The Real Lessons of Complexity and Systems Thinking

June 16, 2018 — Posted by Al Shalloway
Systems-thinking tells us to look at the entire system. It's more about the relationships between the pieces than the pieces themselves. When we focus on components we will get unpredictable results. But seeing all of the potential interactions in large organizations is also not possible. 
 
Nevertheless, as Edwards Deming said “A system must be managed. It will not manage itself. Left to themselves, components become selfish, competitive, independent profit centers, and thus destroy the system … The secret is cooperation between components toward the aim of the organization.”
 
The trick is to understand patterns of behavior & get quick feedback. on how the system is working. It also requires leadership in both how the organization is run and what it is working on.  This also requires management because although the best organizational structures will emerge, this emergence must also be fostered. 
 
An environment in which teams can self-organize to work effectively towards the business' goal must be created. Product management is required so that everyone is clear about what they should be working on. The last piece is how to allocate capacity to the most important investments being made. 
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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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