Meadows Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

(in increasing order of effectiveness)

12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards).
Scrum/XP: ROI, Story Points, Velocity, PBIs planned/delivered, Defect arrival/fixing rate
SAFe Metrics: WSJF (cost of delay), Business Value planned/delivered, Team/ART self-assessment,
Lean/Kanban Metrics: process efficiency (value/waste ratio), lead/cycle time, WIP limits, batch size, transaction costs
11. The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows.
Scrum: PBL, SBL, PSI
Lean/Kanban: queues, transport batch, buffers
10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures).
Lean/Kanban: pull system, single piece flow
9. The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change.
Lean: Heijunka (Produktionsglättung), level demand & capacity
8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against.
Agile: short, frequent releases, sustainable pace
Scrum: DoD, DoR, time boxing, velocity, Sprint, burn downs,
Lean/Kanban: takt, cadence
7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops.
Agile: simplicity (amount of work not done)
XP: Continuous Integration, ATDD
Lean: eliminate waste
6. The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to information).
Scrum: Transparency, Openness
5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints).
Scrum: DoD, DoR, Roles, Artefacts, Events

4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure.
Agile: emergent requirements, architecture & design, retrospectives
Scrum: DEEP PBL, retrospectives
XP: simple, evolutionary design, refactoring

3. The goals of the system.
Scrum: Product Vision, Architecture Vision, Sprint Goals
LeSS: Perfection Vision
SAFe: PI (Release) Objectives
SF: Future Perfect, wünschenswerte Zukunft

2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises.

Theory Y

Adaptive Software Development
SWE als komplexes Adaptives Soziales System
Anpassung an sich ständig ändernde Markt- und Nutzeranforderungen
speculate, collaborate, and learn cycles (Iterationen)

SWE als kooperative Gruppenspiel wie Bergsteigen oder Rudern in der Gruppe. Agile = iterative, inkrementelle SW Entwicklung im Team, Ziel: Anforderungen Zug (Iteration) um Zug in lauffähige SW Inkremente umsetzen)

Scrum: Empirical Process Control: Transparency, Inspect & Adapt

Lean Thinking, Pull-System, JIT, One Piece Flow, Queuing Theory, Lean Product Development

LeSS: Learning Organization
Systems Thinking: Structure influences behaviour, policy resistance/fixes that fail/quick fixes, Leverage
Mentale Modelle: Theory in Use, Ladder of Inference, Balance Inquiry & Advocacy

SAFe: Reinertsen's Product Development Flow

1. The power to transcend paradigms.
To explain parameters, stocks, delays, flows, feedback

LeSS: LO Systems Archetypes, Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs)

- Skalierung positiver Unterschiede, Ausnahmen vom Problem, Grauzonen
- Wishbone, um mehrere Skalen zu verbinden, die Einfluß auf das gewünschte Ziel haben
- What is it good for? um den Sinn hinter dem Ziel zu erkunden und die Attraktivität des Zieles zu klären/steigern
- what else? :-)

Julio Olalla „Veränderungsformel“:
„Damit Veränderung stattfindet, muss das

Produkt aus Wille x Attraktivität des Ziels x Zuversicht seiner Erreichbarkeit x Klarheit über die ersten Schritte

größer sein als der Aufwand für die Veränderung“.

Die Fishbone-Skalierung kann die letzten drei Faktoren sehr übersichtlich wahrnehmbar und prüfbar machen

4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure.

The most stunning thing living systems and some social systems can do is to change themselves utterly by creating whole new structures and behaviors. In biological systems that power is called evolution. In human economies it’s called technical advance or social revolution. In systems lingo it’s called self-organization.

Self-organization means changing any aspect of a system lower on this list — adding completely new physical structures, such as brains or wings or computers — adding new negative or positive loops, or new rules. The ability to self-organize is the strongest form of system resilience. A system that can evolve can survive almost any change,
by changing itself. The human immune system has the power to develop new responses to (some kinds of ) insults it has never before encountered. The human brain can take in new information and pop out completely new thoughts.

Further investigation of self-organizing systems reveals that the divine creator, if there is one, does not have to produce evolutionary miracles. He, she, or it just has to write marvelously clever RULES FOR SELF-ORGANIZATION. These rules basically govern how, where, and what the system can add onto or subtract from itself under what conditions. As hundreds of self-organizing computer models have demonstrated, complex and delightful patterns can evolve from quite simple evolutionary algorithms. (That need not mean that real-world algorithms are simple, only that they can be.) The genetic code within the DNA that is the basis of all biological evolution contains just four different letters, combined into words of three letters each. That pattern, and the rules for replicating and rearranging it, has been constant for something like three billion years, during which it has spewed out an unimaginable variety of failed and successful self-evolved creatures.

Self-organization is basically a matter of an evolutionary raw material — a highly variable stock of information from which to select possible patterns — and a means for experimentation, for selecting and testing new patterns. For biological evolution the raw material is DNA, one source of variety is spontaneous mutation, and the testing mechanism is something like punctuated Darwinian selection. For technology the raw material is the body of understanding science has accumulated and stored in libraries and in the brains of its practitioners. The source of variety is human creativity (whatever THAT is) and the selection mechanism can be whatever the market will reward, or whatever governments and foundations will fund, or whatever meets human needs.

