We routinely label expensive projects as complex projects but does this generalisation lead us to mismanage how they are delivered? On HS2, is the process of laying hundreds of mile of track complex? Should we be adapting our approach based upon the extent to which the project is subject to change, i.e. how emergent it is?
But how do we know where we are? How can data help us along this journey and enable us to understand the current and emerging position? Data can probably help us with the elements of a project which are known and repetitive, but what about the parts of a projects that are in flux? Can we plan our way out of these? Can data help us by deploying probes to detect where we are and how the environment is evolving; can it help us with lead indicators? How should we be managing complexity and what role does data have to play?
Dave Snowden is an internationally renowned guru on complexity and has kindly agreed to share his insights into a range of crunchy issues facing the project delivery profession. When he delivered his talk to our community in 2019 it was one of our most popular! It provided a perspective that many hadn’t considered before. We are delighted to welcome him back so we can dig a little deeper.
Dave Snowden is CSO and Founder of Cognitive Edge and Director of the Cynefin Centre. He has pioneered a science based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory. He is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on a range of subjects, and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style.
He holds positions as extra-ordinary Professor at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch as well as visiting Professor at the University of Hull in The Centre for Systems Studies.