Presented by Jurgen Appelo


Agile software development is (in part) based on the idea that software teams are complex adaptive systems, and many experts have borrowed terms from complexity theory (“self organization”, “emergence”). But what is the difference is between complexity thinking and lean thinking? Is there a difference at all? How do Complexity and Lean “see” each other?

Format and length: 60 mins presentation

Intended audience and prerequisites:

anyone with at least a little agile experience

Objective(s) of the session:

The author’s upcoming book about complexity science and team management made him think a lot about topics like these.

For example: Lean preaches “optimize the whole” and then translates this to optimization of the value chain. However, complexity science shows us a value chain is an example of linear thinking, which usually leads to sub-optimization of the whole organization. In this talk I present the concepts of complexity theory, and how this relates to Lean thinking. I will then try and “challenge” a few basic assumptions in Lean software development as a Devil’s Advocate.

And then the audience should participate in a discussion about whether there is any truth in my outrageous claims. :)

Benefits, for the participants and the presenters

learn about the differences between complexity thinking and lean thinking