Thursday, 9 April 2009

From points to patterns and crosses

The 15 services sold and the 4 different implementations found in the previous post are quite unrelated to each other, both the initial 15 and the current 4 implementation have little links between them. 

This inspired me to have new look at Dave Snowden Cynefin model to see if there was anything in there that would help understanding what is going on and find hints at how to proceed from here. 

Than I remembered a question Dave asks quite often: what does a paratrooper do when he jumps from the plane above the forrest? Well, for the first part of the journey downward the only thing he can do is look out for any signs of human activity (smoke, movement, etc), but normally during wartime everyone makes sure no such signs are present during daytime. So the paratrooper gets no valuable information at all. Not even about any shooting going on as he can't hear because of the falling speed. But as soon as he lands (hopefully still alive), what is the first thing he does? ..........

Well, he acts, he moves behind the first tree in sight, then he listens if there is any shooting going on and what direction it comes from. And if it comes from his side of the tree, he changes sides.

This chain of events, act-listen-change, is a well known combi in the Cynefin model, where it reads, act-sense-respond and belongs to the chaos domain. So lets have a look at the Cynefin model (Snowden/Kurtz, The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world, IBM SYSTEMS JOURNAL, VOL 42, NO 3, 2003): 

In the lower left corner (the chaos domain) we find four dots (in our case the 15 services sold) and when we follow the lines we find that two of them lead to the cross (they fail) and two of them lead to a bleu dot (a pattern is established). So our 4 implemented services can be understood as 4 new patterns.

By following the line we have also crossed the chaos-complex boundary which tells us that our 4 new services are alive, but far from business-as-usual. They are only 4 tiny little operations in a big sea of other concerns. How to handle this situation and achieve/build some more sustainabillity is the subject for next time.

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