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Cynefin Framework: Disorder in Healthcare

During the last several blogs, we talked about the Cynefin framework and its four types of projects: Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic.

The Cynefin framework is used to help project managers, policy makers and others reach decisions on how to execute based upon how well you know your end result. The framework consists of five decision making contexts of domains: simple, complicated, complex, chaotic and disorder.

All of which provide guidance and direction for managers to identify how they will need to proceed with execution.

However, do you know which domain all projects start in, that is correct – Disorder.  Until the project manager understands the needs and demands of the project, there is disorder.

The only way out of this domain is to break parts of a project into known domains.  For example if the business leaders cannot agree on the tenants of the project, that would be a good place to start.

For as good project managers we know how to gather requirements. So perhaps we start with a visioning work session where decision makers come together and agree on the vision of the project and several critical success factors of the project.

Once critical success factors are identified, and agreed to, individual use cases can be developed for a specific critical success factor. Now we have clear demands of the project.

By doing this we have partitioned a portion of disorder into a known domain – complicated perhaps, where solid analysis can begin on the defined use case(s).

Research to determine the best technical solution can begin based upon the defined vision, critical success factors and use cases.

To reiterate, Cynefin will guide a project manager to the appropriate domain based upon project need and objectives. The key is to break the project down into small enough components where these components can be isolated and assigned to one of the four known domains.

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