Tackling the Sneaky Beast: Organizational Debt

Illustration depicting organizational debt as a monster under the bedIf you missed the recent video/pod conversation between Chris Murman, Mike Caddell, and me, don’t worry—I’ve got the inside scoop for you. We delved into the enigmatic world of organizational debt, and let me tell you, it’s like that sneaky monster under your bed. You don’t see it, but it’s there, lurking.

Part 1: The Organizational Debt Monster Revealed

We kicked things off by defining what organizational debt actually is, at least to us. Think of it as the accumulation of all those little quirks, outdated processes, and unresolved conflicts in your organization. It’s the forgotten sticky notes, the pointless meetings, and those “that’s how we’ve always done it” moments.

We dug deep into the impact of organizational debt, from slowing down decision-making to stifling innovation. It’s like carrying a backpack full of rocks while trying to sprint a marathon, like working in a code base haunted by its first cousin: technical debt. I made a point about how org debt can feel like scar tissue—tiny paper cuts turning into over-the-top reactions and recurring, unproductive meetings that haunt your calendar.

We've always done it this way? Alright, fine, we're not doing that anymore - Mike Caddell Share on X

Part 2: The Quest to Defeat the Monster

We rolled up our sleeves and discussed how to tackle this organizational debt beast. Chris shared a hilarious story of having to send overly detailed Friday status emails forever after a minor hiccup. Who hasn’t been there? It’s the classic case of the punishment not fitting the crime. We’ve all felt that shame.

Mike dropped some wisdom bombs, suggesting that if you feel the urge to set up yet another meeting or process, pause! Don’t let it become a recurring nightmare. And here’s my favorite Mike-ism: “We’ve always done it this way? Alright, fine, we’re not doing that anymore.” Brilliant.

Chris wrapped it up by calling for more community dialogue on organizational debt. He’s right; we need to shine a spotlight on this issue because, let’s face it, the rate of change in our Agile world is faster than a cat on a hot tin roof (I’m going for most metaphors in a single blog post). We need to understand, quantify, and tackle this beast together.

So, friends, the next time you hear someone mutter, “We’ve always done it this way,” remember that’s your cue to step up and say, “Enough is enough! Time for some good change

Keep the Conversation about Organizational Debt Going

Organizational debt is the result of all the decisions and actions that should have been done to ensure an organization is operating at peak health and efficiency – but weren’t. Bülent Duagi Share on X

Let’s continue the conversation about organizational debt and figure out how to slay this monster, one hilarious meeting story at a time.

Meet up over at the Agile Uprising Discord server?

Here’s the full conversation

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