Cover page by Jurgen Appelo

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Chapter 4. The Information-Innovation System

When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, “It’s in the script.” If he says, “But what’s my motivation?” I say, “Your salary.”

—Alfred Hitchcock, filmmaker (1899–1980)

Software projects are complex adaptive systems. It is a view shared by many software development experts and Agile/Lean evangelists. But what makes those systems work?

M. Mitchell Waldrop, author of Complexity: the Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, describes that systems composed of “agents” are at the heart of every discussion at the Santa Fe Institute, the world’s leading institute on complexity science. These agents can be molecules, or neurons, or web servers, or fish, or people, always ...

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