Here’s an opinion without any facts or evidence: I only care about making the design system 1% better every day. If that means deleting a bit of code that doesn’t have any impact whatsoever then that’s okay. If it means changing the font weight of this one component to be slightly more legible then that’s okay too. So long as every day there’s an improvement of some kind.
You might argue that all these 1% changes are distractions from much larger projects that might have an enormous impact.
My argument would be that those massive, revolutionary projects will never happen. Instead it’s best to slowly move towards where we want to, step by step, so that we gather momentum over time.
1% today is better than 50% tomorrow or some distant and impossible far-flung future.