Welcome to the digest #4 of my “Technical Leadership and Architecture insights” (or TLA_insights for short).


This is a long overdue “digest”… this delay is mostly caused by quite some other activities going on. Nevertheless, here it is a “digest” of four records I added over the last few months to my TLA_insights: two on Product Thinking and two on Systems Thinking. These are entries that contain a lot of very interesting insights.

Most of these entries are direct references and preparation materials for several talks and articles I worked on over the past 2-3 months. Namely, my Domain-Driven Design Europe (DDD EU) talk on “Sociotechnical Architecture as Enabler of Product Thinking” and a talk I gave for DevOps Lisbon Meetup entitled “Evolving Tech-enabled Orgs Using Sociotechnical Architecture”. I had a lot of fun on these two talks and there are a lot of interesting discussions and follow-up activities. I want to highlight one, namely an interview for InfoQ with Manuel Pais (co-author from Team Topologies), which was placed as a follow-up from the DevOps Lisbon talk. In this interview we go into the subject of why DevOps is Not Enough for Scaling and Evolving Tech-enabled Organizations, and what other things we need to consider to address that. I have published a new article on Sociotechnical Architecture and have two others being prepared on the same topic, so stay tuned for more.

I hope you enjoy these four entries! If you found this issue interesting or useful make sure to subscribe to the newsletter or follow-me on twitter so you get notified of new records in these and other topics. I hope you have fun and find some interesting insights here. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or want to chat about these topics.

TLA_insights digest #4 - System Thinking & Product Thinking

light On Systems Thinking, Russell Ackoff

Review of a short talk "On Systems Thinking" by Russel Ackoff. Ackhoff is a well known figure in the systems thinking world and this talk is a great 15 minutes 101 on Systems Thinking.

Systems Thinking opens the doors to actually design “what we want”, not “what we don’t want” (in local parts of the system). This is key as a system is not the sum of the behaviors of its parts, but the product of its interactions. (Ackoff).

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light Good Fences Make Good Neighbours, Trond Hjorteland

Review of article by Trond Hjorteland on the importance of defining the appropriate teams and technical systems boundaries. This can only be achieved by having an holistic approach to what we want to accomplish on the system that "contains" the parts (i.e.: systems thinking approach). Failing to do so will lead to local optimizations and not having "good neighbors" (and as such not optimizing the effectiveness of the systems).

An harmonious sociotechnical system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts cannot be reached without some holistic design. Random and uncontrolled emergence will not necessarily give that desired result on its own because the old machine model where the system is deterministically defined by its part does not suffice. (Trond Hjorteland)

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light Product Thinking 101, Naren Katakam

Article from Naren Katakam that provides a quick, clear and pragmatic introduction the the main aspects behind "Product Thinking", namely: What is it, Why it is important; and How to cultivate it. This is a great article for people that want to quickly grasp the main elements at play in product thinking and furthermore get some useful pointers on how to start on it (i.e.: it makes justice to its name and truly is a nice 101 to product thinking).

Product thinking is about starting from the customer (problem space), understand it and from that create strong “testable hypothesis” to drive (and validate) the building of the product in the “solution space”.

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light Escaping the Build Trap, Melissa Perri

Review of the Book "Escaping the Build Trap" by Melissa Perri. This is one of my to-go resources to position Product Thinking and Product Management and all the core elements we must consider to set up product-led organizations for success.

From output to outcome; from shipping (large amounts of) features to discover (“Why”) the ways (“What”) maximizes the value exchange with the customer, by enabling product teams to continuously do that.

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