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Complex Adaptive Systems

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  • D.André Dhondt
    A while back this list spoke a bit about Complex Adaptive Systems, and I skimmed past the thread. Now I see it again as an Agile2010 conference session, and I
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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      A while back this list spoke a bit about Complex Adaptive Systems, and I
      skimmed past the thread. Now I see it again as an Agile2010 conference
      session, and I have no idea what it is (what's that marketing mantra about
      getting exposed to a concept 7 times?)

      Can someone give me a down-to-earth explanation of the impact of CAS theory
      on my XP practices?

      If I were to do this for lean, for example, I�d limit the work in progress
      on the story board, I�d track cycle time for stories, and I�d limit the
      total number of �to-do� stories so I know when to say No to a customer. How
      does CAS change things?


      --
      D. Andr� Dhondt
      mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
      http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

      Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/
      If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
      Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
      https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Keith Ray
      The difference between what you described I would do these things and a CAS might be that everyone is doing these things versus one person commanding others
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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        The difference between what you described "I would do these things"
        and a CAS might be that everyone is doing these things versus one
        person commanding others to them.

        Multiple people making decisions versus only a few people being "the
        decider". Ant colony versus a grasshopper.

        I could be barking up the wrong tree, of course.

        C. Keith Ray
        Agile Coaching, training, eLearning
        http://www.industriallogic.com
        Sent from my iPhone

        On Feb 27, 2010, at 2:17 AM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre.dhondt@...>
        wrote:

        > A while back this list spoke a bit about Complex Adaptive Systems,
        > and I
        > skimmed past the thread. Now I see it again as an Agile2010
        > conference
        > session, and I have no idea what it is (what's that marketing mantra
        > about
        > getting exposed to a concept 7 times?)
        >
        > Can someone give me a down-to-earth explanation of the impact of CAS
        > theory
        > on my XP practices?
        >
        > If I were to do this for lean, for example, I’d limit the work in pr
        > ogress
        > on the story board, I’d track cycle time for stories, and I’d
        > limit the
        > total number of “to-do” stories so I know when to say No to a
        > customer. How
        > does CAS change things?
        >
        >
        > --
        > D. André Dhondt
        > mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
        > http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/
        >
        > Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/
        > If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
        > Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
        > https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
        >
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
        >
        > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • Charlie Poole
        Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus. That includes someone commanding the team to do something. Charlie
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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          Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus. That includes
          someone "commanding" the team to do something.

          Charlie

          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Keith Ray
          > Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 11:33 AM
          > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          > Cc: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [XP] Complex Adaptive Systems
          >
          > The difference between what you described "I would do these things"
          > and a CAS might be that everyone is doing these things versus
          > one person commanding others to them.
          >
          > Multiple people making decisions versus only a few people
          > being "the decider". Ant colony versus a grasshopper.
          >
          > I could be barking up the wrong tree, of course.
          >
          > C. Keith Ray
          > Agile Coaching, training, eLearning
          > http://www.industriallogic.com
          > Sent from my iPhone
          >
          > On Feb 27, 2010, at 2:17 AM, D.André Dhondt <d.andre.dhondt@...>
          > wrote:
          >
          > > A while back this list spoke a bit about Complex Adaptive
          > Systems, and
          > > I skimmed past the thread. Now I see it again as an Agile2010
          > > conference session, and I have no idea what it is (what's that
          > > marketing mantra about getting exposed to a concept 7 times?)
          > >
          > > Can someone give me a down-to-earth explanation of the
          > impact of CAS
          > > theory on my XP practices?
          > >
          > > If I were to do this for lean, for example, I’d limit the
          > work in pr
          > > ogress on the story board, I’d track cycle time for
          > stories, and I’d
          > > limit the total number of “to-do” stories so I know when to
          > say No to
          > > a customer. How does CAS change things?
          > >
          > >
          > > --
          > > D. André Dhondt
          > > mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
          > > http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/
          > >
          > > Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/ If
          > you're in the
          > > area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
          > Mentor/be mentored:
          > > the Agile Skills Project
          > > https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/
          > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ------------------------------------
          > >
          > > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
          > >
          > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          > > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
          > >
          > > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
          >
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
          >
          > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.comYahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • D.André Dhondt
          On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole ... So CAS is just the study of these group dynamics? -- D. André Dhondt mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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            On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole
            <cpoole@...>wrote:

            > Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus. That includes
            > someone "commanding" the team to do something.
            >
            So CAS is just the study of these group dynamics?

