Understand why tech debt surfaces and how organizational ambidexterity can help you tame this beast
In our latest article, I dive into the concept of maintaining organizational ambidexterity balance as a means to prevent tech debt from taking place, and what you can do once it’s already surfaced, threatening to slow down your team. I hope you find it insightful and enjoyable!
Back in the old days
As a leader in a SaaS/PaaS organization, you are constantly faced with the challenge of delivering results, pioneering new directions, and staying ahead in a competitive market. While concentrating on discovering new possibilities and encouraging your team to innovate (enhancing efficacy), it can be all too easy to overlook the significance of maintaining efficiency. Achieving a balance between efficacy (exploration) and efficiency (exploitation) is essential for successful organizational ambidexterity. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, here’s a brief explanation to set the context for our discussion:
Organizational ambidexterity refers to a company’s capacity to simultaneously explore and exploit opportunities for long-term growth and success. This involves striking a balance between two seemingly opposing actions: exploration (innovation, experimenting with new ideas, and pursuing new opportunities) and exploitation (optimizing existing resources, improving current processes, and emphasizing efficiency).
In essence, it is an organization’s capability to manage its existing operations effectively while also adapting to and leveraging new market opportunities, technologies, or business models. This equilibrium allows a company to remain competitive and agile in an ever-evolving business landscape.
You may recall the early days of your venture when you had a smaller team with the autonomy to make their own decisions, and the agility and responsiveness to respond to customer feedback. Adapting to change was simple and seamless. However, in your pursuit of exploration, you may have unintentionally overlooked the other aspect: exploitation.
Exploitation entails refining and optimizing your existing products, services, and processes. By neglecting to balance exploration with a focus on exploitation, your company may have accrued a significant amount of technical debt. The shortcuts taken and resources allocated to support vital revenue-generating assets have come at a cost – a cost that is now becoming increasingly apparent.
Tech debt will charge its toll
Once the cracks start to show, it becomes evident that the tech debt build-up places unnecessary burdens on your organization. Faced with mounting maintenance costs, reduced system performance, and operational inefficiencies, your capacity for exploration takes a significant hit.
As the tech debt continues to snowball, your team may struggle to respond to market changes or develop new features. Consequently, your competitors – who have managed their tech debt from the outset – have gained a considerable advantage in innovation and agility.
Time for a Change: how organizational ambidexterity can help?
At this point, I bet you’ve grasped the concept. This is not an uncommon business journey, and if you’re still with me, you can likely feel the weight of tech debt burdening your organization.
The good news is that it’s not too late to steer your digital product back on track toward sustainable growth. Organizational ambidexterity can come to your rescue, and there are several steps you can take:
- Review your processes: If the phrase “everything is important, but nothing is getting done” rings a bell, it may be time to revisit how your teams are operating. Teams with inefficient processes are unlikely to effectively address tech debt. Additionally, it’s crucial to develop and embed mechanisms within your processes that help manage and keep tech debt under control.
- Assess architecture and technologies: Decisions made in the past might no longer be the best approach. Technologies, frameworks, and other tools evolve rapidly. Keeping up with that pace requires bandwidth and skills that many teams may lack.
- Refactor your digital product: Opening up space for your team to refactor your product is always a challenging decision. Should your domain experts focus on fixing scalability and performance issues, or should they be fully invested in designing and developing the next exciting feature for your customers? Additionally, refactoring inevitably brings challenges related to avoiding disruptions in production, and this requires planning and experience.
- Don’t forget the importance of people and an excellence mindset: While processes, architecture, and technology are crucial to addressing tech debt, it’s important not to forget the people behind them. Investing in an excellence mindset and supporting your team’s growth and development can lead to a culture of continuous improvement, where tech debt is proactively managed and prevented. Encouraging a growth mindset, promoting knowledge sharing, and providing opportunities for upskilling can pay dividends in the long-term success of your organization.
By focusing on these key aspects, you can work towards reducing the tech debt, streamlining your processes, and ultimately achieving a balance between exploration and exploitation, essential for sustainable growth in the SaaS/PaaS space.
You can count on us to help
To eliminate the tech debt that’s suffocating your company’s exploration capabilities, you should consider partnering with an experienced application modernization team, such as Objective’s Group Inc.
We offer tailored solutions to address the root causes of your tech debt, tackling inefficient processes, suboptimal code, and outdated technologies. Moreover, we can also assist you in refactoring and modernizing your digital product through our agile development teams. Our team of experts collaborates with your internal teams to help you reestablish a balance between exploration and exploitation – an essential element of organizational ambidexterity.
With the support of Objective’s Group Inc, you can regain a competitive edge, restore your organization’s agility, and ensure a sustainable path for long-term growth.
Technical debt is an often-overlooked aspect of managing a SaaS/PaaS provider, especially in the early stages of the organizational ambidexterity journey. However, as a decision-maker under the pressure of business results, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of balancing exploration with exploitation. Partnering with an experienced company like Objective’s Group Inc can help you address the challenges of tech debt, allowing your company to resume sustainable growth and compete at its full potential in a rapidly evolving market.