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Complexity in Action - LeanAgileUS 2018

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Are you excited to organize for complexity but unsure how to do it? Learn new techniques by looking back. In the early 20th century, the U.S. Navy successfully used complexity to harness new technologies, encourage organizational learning, and develop a sustained pace of innovation. Find out how!

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Complexity in Action - LeanAgileUS 2018

  1. 1. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Complexity in Action Trent Hone
  2. 2. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Trent Hone • Agile Coach with Excella Consulting, Arlington, VA • 20+ years of development experience • Award-winning historian 2
  3. 3. excella.com | @Honer_CUT What is Complexity? What are its Implications? How can we promote learning and innovation in complex environments? Complexity in Action
  4. 4. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Biological systems are complex Human systems are complex Your organization is complex Many of the challenges we face are complex Complexity is not new…
  5. 5. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Cynefin Framework Dave Snowden Cognitive Edge
  6. 6. excella.com | @Honer_CUT What is Complexity? • Systemic and synergistic • Path dependent • Context-sensitive • Emergent future Boulton, Allen, Bowman, Embracing Complexity
  7. 7. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Alicia Juarrero
  8. 8. excella.com | @Honer_CUT What Else? • Mechanistic models deeply flawed • Traditional behavior counterproductive • What do we do instead?
  9. 9. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Alternative Theories… Helmuth von Moltke: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Stephen Bungay The Art of Action
  10. 10. excella.com | @Honer_CUT American Conceptualization
  11. 11. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Mahan and the “New” Navy • President of Naval War College (NWC) • Feared “techno-centric” solutions • Naval command as “art” • Knowledge, skill, experience
  12. 12. excella.com | @Honer_CUT NWC “Conference Method” Collaborative “Sense Making” • Evaluate plans • Develop options • Agree what to do Psychological Safety
  13. 13. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Experiments in the Fleet
  14. 14. excella.com | @Honer_CUT “Estimate of the Situation” • Fractal “command canvas” • Flexible plans and orders • Express “Commander’s Intent” & Tell subordinates what not how • Today called “Mission Command”
  15. 15. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Torpedo Boat Destroyers
  16. 16. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Battleship = “Fail-Safe”
  17. 17. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Smaller ships = ”Safe-to-Fail”
  18. 18. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Sims and ”Doctrine” • Atlantic Fleet Torpedo Flotilla • Commander in Europe, 1917 • Promulgated a Doctrine to guide his subordinates… What’s a doctrine?
  19. 19. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Doctrine is a set of Heuristics • Daniel Kahneman: Thinking Fast and Slow • A heuristic is “a simple procedure that helps find adequate, though often imperfect, answers to difficult questions.”
  20. 20. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Doctrine as Heuristics • Doctrine is a pattern of decision-making • It is “the set of implicit and explicit assumptions that govern the behavior of an organization.” • “It is what we fall back on when precise instructions are unavailable.”
  21. 21. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Example Heuristics (Doctrine) • Always Pair on the JavaScript Objects • Have a Script for Every Release • Talk through challenges on a walk
  22. 22. excella.com | @Honer_CUT The U.S. Navy’s Approach • Use collaborative sense- making to explore opportunities and plan • Provide goals and objectives to subordinates, allow them to determine how to meet them • Foster safe-to-fail experimentation and creativity of teams • Create heuristics to help solve challenging problems, eschew rote solutions
  23. 23. excella.com | @Honer_CUT You can do this today! Here’s How
  24. 24. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Employ Collaborative Sense-Making • Leverage collective knowledge through: • Standups • Retrospectives • Planning sessions • Etc… • Allow the future to emerge
  25. 25. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Use “Mission Command” • Define what, not how • Foster creativity within your teams • Allow them to explore options and identify new opportunities
  26. 26. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Perform Safe-to-Fail Experiments • Allow variation between and among teams • Explore the problem space more rapidly • Respect context and history
  27. 27. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Develop Doctrine/Heuristics not Processes • Our work is “art” not ”science” • Develop contextual patterns • Exploit unforeseen opportunities • Evolve more rapidly
  28. 28. excella.com | @Honer_CUT Thank You – Any Questions?

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