What is Cynefin? In simple terms, the Cynefin framework is to help us evaluate different situations. It helps us realize that different situations need different responses. Tough situations wear us out, and presses the panic button, limiting our ability to handle the situation. And this framework helps us find answers to problems Cynefin Framework Image result for cynefin framework Lets talk about the 5 sections of the framework ( let's not forget the brown section in middle) Obvious (formerly known as Simple) is the domain of best practices. Here both cause and effect are known Problems are well understood and solutions are evident. Solving problems requires minimal expertise. These problems have pre-defined solutions The correct approach is to sense the situation, categorize it into a known bucket, and apply a well-known, and potentially known, solution. Complicated is the domain of good practices. Here you probe cause that leads to effect You have a general idea of the problem statement — you likely know the what and how you need to answer. Assessing the situation requires expertise to determine answer. With time,you identify known risk and devise a mitigation plan. Sense the problem and analyze. Apply expert knowledge to assess the situation and determine a course of action. Execute the plan. Complex is the domain of emergent solutions, and you have sense of cause and effect There are unknown unknowns — you don’t even know the right questions to ask. Even beginning to understand the problem requires experimentation. The final solution is only apparent once discovered.Not mandate that you will be able to identify risk associated and find solution for same Develop and experiment to gather more knowledge. As you gather more knowledge, determine your next steps. Output of one step might become input for upcoming step Chaotic is the domain where there is no relation between Cause and Effect As the name implies, this is where things get a bit hay wire. Example: Production defects. Your initial focus is to correct the problem and contain the issue. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, you take a breath and determine a real solution. Triage. Once you have a measure of control, assess the situation and determine next steps. Take action to mitigate or move your problem to another domain. Disorder is the section in the middle. If you are lost, you’re in “Disorder.” Priority one is to find and analyse current situation Gather more info on what you know or identify what you don’t know. Get enough info to move to a more defined domain. The Fitment Now the question arises how does this fit in world of agile/kanban. Well one the biggest problem we talk about is Uncertainty and essence of agile is to provide solution and consistently deliver working software. Given uncertainty like product, technology and changing customer needs, this gives us a framework to categorize the problems and find apt keys. Example - We can use this framework for user story splitting. Obvious - User stories which are most valuable and have least risk involved Complicated - Not all the user stories are known, implement ones which are known and wait for more information Complex - Stories which can only be implemented post success or output generated by spikes Chaotic - Nothing much is known about them, and they are just placeholder features/stories and no immediate action is needed and Disordered - We still need to figure out what needs to be done in this domain. Similarly we can group company policies and cultural aspects and find best solution for them So, the framework not only tells you how to approach a set of different situations, but also help us recognize the situation in which we currently are. Hence key take away is to find optimal situation that works best for your problem!!