Willem has written up the CALMalpha event. This morning we did an exercise called “Ritual Dissent” whereby someone presented an idea and everyone at the table ripped into it as viscously as they could.( In real options, we call this “break the model” but do it in a nicer way. ) I intend to do just that to the CALMalpha event in the hope that future events will be better.
I did not learn anthing at the CALMalpha event. Which means for me it was a bust. A total failure. So bad in fact that I decided to leave early to pick up my kids.
The Cynefin model seems to have two major components… complexity and narrative. I named my company “Emergent Behaviour” six years ago which should tell you I had my head turned by complexity some time before that. The conversation became interesting whenever it moved in the direction of narrative. Everytime the conversation started to mention narrative, we were reminded that the material was patented and it stopped dead. Whenever someone asked about running an exercise, we were reminded this was not a training course. I was there to learn but no one was providing options to learn. I was asked to ask for sessions but the thing is, I needed an expert to guide me and present me with the learning options. There were no options. (I think this may have changed after I left)
Cynefin reminds me of DSDM before it realised it had to open source its best bits. I wondered whether the Cynefin business model was copied from the Scientologists… or whether they helped the Scientologists develop their ontologists.
I envy Willem in that he found someone who was using Cynefin. I met quite a few who had done lots of training but no one who had used it in anger.
I was looking forward to enjoying a new kind of conference organised by the expert party organisers. I deliberately maintained a relatively low key prescence. Like Willem I did not want to guide the event. The reality was I felt like a passenger in Simon’s car when he first went on the skidpan. Years ago my short story teacher told me “the reader can be confused, but the writer must never be confused. The writer should allways be in control.” I did not have a sense that the organisers were in control. We had discussions about Cynefin and Agile/Lean before some of the participants knew what they were about.I still don’t feel I know what it is about.
It was clear the organiser had an intent. They just did not want to share it. Next time, they should.
There was a mono-culture at the event that it was hard to challenge. The idea was that Agile and Lean could be improved by Cynefin. No one dared to suggest that Cynefin could be improved by Agile or Lean. Even Agile20xx has a tutorial day to bring everyone up to a base level of conversation before conference starts.
Cynefin should use fewer syllables and more common sense.
I enjoyed the event much more on twitter after I left than I did when I was attending.
Until the Cynefin team decide to share their best stuff, this CALM stuff is simply marketing to benefit cognitive-edge but marketing paid for by the attendees.
I would like to thank Simon and Karl and Joseph and Dave and Saffron and the guy in the orange jumper for attempting this. For trying something different.
A wise man once said “I’ll say that this Cynefin Lean Agile Mashup is never going to amount to a hill of beans. Please move along. Nothing to see here.” I’m gonna take his advise.