Steve Blank recalls that organizational debt can actually kill a company even quicker than technical debt. Things could turn into a nightmare when the company suddenly grows, if it didn't take some time to think about it in advance. So it's all about understanding how to recognize and “refactor” organizational debt.

He suggested a few things startups could do. I'm completing and presenting them a bit differently here, inspired by a vision of organizations closer to independent living systems than machines, and the OS Canvas from The Ready.

Reviewing how authority is distributed, and how decisions are made ; how data and information moves through the organization and how it is processed ; meetings, rituals and events that bring us together and coordinate action ; all things people, from recruiting to development, motivation and beyond ; the connection between what we think will happen – financial plans, what we'd like to have happened – goals, and how we should deploy resources ; where ideas come from, how do they come to live, and how the product evolves over time ; written policies and anything associated with 'right' and 'good' administration of the organization ; structure and space ; and of course, purpose and values, what's important to us, individuals, and what suggests the organization as an independent living system.

I feel the “don't worry be scrappy” mode of startup founders can be both a threat and a strength when it comes to consciously scaling. A threat as not understanding the importance of these dynamics would be dangerous for the very survival of the organization. And a strength as it can prevent a “predict and control” mindset and machinist worldview, in favor of a more trustful environment, welcoming wholeness and trying to make winning worthwhile.

Sources: https://steveblank.com/2015/05/19/organizational-debt-is-like-technical-debt-but-worse/, https://medium.com/the-ready/the-os-canvas-8253ac249f53