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Cynefin in an agile world

Presented at Brisbane agile meet up.

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Cynefin in an agile world

  1. 1. Cynefin In an Agile World Brisbane Agile Meetup March 2018
  2. 2. Problem Solving vs Thinking THE KNOWN Problem solving • Do I know the answer? • How can I find it out? Thinking skills • What is my thought process? • How can I approach the situation I have in front of me?
  3. 3. The Unknown
  4. 4. Complexity in the SDLC  Large numbers of interacting elements.  A non-linear relationship between the interactions where minor changes can produce major consequences.  The system is dynamic where the sum of the whole is greater than the individual elements.  In complex systems, solutions can’t be imposed rather they arise (or emerge) from the circumstances.
  5. 5. Sense-Making “Sense-making is how we make sense of the world so we can act in it. If you can’t draw a framework on the back of a table napkin from memory it has little utility for sense-making” Dave Snowden
  6. 6. Sense-Making
  7. 7. Human interactions are a function of our personal and collective experiences. Cynefin explores the relationship between humans, their experience, and the current context Cynefin Welsh Meaning kuh-nev-in
  8. 8. But don’t let me tell you… It has been used: Analysing policymaking within the George W. Bush administration and the impact of religion in that process. The nature of the response to bioterrorism Aspects of measurement in the British National Health Service. The retrospective study of emergency situations. The management of food chain risks. To study the interaction between civilians and military during disaster control. Recognition of question patterns from citizens requests by (social) service organizations. Most recently it has been extended to cover software development within Agile.
  9. 9. Cynefin Framework
  10. 10. 5 Domains Ordered Unordered CHAOTIC SIMPLE COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX DISORDER Complacency leads to failure
  11. 11. Disorder / Confusion The disorder domain in the centre represents situations where there is confusion because there is no clarity about which of the other domains apply. By definition, it is hard to see when this domain applies.
  12. 12. Decision-Making Context  Simple: BAU / Automatable  Complicated: A simple project with some analysis required – simple agile tools.  Complex: We have “known unknowns” and need analysis, testing, constant feedback and retrospection.  Chaotic: “Unknown unknowns” have caused something to happen – unable to do analysis just try and fix it – more sophisticated agile tools required.
  13. 13. CHAOTIC SIMPLE COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX Frog thinking vs Watch thinking C=E C--->EC E C ≠ E C -> Cause E -> Effect
  14. 14. Over Time CHAOTIC SIMPLE COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX 2nd time 4th and subsequent times 3rd time 1st time
  16. 16. Approaches CHAOTIC SIMPLE COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX probe – sense – respond sense – categorise – respond sense – analyse – respond act – sense – respond
  17. 17. Leadership Styles CHAOTIC SIMPLE COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX Facilitation Coordination Collaboration Direction
  18. 18. Agile SDLC + Cynefin
  19. 19. Cynefin + Blooms Taxonomy Creatin Evaluating Analysing Applying Understanding Remembering CHAOTIC SIMPLE COMPLICATEDCOMPLEX Higher order thinking skills Lower order thinking skills
  20. 20. Using Cynefin for User Story splitting  Simple: Just build it. Or if it’s too big -> find all the stories and do the most valuable ones first.  Complicated: Find all the stories and do the most valuable and/or most risky ones first.  Complex: Don’t try to find all the stories. Find one or two that will provide some value and teach you something about the problem and solution, build those and use what you learn to find the rest.  Chaotic: Put out the fire! Splitting stories probably isn’t important right now.  Disordered: Figure out which domain you’re in before splitting so you don’t take the wrong approach. usage-examples-58061253
  21. 21. Using Cynefin in Retrospectives  Simple: Just implement these improvements, add them to working agreements  Complicated: Find experts in your environment or internal/external consultants, ask them to help you  Complex: Brainstorm a set of small and time-bound experiments, find a way to measure outcomes, implement them  Chaotic: Distribute knowledge and wait some time until the issue transitions into a complex domain  Disordered: Break these down until they start falling into one of the domains usage-examples-58061253
  22. 22. Using Cynefin in Planning  Simple: Estimates are going to be close to actuals  Complicated: Planning can be based on previous work  Complex: Small experiments and iterative work will lead to better estimates and plans  Chaotic: Just do it and we’ll try and create some rules when we see the patterns  Disordered: Don’t do it usage-examples-58061253
  23. 23. Where Now?  Which domain are you in?  What approach are you using?  What can you do to move to the next domain?  Question your thinking & problem solving approach  Do incremental delivery to allow reflection/adaptation  Be Agile -> Use Cynefin
  24. 24. Videos worth watching… Liz Keogh  Cynefin in Action -  BDD with Cynefin  Cynefin -
  25. 25. Mike Burns  LinkedIn - /in/maddogmikeb  Twitter - @maddogmikeb Thanks!