I continually see comments like: “in complex work, more is unknown than known.” And then a discussion about complexity is used as a way to limit what can be done. But there are two fallacies here.
The first is that the complexity of what we’re building has the same nature as the complexity of our methods used in building it.
The second is that we need to worry about complexity in the first place. Our real enemy is non-linearity. A non-linear event is one where a small change creates a big result – usually detrimental. The focus on complexity is often counter-productive because of a “what’s the point, it’s all complex anyway” attitude.
But this is the wrong attitude to take.
Human-centered design and a focus on the customer journey can help in seeing what to do regarding creating value.
Regarding our work process, we must turn to a scientific approach – blending empiricism with continually building a theory that explains things. This theory already exists in the form of theories of Flow, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints. All of which are based on systems thinking.
Fortunately, even though the nature of what we’re building and how we are building it are different, the solution to staying on track is the same – quick feedback. The quicker this feedback is the better. And the ability to use what’s learned quickly is essential. This is why a flow model is often more effective than an incremental one.
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#2. How the focus on simple frameworks puts the onus on the adopters.
#3. How a lack of theory sets up resistance in management.
#4. Use alignment to lower coordination costs.