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Jurgen Appelo calls himself a creative networker. But sometimes he's a writer, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, illustrator, manager, blogger, reader, dreamer, leader, freethinker, or… Dutch guy. Since 2008 Jurgen writes a popular blog at www.noop.nl, covering the creative economy, agile management, and personal development. He is the author of the book Management 3.0, which describes the role of the manager in agile organizations. And he wrote the little book How to Change the World, which describes a supermodel for change management. Jurgen is CEO of the business network Happy Melly, and co-founder of the Agile Lean Europe network and the Stoos Network. He is also a speaker who is regularly invited to talk at business seminars and conferences around the world. After studying Software Engineering at the Delft University of Technology, and earning his Master’s degree in 1994, Jurgen Appelo has busied himself starting up and leading a variety of Dutch businesses, always in the position of team leader, manager, or executive. Jurgen has experience in leading a horde of 100 software developers, development managers, project managers, business consultants, service managers, and kangaroos, some of which he hired accidentally. Nowadays he works full-time managing the Happy Melly ecosystem, developing innovative courseware, books, and other types of original content. But sometimes Jurgen puts it all aside to spend time on his ever-growing collection of science fiction and fantasy literature, which he stacks in a self-designed book case. It is 4 meters high. Jurgen lives in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) -- and in Brussels (Belgium) -- with his partner Raoul. He has two kids, and an imaginary hamster called George. Jurgen has posted 145 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Many Simple Models over One Complicated Model

12.28.2012
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Complicated-modelI see it again and again.

When they have invested time and energy in a model (tool, framework, method), people have a tendency to make their models more and more complicated. “Let’s add another dimension.” “Let’s deepen the domains.” “Let’s add some columns or swim lanes.” “Let’s draw an extra diagram.”

But complexity thinkers know better. They understand you need different approaches for different contexts. It is better to apply different models to different problems.

Each systems approach is useful for certain purposes and in particular types of problem situation. A diversity of approaches, therefore, heralds not a crisis but increased competence in a variety of problem contexts.

- Michael C. Jackson, Systems Thinking

This means it makes more sense to use multiple simple models instead of one complicated model. Having a toolkit of methods and frameworks, which each fail in their own way, is a smarter approach than relying on one method or framework to deal with all situations.

Complexity itself is anti-methodology. It is against "one size fits all."

- Tom Petzinger, Interaction of Complexity and Management

Of course, it’s very human to hold on to the model you had already invested in. In behavioral economics it’s called the endowment effect. We value more what we already have, because we own it. It’s irrational, but natural. And especially those who have created their own method or framework, will usually cling on to it like Bashar Hafez al-Assad to his presidential chair.

The more work you put into something, the more ownership you begin to feel for it.

- Daniel Ariely, Predictably Irrational

It makes sense to realize that holding on to your favorite method or framework is predictably irrational. The sensible thing to do is to invest in multiple models, and multiple approaches.

Don’t extend your diagram to accommodate an extra dimension. Just erase it, and start from scratch.

(image: House Democrats' Health Plan)

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Jurgen Appelo. (source)

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