            --
            D. André Dhondt
            mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
            http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

            Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/
            If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
            Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
            https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • D.André Dhondt
            On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole ... So CAS would have implications on my work in ways that the Theory of Constraints has implications on my
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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              On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole
              <cpoole@...>wrote:

              > Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus.
              >
              So CAS would have implications on my work in ways that the Theory of
              Constraints has implications on my work--a slight clarification/focus on
              dealing with certain types of problems, right?

              --
              D. André Dhondt
              mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
              http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

              Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/
              If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
              Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
              https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Adam Sroka
              On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM, D.André Dhondt ... Complex systems are made up of lots of individual agents each of whom are following a simple set of rules.
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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                On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM, D.André Dhondt
                <d.andre.dhondt@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole
                > <cpoole@...>wrote:
                >
                > > Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus. That includes
                > > someone "commanding" the team to do something.
                > >
                > So CAS is just the study of these group dynamics?
                >

                Complex systems are made up of lots of individual agents each of whom
                are following a simple set of rules. The behavior of agents is fairly
                simple, but has implications on the behavior of the system when viewed
                as a whole. The reason this is important is that when we are
                interested in the behavior of the whole system we want a way to model
                and understand how the behavior of individual agents combines to
                create these effects.

                Think about driving in traffic: each driver is obeying a simple set of
                rules that they attempt to optimize for their own benefit, but viewed
                at the system level the overall effect is suboptimal for everyone. It
                is a local optimization problem. Individuals are optimizing for
                themselves but not optimizing for the benefit of the whole system.

                Software development is a complex system made up of individual agents
                who are following a simple set of rules to optimize locally. We want
                to understand how these behaviors impact the system as a whole. In
                particular, we want to measure what effect certain behaviors have on
                the system as a whole so that we don't create suboptimal system
                behavior with local optimization.

                So, that is the background. The problem is that software development
                systems actually work better when they are not complex. Small teams
                work better than large teams. Small teams don't behave like complex
                systems. Large teams do. CAS has clear implications for large teams
                building large complex systems. It's implications for Agile teams are
                less obvious.
              • D.André Dhondt
                Thank you, that makes it clear for me. ... -- D. André Dhondt mobile: 001 33 671 034 984 http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/ Support low-cost conferences
                Message 7 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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                  Thank you, that makes it clear for me.

                  On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 6:50 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:

                  >
                  >
                  > On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM, D.Andr� Dhondt
                  >
                  > <d.andre.dhondt@... <d.andre.dhondt%40gmail.com>> wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole
                  > > <cpoole@... <cpoole%40pooleconsulting.com>>wrote:
                  > >
                  > > > Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus. That includes
                  > > > someone "commanding" the team to do something.
                  > > >
                  > > So CAS is just the study of these group dynamics?
                  > >
                  >
                  > Complex systems are made up of lots of individual agents each of whom
                  > are following a simple set of rules. The behavior of agents is fairly
                  > simple, but has implications on the behavior of the system when viewed
                  > as a whole. The reason this is important is that when we are
                  > interested in the behavior of the whole system we want a way to model
                  > and understand how the behavior of individual agents combines to
                  > create these effects.
                  >
                  > Think about driving in traffic: each driver is obeying a simple set of
                  > rules that they attempt to optimize for their own benefit, but viewed
                  > at the system level the overall effect is suboptimal for everyone. It
                  > is a local optimization problem. Individuals are optimizing for
                  > themselves but not optimizing for the benefit of the whole system.
                  >
                  > Software development is a complex system made up of individual agents
                  > who are following a simple set of rules to optimize locally. We want
                  > to understand how these behaviors impact the system as a whole. In
                  > particular, we want to measure what effect certain behaviors have on
                  > the system as a whole so that we don't create suboptimal system
                  > behavior with local optimization.
                  >
                  > So, that is the background. The problem is that software development
                  > systems actually work better when they are not complex. Small teams
                  > work better than large teams. Small teams don't behave like complex
                  > systems. Large teams do. CAS has clear implications for large teams
                  > building large complex systems. It's implications for Agile teams are
                  > less obvious.
                  >
                  >
                  >



