Complexity In Context

I watched a great presentation from Dave Snowden called “How Not To Manage Complexity” (State OF The Net 2013).

In this series of posts, I take quotes & ideas from the talk I found memorable & attempt to apply them to the world of software development. I do this in order to share & hopefully improve my ideas on complexity.


I am new to Complexity & Systems Thinking so this talk was really profound for me. I’m writing the posts to put the ideas in my own words in order to get my head around them.

The upcoming posts I currently have from this talk include:

Lets see how we get on…


Supporting stuff

Here are some links I’ve found which bolster my learning. They are not directly referenced in this series (yet)

Tacit Knowledge (State Of The Net 2012) Dave Snowden talk

Combining Complexity Theory With Narrative Research Dave Snowden talk

Managing Under Conditions of Uncertainty (State Of The Net 2014) Dave Snowden talk

An Introduction to General Systems Thinking Book

Complex System Wiki

Drivers & Modulators Blog post

Five differences between Complexity & Systems Thinking Blog post

Complexity, Chaos & Creativity – A Journey Beyond System Thinking Blog post

11 reasons why computers can’t understand or solve our problems without human judgement  Blog post

Exploratory Testing 3.0 Blog post



Some additional videos/lectures that have helped me with complexity (particularly in relation to Cynefin)

Complexity Theory & Cynefin:


Complexity vs Lean the big showdown