1.2 Why Care About Systems Thinking?
It feels like every day, the world is becoming more complex. New tools, technologies, frameworks and libraries come out every day. It feels impossible to keep up with the changes. Business models continue to evolve spurred on by the adoption of new technologies and interfaces. It was only a short time ago that many people weren't even carrying around powerful computers in their pockets (AKA smartphones)!
As a technical leader, you're not only trying to stay abreast of trends in technology, you're also trying to understand best ways of working that involves everything from organisational design and leading teams of people. How do you accomplish this?
With Systems Thinking of course!
Systems Thinking offers you a way of seeing what others don't see. Understanding how tools, technologies, organisations and people connect to form a complex web is the key to having a large impact. I see Systems Thinking as a set of concepts you can use to understand and influence systems over time. We'll look at how other people describe this in 2.1 Introducing Systems Thinking. Examples of systems include organisation structures, processes, communication between two or more people and naturally software systems.
By drawing on the concepts provided by Systems Thinking, you can have a much greater impact. I don't know of any technical leaders who wouldn't want that. You can use these thinking tools if you are still hands-on, writing code, or if you are leading and managing a team or large organisation. If you're a consultant or a coach, these tools give you the ability to trigger lasting, transformational change.
Unfortunately these concepts are rarely taught. I don't know of any school or university that makes Systems Thinking a foundational course. Yet when you learn about them, you probably won't be able to stop seeing the rich tapestry of interconnected systems. These tools won't only help you in your professional life, they can also help you improve your personal life as well.
By studying this course, applying these concepts, you will have a better way to study, analyse and improve systems. These tools will also give you a significant advantage over other technical leaders who have never studied Systems Thinking. You will be able to do more with less. You will be able to systematically fix issues and be better equipped to adapt to a rapidly changing world.
Enjoy the journey you're about to begin. I've personally benefited from learning about Systems Thinking early on my career and I hope you can benefit from it too.