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23 Jul 2012

Causal Loop Diagram


What is the Causal Loop Diagram (CLD) ? I m actually working in my Management 3.0 training that I will give this autumn in Europe and maybe in North Africa. So I decided that while I prepare my training, I will give you some premise on my training contents.

Ohh by the way, I give my training in French, English and Italian 🙂

The wiki definition is :

A causal loop diagram (CLD) is a causal diagram that aids in visualizing how interrelated variables affect one another. The diagram consists of a set of nodes representing the variables connected together. The relationships between these variables, represented by arrows, can be labelled as positive or negative.

It is a great tool, to understand how a system work. A simple positive example could be a banking account and the interest rate :

Now if we use the same model to understand how a project is working, we come out with a complex system where people and system work together to adapt to a changing environment, it is what we call a network of people who interact together for their own purpose and produce values that stakeholders consumes values

Jurgen Appelo in his blog present the Law of Requisite Variety calls also the Ashby’s Law :

“If a system is to be stable the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled.”

In other words, to survive a system must have an internal model that reflects the variety it encounters in the world outside.

I like this model, I think, most manager should think more about that, before considering the project like a linear recipe where all the project should work. A software project is very complex and should resolve with complex thinking.

It let me thinking about an example I had a few moths ago on a large European company. I was hired to train them to understand Agile, Scrum and how to work as a self-organized team.

I ask the manager, if there was some training for the management too ? They told me there was something call “Black Belt” and all the manager needed to keep project statics on how long it took to make each component. 

I laugh on my head, great they try to explain the teams how to work on a network of people and in the other hand they try to resolve complexity by linear formula. 

After a few month, they told me they where maybe interesting about my Management 3.0 training. Great they understand fast. They are smart in this part of the world.

If you like to have more info, please go to Jurgen Appelo blog “It Takes Complexity to Handle Complexity“, there is plenty of other interesting links about the subject.

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