Tracking the Team

Hey look – it’s a place holder for a blog post on tracking and improving team vitality!

“Tracking” in my idiom encompasses a small universe of skills and mindsets centered but not limited to nature observation.

Tracking can first point your attention to the tracks and sign of animals and other living beings, but eventually it leads you to  an observation and understand of all forces and flows that move through the world.

The modern theory base of this is rooted in the complexity sciences.

Constructal Law.

Flow Systems. All flow systems move in designs. All flow systems are alive. Given sufficient freedom to adapt, they will evolve to persist in time. When flows no longer move through the system the flow system dies, fossilize and/or are metabolized by other systems. This applies to river deltas, human bodies, ocean currents, erosion, language, scientific knowledge. Everything! (See Design in Nature and the Physics of Life)

Waves and fissures – the discoidal fracture. Vascularization of space. Tissue. Rain falling on an area in the negative spaces and the channels.

To help a flow system to persist in time – to live and thrive – give it sufficient degrees of freedom to evenly distribute its tensions throughout its configuration (resolving stress points).

Stress points – Laminar flow vs. turbulence. Turbulence occurs at borders, boundaries, and in zones of resistance or poorly fit structure

Three skills from easiest to hardest:

  • Seeing the Complex System
  • Understanding the Complex System
  • Influencing the Complex System

Tracking Toolkit – Tools for Seeing and Understanding the System

-Mapping tensions/stresses/turbulence by graphing sound and movement – crescendos and decrescendos.

-Mapping tensions/stresses/turbulence by mapping the topography and ecosystem and sound and movement upon it via concentric rings.

-Zone of disturbance and Zone of Awareness determine your capacity to see beyond your own disturbance.

-Give yourself sufficient degrees of freedom to distribute resistance throughout the flow configuration of your life and your body. Some specific approaches –

-Shrink your Zone of Disturbance via Fox Walking, the Silence, and responding to body language (first moments of sound and movement) (‘the Routine of Invisibility’)

-Tunnel Vision predatory gaze vs. Wide Angle Vision prey gaze

-Expand your Zone of Awareness via:

-Looking for Dead Space

-Arriving first (sit spot)

-Wide Angle Vision

-Sincere Curiosity about the world – colors, space, sounds, smells, feelings.

-Thankfulness (upright mind; Retrospective Prime Directive; Generous Interpretation)

-the Question: What happened here? What is this telling me? What experiment do I do next? (act-reflect-adapt retro cycle in miniature)


What the Robin Knows by Jon Young (bird language)

Tom Brown’s Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking

Human Systems Dynamics by Glenda Eoyang, Ph.D. (

Constructal Law theories as first proposed by Adrian Bejan

-Design In Nature

-Physics of Life


Add yours →

  1. I look forward to seeing this fleshed out in more detail. Your session on tracking at RFG 2013 was illuminating for me and the impetus for my Agile 2014 session on Stalking Agile Success. I continue to use these ideas and look for more to help organizations understand whether or not their software development efforts are producing the effects they want.


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