 98. Scientific management (Taylorism) The earliest attempt at applying mathematics to management of organizations. • Improving efficiency • Reducing variation • Increasing output http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_management
  • 99. What’s this? http://www.flickr.com/photos/inacentaurdump/2604198505/
  • 100. simulation sim·u·la·tion noun ˌsim-yə-ˈlā-shən – the imitative representation of the functioning of one system or process by means of the functioning of another – examination of a problem often not subject to direct experimentation by means of a simulating device http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/simulation
  • 101. The heart of complexity theory At the heart of complexity theory are these formal models that utilize new techniques in artificial intelligence to motivate artificial agents. Behind them are some heavy-duty mathematics and computer science. – Steve Phelan The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 102. Problem: prediction & control For systems dynamics thinkers, the aim is to identify leverage points for interventions that will enable them to identify where, when and how to initiate change and so stay in control. However, the ability to do this in a system that is sensitive to tiny changes is called into question. That obviously has serious implications for the human ability to stay ‘in control’. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 103. What’s this? http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3464803900/
  • 104. pattern pat·tern noun ˈpa-tərn – a form or model proposed for imitation – a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution – a discernible coherent system based on the intended interrelationship of component parts http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pattern
  • 105. Causal Loop Diagrams Seeking patterns
  • 106. Archetype: Shifting the burden Shifting the burden, dependence, and addiction arise when a solution to a systemic problem reduces (or disguises) the symptoms, but does nothing to solve the underlying problem. – Donella H. Meadows Thinking in Systems
  • 107. Archetype: Shifting problems Solutions that merely shift problems from one part of a system to another often go undetected because, unlike the rug merchant, those who “solved” the first problem are different from those who inherit the new problem. – Peter M. Senge The Fifth Discipline
  • 108. Archetype: The easy way out We all find comfort applying familiar solutions to problems, sticking to what we know best. – Peter M. Senge The Fifth Discipline
  • 109. Problem : objectivation Consider how this systems thinking compares with the earlier framework of scientific management. The manager continues to be equated with the natural scientist, the objective observer, and just as the scientist is concerned with a natural phenomenon, so the manager is concerned with an organization. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 110. Problem : objectivation Hard systems thinking is unable to deal satisfactorily with multiple perceptions of reality. […] Different stakeholders will have diverse opinions about the nature of the system they are involved with and about its proper purposes. – Michael C. Jackson Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers
  • 111. So, how should we use those models in a social system
  • 112. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 113. “Soft Systems Thinking” – Michael C. Jackson Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers
  • 114. “Soft Complexity” Systems theory -> Hard systems thinking Soft systems thinking Complexity theory -> Hard complexity Soft complexity – Steve Maguire The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 115. “Social Complexity” – Dave Snowden http://emergentpublications.com/ECO/ECO_other/Issue_6_1-2_19_FM.pdf
  • 116. Complexity Thinking (as I see it)
  • 117. 1) Address complexity with complexity The complexity of a system must be adequate to the complexity of the environment that it finds itself in. – Max Boisot The Interaction of Complexity and Management The human mind is more complex than tools Use stories, metaphors, pictures…
  • 118. Law of Requisite Variety If a system is to be stable the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled. – William Ross Ashby
  • 119. Law of Requisite Variety Ashby's law of requisite variety is as important to managers as Einstein's law of relativity to physicists. – Anthony Stafford Beer Designing Freedom
  • 120. The Kanban board is complicated, not complex. http://www.xqa.com.ar/visualmanagement/tag/kanban/
  • 121. 360 Degree evaluations
  • 122. Narratives useful for sense-making [Complexity thinkers] argue that complex thinking is best accomplished in a narrative mode of thinking rather than the propositional thinking of the traditional scientific method. […] Both involve recursiveness, nonlinearity, sensitive dependency on initial conditions, indeterminacy, unpredictability and emergence. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 123. https://picasaweb.google.com/114043888000663006020/ALENetworkWorldCafeAtXP2011Results Consider stories, metaphors, pictures or video
  • 124. Reduction vs. Absorption Complexity reduction entails getting to understand the complexity and acting on it directly, including attempting environmental enactment. Complexity absorption entails creating options and risk-hedging strategies. – Max Boisot The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 125. From reduction to absorption Top-down rules reduce an organization’s ability to deal with variety. – John Seddon Freedom from Command & Control
  • 126. Insofar as the business environment is becoming more complex, firms will need to shift from the complexity-reducing strategies that secured their success from the end of the nineteenth until the end of the twentieth century and place more stress on complexity- absorbing ones-a shift away from bureaucracies and toward fiefs, markets, and clans. – Max Boisot The Interaction of Complexity and Management Reduction vs. Absorption
  • 127. 2) Use a diversity of models Complexity itself is anti-methodology. It is against "one size fits all." – Tom Petzinger The Interaction of Complexity and Management Multiple weak models can make just as much sense as one strong model.
