Why Study Systems?
Archive content is great but your new stuff is even better. I'm also enjoying the systems presentations I'm seeing online by you and Jessica.
I've acquired two new classic Kent quotes: "Agile/Certification Industrial Complex" and "I can't be a better software engineer than I am a person."
I loved this, classic Kent Beck to my sense in that it offers an insight into the internal psychology of the author (and thus potentially the reader) rather than only appealing to the intellect.
I would have loved a couple more concrete examples of situations in which systems thinking helped tho.
Thanks Kent for all your work!
Thank you for your work. Hope you will write more about software design in the context of systems thinking.
Nice write up! I think you might enjoy https://www.amazon.com/Category-Theory-Sciences-MIT-Press/dp/0262028131
Category Theory provides a formal backbone for study of structures and in particular their relations. Spivak gives a nice introduction with some concrete useful examples. It helps when ones objective is to "Make sense of systems" :)
When I really want to make some changes, but I have limited influence. I will try to go for it anyway and spend considerable energy exercising my influence, and then I will have trouble letting go. It has been a journey, and usually, I learn a lot in the process. Your boundaries learning resonated with me a lot.
randomness plus confusion... Remindes me of a Einstein quote: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
I recently listened to/read “Thinking in Systems” by Donella Meadows. I found it a very good introduction to this topic. Just passing along to others who might be interested.
Kent, I also liked the archival posts. My two cents.
For what it's worth, as a paid subscriber, I'm enjoying the archival content and would be happy to see more: I think it's important for us to be reminded of past opinions and thinking on a variety of topics, to reflect on how applicable (or not) it may still be today, after so much change.
One class of these complex systems that I've encountered a few times is organizations of people (usually employers or clients, in my case). They often baffle even those at the "top" of the organization, seeming to defy logic. I think the techniques you talk about here could help leaders and would-be leaders - those in the rank and file who just want some sanity and hope/pray for some kind of change.
Thank you for sharing your journey on this. You identify an excellent way to positively effect complex systems. I've also found that looking for the boundaries between pace layers in analysis serves as a signal for differentiating how to effect change in a system with many layers.
Thanks Kent for writing this one. During the workshop you used “Take appropriate responsibility” for the second goal which is now “Boundaries”. It’s much more clear now 🙂
In a practical way, how do you test those boundaries?
Maybe not that linear but can we assume this kind of process:
Model > Identify experiment to influence > Learn from experiment > Adjust model (and it’s boundaries) if needed
And repeat until you have the attended impact on the system?