System Mapping: Discover, Communicate and Explore the Real Complexity of Your Systems
Every organisation has legacy systems, and people who know "where the bodies are buried" -- hidden aspects of dependency, communication, process flow and whatnot which every system relies on to function. These are the dirty secrets swept beneath the rug of "business as usual", and they represent risk and friction alike.
As Peter Drucker is famously quoted, "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it", and the first step towards measuring it is to be able to describe it. How can you do this with gigantic, complex, intertwined systems whose origins are buried in mystery and legend, whose very operation and continued existence is dependent, frequently, on specific people, high priests who may not want to share their arcane knowledge?
This session provides evidence-based techniques for uncovering this complexity, visualising it in a machine-friendly but fundamentally human-centric manner, and using the results to drive real organisational awareness that facilitates conversations and change.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
- A very brief introduction to complexity (enough to understand the context)
- Real examples of systemic complexity
- Building the map (an iterative process)
- Human factors
- Machine factors
- Mining value from the map
- Using the techniques to discover other complex systems
- Real change driven from this technique
Attendees should leave with techniques to discover, visualise, communicate and operate on complex systems within dynamic organisations, enabling conversations at many levels towards reducing friction, risk, and cost.
Product owners, delivery leads, system architects, lead and senior developers, operations folk, change managers ... anyone who's ever wondered "why does it take so long to get anything done here?"
Prerequisites for Attendees
Bring any experience with a complex system (hint: everyone has experience with a complex system, especially at work)