Misaligned Incentives

Field notes on improvement

About the show

We all want to improve, especially businesses. Knowing what we should be doing is easy, knowing how to change is the hard part.

This podcast is a wunderkammer of discussions, interviews, talks, and other recordings trying to figure out how organizations can actually improve. For the most part this is the story of organizations trying to become "tech companies," to do "digital transformation." It's a companion to a book in progress, The Business Bottleneck.

Misaligned Incentives on social media


  • Episode 4: You get what you pay for - compensating tech staff is often done poorly

    July 17th, 2020  |  50 mins 57 secs

    We discuss compensation, particularly how people in the IT department ("developers," etc.) are so disconnected from the actual business that compensating them based on business performance is near impossible. Not good if you're an IT person and like money.

  • Episode 3: Improvement requires fear, or, digital transformation by crisis and fear

    July 6th, 2020  |  38 mins 38 secs

    People in large organizations avoid improving for improving's sake. They're very rarely proactive in transforming. Instead, it seems that management in most large organizations only act, and change, when they fear competition and failure. "Everyone" knows this is a bad strategy, and yet "everyone" does it. Perhaps we should embrace that behavior, or at least be empathetic, and figure out how to work with it.

  • Episode 2: Outsourcing, SIs, and other "others"

    October 31st, 2019  |  58 mins 1 sec

    We discuss outsourcing IT.

  • Episode 1: Who forget to invite "The Business," to this kubernetes PoC?

    September 11th, 2019  |  44 mins 21 secs

    Join Rick and I as we try to find this elusive thing called "The Business." We lay out a theory we've been talking about: while IT has been improving or, at least, can improve, the business side of the house isn't showing up to do anything with CLOUD and AGILE and THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.

  • Monolithic Transformation

    September 9th, 2019  |  1 hr 32 mins

    The cliche we all recite is that technology isn’t the problem, culture is. Put another way, if the hardware and software are fine and fresh, it must be the meatware that smells. Come hear several de-funking recipes from enterprises whose meat now smells proper.

    Given at Agile Scotland, August 2019.