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Cynefin Workshop for Agile Teams with Dave Snowden – Chicago, IL

Cynefin-Informed Agile Development

Facilitators: Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge in partnership with Agile coaches / consultants from nuCognitive will facilitate this course.

Course Description:

While Agile practitioners value simplicity, most of their organizations struggle to maximize the amount of work not done as business environments and product ecosystems become increasingly complex and unpredictable. This is compounded by time-to-market pressure and tougher technical problems. Many organizations have decided to adopt Agile practices and values to become more responsive to changing and uncertain conditions. However, these organizations need more than a set of recipes and so called ‘best practices’ to fundamentally transform their culture.
Although the Agile Manifesto has not changed, the body of Agile knowledge continues to evolve as new advances are made. Practitioners continue to expand their understanding of what Agile means in their own contexts. The Agile community as a whole is searching for ways resolve persistent and challenging impediments including…

• How do we scale Agile?
• How do we amplify and spread an Agile culture across the whole organization?
• How do we influence and change systems we don’t own?
• How do we change our culture and measure progress?
• Why do most change initiatives fail?

The Cynefin Framework is a transformational concept that uses a situational approach to ensure effective work, decision making, and management in environments with various degrees of uncertainty and constraint. While most Agile practitioners know how approaches like Scrum and Kanban work, Cynefin explains why these methods and principles work so well in so many environments. The Cynefin Framework helps Agile practitioners to effectively tailor methods and practices for different situations. Cynefin-informed methods and practices help Agile organizations harness change and turn complex situations into a competitive advantage for customers and the business.

What Will I Learn?

At this two-day training event Professor Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge, and Daniel Walsh, nuCognive, will introduce a cohesive set of principles and methods based on the latest concepts from complexity science, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and cognitive science. These two days combines numerous practical exercises and abundant examples for a unique, refreshing approach to organizational management in highly complex situations. The workshop participants will improve their understanding of how to:

• accelerate cultural transformation and change
• build organizational resilience
• engage employees to locate latent opportunities and detect threats early
• leverage emergence to increase innovation, cross-silo knowledge transfer, and employee onboarding
• stimulate beneficial self-organization within managed constraints
• combine traditional and Agile practices appropriately based on the situation
• deal effectively with inherently uncertain situations

Workshop Overview*

Day 1: Led by Daniel Walsh, nuCognitive Founder and Principal Consultant

• Agile Development as Heuristics
• Three types of systems: ordered, complex, and chaotic
• Introduction to the Cynefin Framework
• Characteristics of complex adaptive systems
• Heuristics for managing complex adaptive systems

Continue conversations over dinner (Optional)
Day 2: Led by Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

• Advanced topics to be based on participant feedback and David Snowden’s latest work. Topics may include

• Constraints and containers
• Liminal Cynefin
• Cynefin Dynamics
• Anthro-complexity and uniqueness of human systems: identity, cognitive complexity, narrative knowledge
• Constraint Mapping for Agile Transformations
• Sense-making for Agile Teams

*Note: Day 1 will be led only by Daniel Walsh. Day 2 led by Dave Snowden with Daniel Walsh supporting
Participants will also experience and learn several practical techniques to break silo mentalities, disrupt entrenched thinking, and cope with cognitive limitations and bias. This includes…

• The Butterfly Stamped and Cynefin Contextualization – a sensemaking method for characterizing and leading in different situations
• the Future Backwards – great technique to kick off new projects or teams, goal setting, release planning, retrospectives
• Safe-to-fail intervention design – a new way to think about and approach experiments in dynamic and constantly evolving environments
• Ritual Dissent – a method for disrupting cognitive bias through rapid iteration and creating a safe environment for critical feedback which is essential for effective solutions

Who Should Attend the Course?
This training is designed for Agile practitioners, Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Product Managers, Agile coaches, project managers, people managers, architects, designers, developers, devops, and anyone else that works in constantly-evolving and dynamic situations. People who regularly deal with high-degrees of uncertainty and ambiguity should attend, as should those interested in building organizations that are resilient and innovative. This two-day Masterclass is ideal for anyone who works in an Agile environment and would like to learn powerful new approaches that enable better workplace practices.
About Cognitive Edge
Cognitive Edge was founded in 2005 with the objective of building methods, tools and capability to utilise insights from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. Founder Dave Snowden was formerly a Director in the IBM Institute for Knowledge Management where he led programmes on complexity and narrative. He is a leading keynote speaker at major conferences around the world and is known for his extensive use of stories to communicate what would otherwise be difficult concepts.  Dave Snowden has an MBA from Middlesex University and a BA in Philosophy from Lancaster University. He teaches on various university programmes throughout the world. He regularly consults at the board level with some of the world’s largest companies as well as to Government and NGOs.
About nuCognitive
At nuCognitive, we believe different ways of working are necessary to thrive in a world of increasing change, complexity, and uncertainty.  We have created and curated a cohesive set of models, methods, and practices to help clients harness complexity and change as competitive advantages. Our approach is both adaptive and exaptive, opportunistically leveraging concepts from multiple industries so that our clients can excel. We work closely with our clients to enhance and tailor these models, methods, and practices with an emphasis on situational leadership, agility, and autonomy. Our goal is to help organizations create sustainable transformations that last.

Cognitive Edge reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule the offered session.  In the event of cancelation or rescheduling, a full refund of course fees will be processed within 10 business days of cancellation or rescheduling notice.  Cancellations by registrants are only permitted with a minimum of 3 weeks notice ahead of course delivery date with refunds provided less a 10% processing fee. Substitutions are permitted at any time as well as rescheduling attendance to an alternate session within a 12 month period.

Explanation of the ticket choices:

1 If you are part of a group of four (4) or more people, then please email training@cognitive-edge.com for a group discount.

2 Premium Members get 15% discount on all training. Sign up for the Network here: Cognitive Edge network registration for a Basic membership. When you’ve done that you’ll be directed to the Network Dashboard page, click on the upgrade option to pay to become a Premium member and use the 15% discount code.

Discounts (Group, Earlybird, or other types) cannot be used cumulatively with Network Membership discounts. If you have further questions, please contact training@cognitive-edge.com


October 4, 2017 – October 5, 2017


8:30 am – 4:30 pm


From: US$1745


Illinois Institute of Technology - Downtown Campus, 565 W Adam St.
United States