Never mind technical debt. How big is your decision debt?
As a developer we often think about technical debt.
Technical debt is a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution.
ie We take shortcuts to get code live fast. Short term this can make sense, but over the long term the increased technical debt and can be very costly.
Moving over from development to management you may get more authority to decide how big to let your technical debt become. If you’re lucky and skilful and stick to your principals you may be able to force technical debt to be taken seriously and make sure it doesn’t get to high.
Take care, you may not notice another type of debt that is sneaking up on you: Decision Debt
The article The Keys to Scaling Yourself as a Technology Leader highlights this and asks the question: Are you super busy and feeling productive about all those countless decisions you made? If yes, are you really adding value? Perhaps “it’s just a sign that shit is rolling up hill to you too quickly.”
“As a leader, you can’t make decisions as fast as you’re faced with them. You’ll just accrue decision debt and think it’s your job to get out of it by making decisions faster and faster. Instead, make it your job to build structure so decision debt doesn’t accrue in the first place.”
One of the key ways of avoiding this is to ensure that there are clear roles and responsibilities. This does not mean a big fixed and bureaucratic HR structure. The roles should be temporary and flexible. For further details check out Citizen Code: Self Organizing Constitution.
- Can you think of one decision that you could have delegated today?
- Can you think of the general case so that you could delegate all such future decisions?
- Are your roles and responsibilities clearly defined in terms of decision making authority?