Over the course of Yammer’s 6+ years so far, we’ve wracked up a lot of design debt. Design debt often occurs when startups are growing rapidly and their main objective is to “ship! ship! ship!”. Design gets de-prioritized, consistency ignored, and the company stops thinking about the product holistically, while individuals are focusing on individual projects rather than the whole.
In this talk, I want to discuss what design debt is, how Yammer ended up with it, and why companies should be aware of design debt creep. At a tech company you hear a lot about “engineering debt”, but I want to bring to light the consequences of having “design debt” and how paying it down can improve product development among designers AND engineers.
The takeaways I hope people get from this talk are: the ability to recognize design debt within their own organization; to fully understand the true cost of design debt; and to realize the benefits that come about when your company recognizes this as a problem.