Organizational Smells are subtle signs or clues of problems in an organization that may indicate:
- ineffective processes
- dysfunctional communication
and in general:
- people not focused on value
By consciously paying attention to these smells, we can identify and address potential problems early on.
Why do you call this “Organizational Smell”?
The term is derived from “code smell“, which are used in software development to indicate potential problems in the code. Similar to Code Smells, Organisational Smells are signs that something in the organization is “weird” and affecting collaboration or value creation.
Similar to a code smell that is an indicator to something a bit off, an organizational smell is the same, as it indicates something here is off.
In the context of smells I always make the example of a nice Swiss cheese, which to some people smells horribly and that’s Ok. But to some others it really stinks, and we should do something about that 🙂
In this German podcast we dived into this topic with more examples: https://valuetalks.ch/organisational-smells-gerueche-einer-organisation/