                  --
                  D. Andr� Dhondt
                  mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
                  http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

                  Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/
                  If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
                  Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
                  https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Adam Sroka
                  On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 9:27 PM, D.André Dhondt ... I don t believe CAS has any implication on the way that a small team does XP. CAS might have implications
                  Message 8 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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                    On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 9:27 PM, D.André Dhondt
                    <d.andre.dhondt@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 8:55 PM, Charlie Poole
                    > <cpoole@...>wrote:
                    >
                    > > Any team reacts in complex ways to a stimulus.
                    > >
                    > So CAS would have implications on my work in ways that the Theory of
                    > Constraints has implications on my work--a slight clarification/focus on
                    > dealing with certain types of problems, right?
                    >

                    I don't believe CAS has any implication on the way that a small team
                    does XP. CAS might have implications for how members of large teams
                    behave including that they might have to behave entirely different
                    from members of a small team.
                  • Tom
                    Add my thanks for this post. It really made me think! The same forces seem to be in play here as in OO design: for a complex project we should have small teams
                    Message 9 of 11 , Feb 27, 2010
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                      Add my thanks for this post. It really made me think!

                      The same forces seem to be in play here as in OO design: for a complex project we should have small teams defined by a clear and simple rationale (ala the Single Responsibility Principle) and decoupled from one another with clearly defined contracts for their interactions - e.g., determine what Eric Evans calls the upstream/downstream relationships.

                      If a starting inventory of stories is created for the complex project as a whole, I'd hope for a systematic partitioning of it as the basis for organizing the teams.
                    • Marc Bless
                      Hi, 2010/2/28 Adam Sroka ... the implications may be more obvious when we look at distributed and dispersed agile teams. Complexity of
                      Message 10 of 11 , Feb 28, 2010
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                        Hi,

                        2010/2/28 Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...>

                        > So, that is the background. The problem is that software development
                        > systems actually work better when they are not complex. Small teams
                        > work better than large teams. Small teams don't behave like complex
                        > systems. Large teams do. CAS has clear implications for large teams
                        > building large complex systems. It's implications for Agile teams are
                        > less obvious.
                        >

                        the implications may be more obvious when we look at distributed and
                        dispersed agile teams. Complexity of communication grows exponentially with
                        the number of development sites and team members involved. People then tend
                        to optimize their local scope only.

                        Cheers,
                        Marc


                        --
                        Marc Bless
                        http://marcbless.blogspot.com
                        http://twitter.com/marcbless


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • D.André Dhondt
                        ... I think my team lives inside a larger system which is a CAS. In order for us to keep moving as fast as we can, we have to adapt to what sales, marketing,
                        Message 11 of 11 , Feb 28, 2010
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                          On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 7:09 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:

                          > I don't believe CAS has any implication on the way that a small team
                          > does XP.
                          >
                          I think my team lives inside a larger system which is a CAS. In order for
                          us to keep moving as fast as we can, we have to adapt to what sales,
                          marketing, support, and consulting are all doing... and they adapt as
                          well--independent agents making complex, hard to predict behavior. I think
                          inside the team, we've avoided CAS--but outside, I guess we can't avoid it
                          unless the company is less than 10 or 15 employees.

                          --
                          D. André Dhondt
                          mobile: 001 33 671 034 984
                          http://dhondtsayitsagile.blogspot.com/

                          Support low-cost conferences -- http://agiletour.org/
                          If you're in the area, join Agile Philly http://www.AgilePhilly.com
                          Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
                          https://sites.google.com/site/agileskillsprojectwiki/


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