Personal Responsibility

I recently heard a tale of a complete lack of personal responsibility, that I am a bit ashamed to say, made me chuckle.

At a house next to my folks, there lived an elderly couple.  They had at one point, not so long ago, desired to replace their carpeting.  Like any consumer, they called around, found a seemingly reputable company, and engaged with their services.  A year or so later, one of those nice old folks died.  The other, moved out of the home, and in with one of their children.  The child, acting upon dear old dad’s wishes arranged for the house to be sold.  In doing so, the furniture and ‘stuff’ had to come out, in order to prep for sale.

Did I mention that this nice old couple had a bit of a relic in a console television, that they still used?  Mammoth in size, a piece of furniture in it’s own rite.  Anywho- in moving this behemoth out of the room, an oddity was discovered: a patch of the old carpet!  That’s right, the carpet installers installed new carpet everywhere, except for the patch that this television was sitting on.  Congratulations, new winners of the ‘Not my job’ award.

While you take a moment to regain your composure, consider the fact that lots of us do something similar, every single day.  Kludges, workarounds, band-aids, etc.  It all adds up to technical debt.  We all do it for varying reasons- and there can be some good business reasons (very rarely) for doing something like this.  However, in doing so, you have to take the personal responsibility of:

  • Informing someone else about it- that’s right, a conversation
  • Noting what is required to ‘make it right’
  • Setting a goal of when you are going to make good on it

Anything but this, is simply short-cutting, taking the easy way out, copping out.

In taking the above steps, you might actually uncover a more simple, elegant solution.  Remember, agility is all about causing conversations!

[Update] – Okay, so on my way into work this morning, I see a fender bender on the side of the road.  Still mulling over hitting the ‘publish’ button on this article, I felt my sense of personal responsibility tugging at me- and had to stop.  An ’emotional discussion’ was taking place between the two parties, so I inserted myself.  No altercation, good conversation and relevant information [and a focus on personal well-being] , and all was good, save for that poor Hyundai.

Stay ‘chatty’, my friends.

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