martes, 24 de julio de 2018

The Meddlers

I guess the Meddlers game is nothing new to most of the followers of Management 3.0. I actually found out about this game some years ago, but it was this year, when participating in a course from Angel Medinilla (Improvement21) that I became fully aware of the power and significance the Meddlers game can reach!
Concerning organizational structures, through our working experience in traditional enterprises most of us have a legacy background, which for the most part implies a hierarchical layout. 

Next they have the link Meddlers, of the original dynamics with its explanation:

The awesome thing about the Meddlers game is that it brings the participants to look at organizational structure from a completely different perspective: instead of hierarchical frameworks, we apply fractal principles!
Fractals (from chaos theory) have the same properties at all scales.That also means the same communication overhead at all scales!
That’s why organization experts aim for organizational designs following fractal principles: by applying fractal patterns we are able to scale our organizations without being bogged down by bureaucracy.
When playing the Meddlers game, it is important to differentiate between participants with IT background or the ones coming from different sectors. This is the reason that Management 3.0 has created two different versions of the Meddlers game: you might play the earlier version with clearly defined IT and Agile roles…

…or you might take the new one, where the roles (represented by hats) ought to be defined by the players, depending on the working area they would like to simulate (services, finances, HR…).
We always begin the exercise with a simple scenario: the players should define a business unit with 10 people in the team for 1 client and 1 project. Here we concentrate mainly on the development team setup.
In a second step, we increase the complexity, asking the participants to grow the business unit up to 18 people but this time for 2 projects in the same client. Now the connexion of tiles begins playing a central role!

The big challenge comes up when we ask the participants to adapt the business unit to manage five projects at the same time, for three clients, with the same amount of people.
Now tiles and hats are moving around, and it is fascinating to observe the interactions and discussion coming out of the participants!
Whenever time is available, maybe the participants want to try something completely different, like designing with the Meddlers the digital web department of a retail fashion company!


The Meddlers game is probably one of the most effective ways to simulate the emergence of new business units, supporting the players to adopt a different perspective, away from hierarchical structures, more into fractal patterns.
I personally bring Meddlers with me when I coach companies which are seeking an Agile transformation. It is amazing to observe what comes out when you apply the Meddlers in the context of a Business Agility consultancy!

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