Organizational debt, DevOps and OpenSource

A debt is a debt, it’s something you acquire to be able to acquire other capabilities or values in a market, product, behavior… Every company have this type of debt with more or less exposure.

organizational-debtThis debt can be excess of organization (typically a big company) or lack of organization (commonly a start-up). Companies acquire debt to be more competitive: more speed of execution, less price per product,…

Organizational Debt: The interest companies pay when their structure and policies stay fixed and/or accumulate as the world changes.


The worst problem of organizational debt is that the people running the company does not know it. The second problem is that they know the issue and they kick it forward, increasing the debt. The third big problem is the lack of action. If some of these reasons are affecting a company, it’s basically because it’s run by incompetent people and they will disappear sooner or later.

Apart of that, the typical “debts” acquired by companies are:

  1. Obsolescence: use of old fashion processes and methodologies, with respect the market conditions.
  2. Accumulation: too much roles, too much review processes, too much people… again with respect the market conditions.
  3. Bad behavior of leaders and employees: No one trust each other, fear, people act in a defensive way.

For instance, DevOps is a culture supported by some automation tools that if it’s well implemented, we will have the opportunity to remove organizational and technical debt:

  • Organizational debt: due to the fact that some processes will be more agile. The challenge here is that the organization has to acquire them and be able to adapt to them (this is the hard side of DevOps).
  • Technical debt: due to the use of automation tools that will remove obsolete tools or manual scripts that makes the speed of execution to be lower.

To me, DevOps has more positive impact on organizational debt than on technical debt.

Open Source is also contributing significantly to the debt reduction, specially the technical debt. You have other organizations implementing solutions that you can use in your organization with low price. If your organization is agile enough to use them, you will be able to reduce the level of exposure of these lack of technological need. If you do not have this ability, you will have to acquire a service/product (increasing financial debt) or even worst: you will have to implement by yourself.

The destruction that goes beyond

Business leaders who adopt the attitude that anyone is replaceable, thinking they can simply hire someone with a greater skill set or someone with a more prestigious pedigree, are fooling themselves.

best-resourceThere are some employees that cannot be replaced, and that when they disappear from the company, they carry with them value that simply cannot be replaced:

  • They carry their extensive knowledge on products, systems, and processes.
  • They carry their customer relationships that have been built over many years.
  • They carry their camaraderie and influence with their coworkers, which when lost, has an impact on the corporate/company’s culture within.

When the destruction of an organization reaches some levels, this will not be the same anymore.

Who knows, maybe this is the goal of such destruction.

Act as a change agent

If you want to survive in this organization and this industry, make sure you are acting as a change agent.


Keep track on changes that are happening from business perspective and on technology, adopt changes as a natural process of evolution.

Lose the habit

The habits you have in a regular basis are there for months. One of the main things that happens during vacations is that you stop some of these habits. It’s a liberating process where you focus on different activities and enjoy different things.

Review these habits, think about them, determine new goals, new challenges and new habits is something important that enables you to face the next period of busy activities with a clear direction about where and how to go to your goals.

To stop writing in this blog during December was one of these habits loose.

The innumeracy and its consequences

An innumerate is a person unfamiliar with mathematical concepts and methods; unable to use mathematics; not numerate.

For instance, the advertisement “The day without  21% VAT!!”, in reality the product price does not decrease 21%, it just decrease 17,36%. In the advertisement it is always shown the 21% making you to believe that the discount is a 21% discount.

It’s very easy to manipulate the opinion of the receivers of the information with the same data shown in a different way. We can see this every day in the newspapers, tv news and unfortunately on the politician comments.

In PMO and project reporting there is a extended parameters that clearly shows you the finance/schedule status of a project, so in this area the risk of innumeracy is lower.

In corporate reporting, when you go far away of the finance closing reports, you can fall into the trap of the secondary reports that tries to show specific perspectives of a trend or situation of the business. You need to understand the filters and manipulation done to the figures and have a good amount of historic data to confirm or refute the chart.

There are thousand ways to mislead people with numbers, you need to fight against your own innumeracy continually.

Fitness ball

I continue making changes in the way I work, this time a change in the office for improve the ergonomic aspects of my day to day.

Before start, to find the right size for a 192 cm person was not easy at all. The second hurdle was to blow-up with the right pressure so the position is the right one.

Once done, this is how it’s evolving:

  • First days, I have been looking for balance, feeling weird sited on the ball, trying to cross the legs with more or less success.
  • 3 months later: I have learned to keep the back straight and the shoulders relaxed. Sometimes I lose the posture and I use to balance myself back and forward or from one side to other to remind that I need to be in the right posture. Some days I changed to the seat, and now it’s weird.


Is this fraud?

After reading Flash Boys, I am interested about how the battle about “who is the faster one” evolves.

This is what happens if you are a domestic trader:

flash-boys-working There are people that argues that the stock market is wrong, that it is not a fair market. There are other people which opinion is that this unfairness is there since the first day the market is there.