In all of the places I have worked, especially the larger companies, there has been this underlying process happening. It is called the light bulb and turd cycle. I named it that myself. Here is the explanation so you know what to look out for and what stage your company or department is at.

Looking for turds

Whenever there is a new manager or leader brought into a company or department, they look at the current processes and find ways for the company to work better. I call this stage "looking for turds".

Light bulb moments

When they identify something as a "turd", they come up with a better idea (I call this the "light bulb moment") and they decide the company needs to implement that idea.

They don't realise that the new idea ("light bulb"), they have just thought of,  was identified as being a "turd" 2 years ago, and so the cycle continues.

Here's an example

Large company has lots of local IT support teams.

Light Bulb

There are too many silos, lets merge them all together and make one big IT support team, we will save lots of money.


"This one big IT support team is too generic, we need local specialists to support the different departments. Lets make lots of local IT support teams."

And so the cycle of the Light Bulb and Turd continues.


Now when you see this happening in your workplace, you can say things like:

"This is a classic light bulb and turd scenario"


"Today's light bulb is tomorrow's turd"


I hope you enjoyed reading this, and you can relate to it. If you enjoyed it, share it with your colleagues using the share buttons.

Paul Seal

Umbraco MVP and .NET Web Developer from Derby (UK) who specialises in building Content Management System (CMS) websites using MVC with Umbraco as a framework. Paul is passionate about web development and programming as a whole. Apart from when he's with his wife and son, if he's not writing code, he's thinking about it or listening to a podcast about it.

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