In episode 56 of the CXO Minute, Tony Uphoff explains why CEOs must prioritize technical debt, drawing from recent news of the Southwest Airlines turmoil.
00:13 — Between December 22 and December 28, there were more than 16,000 canceled flights — many of which were assumed to be a result of the snowstorm that hit the Northeast. Now, the public is aware that over 90% of flight cancellations were from a single airline, Southwest Airlines.
01:08 — What can CEOs learn from the Southwest Airlines crisis? What role did technical debt play in driving the number of flight cancellations?
01:25 — Technical debt is when technology infrastructure fails to keep pace with customers and businesses within a specific industry. As the story unfolds, it is clear that the challenges Southwest Airlines faced resulted from its technology infrastructure failing. This notion is one of the most significant challenges CEOs face, especially when entering an existing business.
02:30 — When stepping into a CEO position at a business that has already been established, understanding the current state of the company’s technical infrastructure is critical. This is no simple task; it requires strong leadership and tight collaboration between the entire C-suite.
03:12 — Tony believes that the understanding and management of technical debt is the difference between business failure and success in today’s world. Rather than waiting for a system failure to suggest a company is facing technical debt, CEOs should initiate a structured technology review process to prevent and handle system failures.
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