“Like resilience, self-organisation is
often sacrificed for purposes of short-term
productivity and stability.”
● Produces heterogeneity and
● Likely comes up with new structures and
new ways of doing things
● Requires freedom and experimentation
and a certain amount of disorder
... scares individuals and threatens power
● Give system stability
● Give resilience (unless they increase
● Reduce the amount of information that
any part of the system has to keep track of
(aka “information hiding”)
“In hierarchical systems relationships
within each subsystem are denser
and stronger than relationships
In software programming...
Cohesion: the degree to which the elements
of a module belong together
Coupling: the degree to which a module
relies on other modules
“The purpose of the upper layers of
the hierarchy is to serve the purposes
of the lower layers.”
Question: Does anyone have any
examples of hierarchy forgetting its
purpose is to help subsystems do
their jobs better?
“When a subsystem’s goals dominate
at the expense of the total system’s
goals, the resulting behavior is called
Highly functional systems need...
● Coordination toward larger system goals
● Autonomy to keep subsystems flourishing,
functioning, and self-organising
Question: How does hierarchy fit in
Agile, Lean, Kanban systems?
Question: Does that cover the
essence of why systems work?