  • 128. Each systems approach is useful for certain purposes and in particular types of problem situation. A diversity of approaches, therefore, heralds not a crisis but increased competence in a variety of problem contexts. – Michael C. Jackson Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers Multiple approaches
  • 129. • Different people and tools • Different metaphors and analogies • Different patterns and simulations • Different methods and practices Multiple approaches
  • 130. 3) Assume dependence on context Best practice is past practice. – Dave Snowden The Interaction of Complexity and Management
  • 131. Retrospective coherence Any evidence provided will depend on the period selected and the place in which the events are occurring as well as other aspects of context. It follows that any relationship anyone identifies between a management action and an outcome could have far more to do with a particular time and place where the sample is selected than anything else. – Ralph Stacey Complexity and Organizational Reality
  • 132. 4) Assume subjectivity and coevolution The observer influences the system, and the system influences the observer. The people form the culture, and the culture forms the people.
  • 133. Feedback changes the whole system.
  • 134. 5) Anticipate, adapt, explore Anticipation Looking forward, proactive, imagining improvement Adaptation Looking backward, reactive, responding to change Exploration Trying things out, safe-to-fail experiments
  • 135. 6) Develop models in collaboration Does the model help people to make sense of the world (insight and understanding)?
  • 136. 1. Address complexity with complexity 2. Use a diversity of models 3. Assume dependence on context 4. Assume subjectivity and coevolution 5. Anticipate, adapt, and explore 6. Develop models in collaboration
  • 137. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 138. 1. Address complexity with complexity 2. Use a diversity of models 3. Assume dependence on context 4. Assume subjectivity and coevolution 5. Anticipate, adapt, and explore 6. Develop models in collaboration Does Scrum Match ComplexityThinking? Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
  • 139. 1. Address complexity with complexity 2. Use a diversity of models 3. Assume dependence on context 4. Assume subjectivity and coevolution 5. Anticipate, adapt, and explore 6. Develop models in collaboration
  • 140. Example What is the purpose of an organization?
  • 141. It’s about the shareholder Our aim is to be the biggest or second biggest market player, and to return maximum value to stockholders. – Jack Welch (General Electric) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shareholder_value
  • 142. It’s about the customer There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. – Peter F. Drucker Management
  • 143. It’s about the employee When we talk to our People, we proudly draw a pyramid on the chalkboard and tell them: You are at the top of the pyramid. You are the most important person to us. You are our most important Customer in terms of priority. – Colleen Barrett (Southwest Airlines) http://leaderchat.org/2011/01/10/customers-employees-and-shareholders%E2%80%94who-comes-first-in-your-organization/
  • 144. It’s about the organization The fundamental mission of an organization is to survive. – W. Warner Burke Organization Change
  • 145. It’s about the environment The function of firms is to produce and distribute wealth. – Russell L. Ackoff Recreating the Organization
  • 146. It’s about all of them Organizations must be viewed as social systems serving three sets of purposes: their own, those of their parts and those of the wider systems of which they are part. – Michael C. Jackson Systems Thinking: Creative Holism for Managers
  • 147. It’s about none of them A system has no purpose. Purpose is a relation, not a thing to have. – Gerald M. Weinberg Introduction to General Systems Thinking
  • 148. Well, it depends... Purposes are deduced from behavior, not from rhetoric or stated goals. – Donella H. Meadows Thinking in Systems
  • 149. My view (with complexity thinking hat) They all have a good point. Sometimes we need a simple model. Sometimes we need a complicated model.
  • 150. The Shu-Ha-Ri of purpose Shu Delight customers Ha Delight all stakeholders Ri Delight yourself
  • 151. Reductionism Holism Complexity Theory Models Complexity Thinking Example Final words
  • 152. All models can be useful. Some fail faster than others. – Jurgen Appelo
  • 153. There is nothing as practical as good theory. – Kurt Lewin
  • 154. We should not take our models too seriously. – Gerald M. Weinberg Introduction to Systems Thinking
  • 155. Is it Complexity Thinking or Systems Thinking ++
  • 156. The magpie Finds what’s valuable and uses it in its nest The only bird capable of self-reflection
  • 157. 1. Address complexity with complexity 2. Use a diversity of models 3. Assume dependence on context 4. Assume subjectivity and coevolution 5. Anticipate, adapt, and explore 6. Develop models in collaboration 7. Copy and change
  • 158. The peacock Showing off a complicated but totally useless idea Not capable of self-reflection
  • 159. Don't take speakers too seriously. Listen (critically) to the magpies Be wary of the peacocks.
  • 160. @jurgenappelo slideshare.net/jurgenappelo noop.nl linkedin.com/in/jurgenappelo jurgen@noop.nl
  • 161. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/ This presentation was inspired by the works of many people, and I cannot possibly list them all. Though I did my very best to attribute all authors of texts and images, and to recognize any copyrights, if you think that anything in this presentation should be changed, added or removed, please contact me at jurgen@noop.nl.