Welcome to From Software to Systems

Over the last 40 years, we’ve built a vast landscape of software. Software manages seemingly-infinite digital interactions. Our phone is a pocketbook full of software. Software structures infrastructure for software.

Relational complexity is running riot. As software becomes interrelated systems of software, organizations who rely on those relationships (which is almost everyone) undertake “digital transformations.”

“In 2016, Forbes assessed the risk of failure in digital transformation to be 84%. According to McKinsey, BCG, KPMG and Bain & Company, the risk of failure falls somewhere between 70% and 95%”

– Block, Corrie. 12 Reasons Your Digital Transformation Will Fail. Forbes, March 16, 2022.

Our traditional, linear approaches – rational, top down, procedural, predictable and concerned with control – are holding us back. Transformation is a shift in paradigm – it emerges when we think and act differently.

To build systems, we need to think in systems; we need to think nonlinearly.

Each week, you’ll receive resources for exploring nonlinear thinking and approaches. You’ll learn from experienced systems thinkers working inside, and outside, technology. The goal is to transform ourselves and how we learn, communicate, and collaborate with others.

  • Improve architectural decision making by thinking well, together.
  • Contribute to (and lead) emergent architectural initiatives as software scales to systems of software.
  • Give well-reasoned and trustworthy technology recommendations.
  • Improve the culture of the industry and encourage more diverse perspectives.

Small changes in the way we think and communicate scale to big changes – and increase our impact as individual contributors, teams and systems leaders.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

by Donella Meadows

This book is a great starting place for building a vocabulary for thinking (and talking) about systems. It show readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.

The Hard Skills? Practices for Systems Leaders.

by Diana Montalion via Virtual DDD

The linear way we’ve been taught to think — predictable, rational, repeatable, top down, dualistic – primarily concerned with control — doesn’t help us resolve systemic challenges. This participatory talk covers essential nonlinear skills and practices for IT professionals.

Beyond Coding Podcast: Systems Thinking

hosted by Patrick Akil

Knowing what to create for users, in the context they are in, requires a way of thinking we’re not used to: systems thinking, or non-linear thinking. But we do and then adapt the software we create, we open up opportunities that weren’t there before.

Listen on Spotify or Apple Podcast or Google Podcast or Audible or Anchor watch on Youtube (button below).

Technical Leadership Masterclass

October 27 and November 3rd, 2022

taught by Ruth Malan

Technical leaders guide decisions that are of great consequence both to the business and development teams. Before we can lead others, we first need to have self-awareness, confidence and humility. The emphasis of this masterclass is on technical leadership in the context of complex socio-technical systems. Preview course materials.

You think that because you understand “one” that you must therefore understand “two” because one and one make two. But you forget that you must also understand “and.”

Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems

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Writing as Thinking

and learning and leading

January 19 – March 16, 2023

Thursdays for one hour
at Noon ET, 5pm GMT, 6pm CET, 9am PT

Writing as Thinking is an eight-week course for technologists — introducing writing practices for thinking, learning and leading.

Well-reasoned writing transforms disparate thoughts into meaningful action. In this course, you’ll practice writing in ways that help you:

cultivate self awareness
strengthen your recommendations
learn from other people’s expertise
effectively lead knowledge work

Learn more about this course.

The course fee is $499.
The initial (beta) course is on sale for $249. 

Why am I receiving this newsletter?

You may have been subscribed after seeing a talk or attending a workshop given by Diana Montalion. You may have subscribed to Architecting Enterprise or Mentrix Group updates – both are now merged into this newsletter.

We hope you will enjoy and value this weekly curated list of books, talks, courses, podcasts and more. However, we only want you to receive correspondence you welcome! So if you’d like to unsubscribe, please use this link in the footer of your email.

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