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Friday, April 21 • 08:30 - 09:15
Moving from technical debt to organizational health through systems thinking (Declan Whelan)

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Most of us have worked in situations where a large amount of effort is spent addressing defects, support calls and technical debt. I recently worked with one team where they estimated that only 20% of their time was devoted to new value work and 80% of that effort was spent working around the technical debt. In other words they are operating at less than 5% of their potential.
How does code get into such horrible shape? The pattern seems pervasive enough that an appeal to craftsmanship is insufficient. I believe that there are larger systemic forces at play.
In this talk, I will present technical debt, not as a problem but as a measure. It is a measure of the technical health of your organization. Large technical debt is analogous to high blood pressure. Addressing high blood pressure likely entails a lifestyle change involving diet, exercise and so on. Addressing the symptom of technical debt will similarly shed light on organizational changes such as hiring practices, optimizing for project delivery over sustainable product development and so on.

Learning Outcomes:
  • deeper understanding of the root causes of technical debt
  • appreciation of the connections between value streams, organizational structure and technical health
  • insights into improving technical health in your organization

avatar for Declan Whelan

Declan Whelan

Helping organizations improve value steams and their organizational structure.

Friday April 21, 2017 08:30 - 09:15 EDT