Why You Must Look for Best Practices in Complex Systems

The two major lessons of complex systems are:

1) small events can lead to big challenges

2) you can’t predict if attempts to improve things will work

But this doesn’t mean there aren’t best practices in complex systems. In fact, it means in complex systems you must look for the few best practices there are.

By a “practice” I mean something that:

1) takes little energy to do

2) simple enough that everyone can do them

3) provides value enough of the time to make them worthwhile

Here are some Agile Best Practices:

when given a requirement ask “how will I know I’ve done that?”

  • before starting a new task see if there’s a task you can finish or help someone else finish
  • have explicit work policies (i.e., have team members know what each other is doing)

While there are others, let’s consider the value of these. The first helps avoid misunderstandings. The second shortens development time. The third helps avoid misunderstandings.

All of these are clearly valuable. All too often we worry about managing big things, and overlook the little things that can make a big difference. While we can’t control complex systems, we should do what we can to avoid chaotic events.

An open invitation for a discussion

After being at Agile 2018 I see more hope for people learning how to become more effective in a more effective manner. People were asking questions and fewer were looking for quick, rote, solutions. Of course, my sample was incredibly unscientific and is anecdotal. But I am an optimist.

I know I have a reputation for seeing the negative in things. But my path has always been: Continue reading “An open invitation for a discussion”

Frameworks are just tools. Good ones are instances of Lean

I was asked if Scrum per the Scrum Guide was an instance of Kanban. The answer is no because of the differences in the mindset. Scrum (per SG) has immutable roles, artifacts, events, and rules. These guide you to actions that fit within them. Kanban has principles you look at to see what to do. There are other differences in the mindsets of Scrum and Kanban. Continue reading “Frameworks are just tools. Good ones are instances of Lean”