When you understand the power of system self-organization, you begin to understand why biologists worship biodiversity even more than economists worship technology. The wildly varied stock of DNA, evolved and accumulated over billions of years, is the source of evolutionary potential, just as science libraries and labs and universities where scientists are trained are the source of technological potential. Allowing species to go extinct is a systems crime, just as randomly eliminating all copies of particular science journals, or particular kinds of scientists, would be.

The same could be said of human cultures, of course, which are the store of behavioral repertoires, accumulated over not billions, but hundreds of thousands of years. They are a stock out of which social evolution can arise. Unfortunately, people appreciate the precious evolutionary potential of cultures even less than they understand
the preciousness of every genetic variation in the world’s ground squirrels. I guess that’s because one aspect of almost every culture is the belief in the utter superiority of that culture.

Insistence on a single culture shuts down learning. Cuts back resilience. Any system, biological, economic, or social, that gets so encrusted that it cannot self-evolve, a system that systematically scorns experimentation and wipes out the raw material of innovation, is doomed over the long term on this highly variable planet.

The intervention point here is obvious, but unpopular. Encouraging variability and experimentation and diversity means “losing control.” Let a thousand flowers bloom and ANYTHING could happen! Who wants that? Let’s play it safe and push this leverage point in the wrong direction by wiping out biological, cultural, social, and market diversity!

SF Clues:
Change is happening all the time – our role is to find useful change and amplify it

3. The goals of the system.

LeSS start with why

SF future perfect, What is it good for?

Right there, the diversity-destroying consequence of the push for control, that demonstrates why the goal of a system is a leverage point superior to the self-organizing ability of a system. If the goal is to bring more and more of the world under the control of one particular central planning system (the empire of Genghis Khan, the world of Islam, the People’s Republic of China, Wal-Mart, Disney, whatever), then everything further down the list, physical stocks and flows, feedback loops, information flows, even self-organizing behavior, will be twisted to conform to that goal.

2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises.

Another of Jay Forrester’s famous systems sayings goes: it doesn’t matter how the tax law of a country is written. There is a shared idea in the minds of the society about what a “fair” distribution of the tax load is. Whatever the rules say, by fair means or foul, by complications, cheating, exemptions or deductions, by constant sniping at the rules, actual tax payments will push right up against the accepted idea of “fairness.”

The shared idea in the minds of society, the great big unstated assumptions — unstated because unnecessary to state; everyone already knows them — constitute that society’s paradigm, or deepest set of beliefs about how the world works. There is a difference between nouns and verbs. Money measures something real and has real meaning (therefore people who are paid less are literally worth less). Growth is good. Nature is a stock of resources to be converted to human purposes. Evolution stopped with the emergence of Homo sapiens. One can “own” land. Those are just a few of the paradigmatic assumptions of our current culture, all of which have utterly dumfounded other cultures, who thought them not the least bit obvious.

So how do you change paradigms? Thomas Kuhn, who wrote the seminal book about the great paradigm shifts of science, has a lot to say about that. In a nutshell, you keep pointing at the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm, you keep coming yourself, and loudly and with assurance from the new one, you insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. You don’t waste time with reactionaries; rather you work with active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open-minded.

SF Clue: Look for exceptions from the problem, surprises ...

1. The power to transcend paradigms.

There is yet one leverage point that is even higher than changing a paradigm. That is to keep oneself unattached in the arena of paradigms, to stay flexible, to realize that NO paradigm is “true,” that every one, including the one that sweetly shapes your own worldview, is a tremendously limited understanding of an immense and amazing universe that is far beyond human comprehension. It is to “get” at a gut level the paradigm that there are paradigms, and to see that that itself is a paradigm, and to regard that whole realization as devastatingly funny. It is to let go into Not Knowing, into what the Buddhists call enlightenment.

SF Clues:
A stance of
- having as few assumptions about the client as possible (and test them, humble inquiry)
- deeming clients to be the expert on their own lives and desires (not knowing better)

- Treating each case as different and developing the process according to what the client says rather than imposing a fit into a theoretical or conceptual framework

- Building conversations on the basis of the client’s language, metaphors, stories and behaviour

LO: System Thinking, Mental Models
Visualisierung von Systemen, Feedbackschleifen, Mentalen Modellen durch CLDs etc.

Umgang mit Policy Resistance/Quick Fixes und unerwünschten Nebeneffekten auf Dritte im LF?

- Zirkuläre Fragen im Future Perfect
Wer noch würde bemerken, dass es besser geworden ist?
Woran stellst Du fest, dass sie/er das bemerkt hat?
Woran noch?
Wie wirkt sich das auf ihn/sie aus?
Wie noch?
Wer profitiert vom Fortbestand des Problems?
Wie kann ich sie/in in die Lösung mit einbeziehen und eine win-win Situation schaffen?

People who cling to paradigms (which means just about all of us) take one look at the spacious possibility that everything they think is guaranteed to be nonsense and pedal rapidly in the opposite direction. Surely there is no power, no control, no understanding, not even a reason for being, much less acting, in the notion or experience
that there is no certainty in any worldview. But, in fact, everyone who has managed to entertain that idea, for a
moment or for a lifetime, has found it to be the basis for radical empowerment. If no paradigm is right, you can
choose whatever one will help to achieve your purpose. If you have no idea where to get a purpose, you can listen
to the universe (or put in the name of your favorite deity here) and do his, her, its will, which is probably a lot better
informed than your will.