Berlin has always been one of my favourite cities since I used to cross under the wall back in the 70s for various WSCF meetings. Compulsory currency changes, avoiding doing anything to draw the attention of the Volkspolizei ( and realising that an error could cost friends their livelihoods, possibly their lives. Then we had the intense political conversations in beer-kellers late at night, or over sausages cooked by street vendors on the Ku’damm. We used to stay in a hotel, or rather rooms that I am sure was used as the set for Cabaret! Fond memories, but also it was intense.
Now with the collapse of the wall Berlin is still an exciting place but more laid back. I’ve been back a few times for conferences and more recently for two long sessions with agile42. The name itself is an ironic reference to Douglas Adams and at their most recent event all the stewards were carrying towels. If you don’t understand the significance of that then you need an emergency emersion in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
I was there, not just to talk about the work of Cognitive Edge, but also to investigate the possibility of my becoming an advisor to them on strategy and also to create a more formal partnership both for their operational use of Sense Maker® and also participation in some of the research programmes we will shortly be launching from The Cynefin Centre (working name for the last year has been The Centre for Applied Complexity which I launched yesterday.
I’m pleased to say that the session went well and thanks to the patience of Marion and Andrea as well as the efforts of Sonja, we are now in position to announce a formal partnership. The main elements of this are:
- We will work with agile42 to create an instance of SenseMaker® to support their work on Agile readiness, providing both an assessment instrument and an ability for continuing monitoring, knowledge capture and learning. I’m excited by this as agile42 look to be an organisation who understand the need to go beyond crude surveys into continuous monitoring and active decision support. That sort of vision is all too rare. Expect more on this in future posts and announcements.
- agile42 will be a key partner in the Cynefin Centre’s forthcoming action research programmes on user requirement capture and project management. The first of these, narrative based URC will be one of a series of initiatives looking to create pre-SCRUM tools within the Agile community as well as allowing what I have previously described as fractal scaling within software development. This allows a non-aggregative approach to seeing software as an evolving service with active engagement of the C level within organisations, linking strategy with operations in real time.
- I will act as an advisor to agile42 on their forward strategy, although I expect to learn as much from the process if not more than they learn from me. The need to move Agile as a method and philosophy to the next level of maturity without compromising the original vision is important to me, and to Marion, Andrea and their colleagues so I am really looking forward to this aspect of the agreement. If we can (to return to Douglas Adams) create an Ark ship where those who cynically see Agile as a source of training and accreditation revenue alone, not as a new way of thinking and delivering value are added to telephone sanitisers than I will die happy.
And then of course, it gives me an excuse to get back to Berlin from time to time.