If you do not know what tech debt is, how it occurs and how you can eliminate it, you will keep on taking it on till the time when matters go out of your control. Tech debt is a serious issue which all software development companies should be well aware of and be concerned to address this issue as soon as it occurs.
To start with you must know that tech debt is actually a metaphor that has a lot of similarity with financial debts with the only difference that financial debt is easy to measure while tech debt is hard to be quantified. Moreover, you will gain a lot of insight regarding financial debt management through different debt settlement reviews, debt consolidation articles, and other debt relief options and management but managing tech debt is a bit difficult and different.
However, that does not mean you will let tech debt accumulate just as you should not let your finance debt accumulate. You should address both a soon as you start taking it on. In order to do so and stay vigilant about your debt you must know its basics and beyond.
Deliberate and inadvertent debt
Tech debt like financial debt can be prudent or reckless but there are several other interesting points for distinction. You may also incur inadvertent or deliberate debt depending on the knowledge and involvement of your development team.
- Companies take on deliberate debt which is another form of prudent debt. This is taken on when the company decides that paying it off now is easier and more beneficial than releasing the code with the flaws in it.
- On the other hand, teams that are ignorant about prudent debt take on reckless debt and eventually run into several problems. However, it is not always true that all reckless debt will be inadvertent.
A code development team that follows a good code designing practice may often decide to release code quickly to meet the timeline or due to the pressure from the market, the stakeholders as well as the owner. In such situations, they are unable to devote time to test, rework refactor and clean the code.
Tech debt to tech savings
Clean codes and its high functionality are the primary factors that will lead to tech savings instead of tech debt. However, tech debt is something that you cannot avoid and will exist in the code, sooner or later. It is for this reason you should monitor it on a regular basis to see its existence and take necessary steps to eliminate it at the earliest.
The bottom line is to repay the interest accrued to keep it functional. You can do this only when you manage your tech debt right from the very beginning effectively. There are several software and tools available on the market that can help you to change the deadly tech debt to tech savings.
- These tools and software will help you to detect the defects early, start with the refactoring of the code, and do necessary reworks on it.
- These tools will also prevent the slowing down of the code and your growth rate and development.
- It will also help your business modules to be more reusable, extensible, and maintainable eliminating the need for constant refactoring.
In short, it will save you a lot of time, money and labor that you can utilize to develop newer and more useful codes to deliver to the market in the near future.
Know the metaphor
In order to transform tech debt into tech savings, you will also need to know about this metaphor in the broader sense so that you can make the right decisions.
This metaphor is usually applicable in the field of software engineering and development, especially for the codes. The consequences of sacrificing code design good practices can be very severe. It may result in:
- Ineffective modules
- Regular redesigning and
- Accumulation of interest in unmanageable proportions.
This metaphor has a lot of similarity to financial debt and therefore the principles followed to save money are conveniently applicable in tech debt savings as well.
- If your code works well you will not have to break the code time and again affecting your tech savings in the process.
- As it is in finance, if it is well managed you can focus on your goal with no distraction. Considering your income and expense schedule, you will have less to save if you earn less and vice versa, keeping your expenses constant.
Therefore, you have to work more to earn more and save more, in that order which is applicable in tech debt management as well.
Formulation and user stories
Taking the right decision is very crucial in tech debt management. This is because you will have to make your investment precisely and on things that will provide you with high ROI. These things are your time and effort when it comes to tech debt management.
In order to invest more time and effort in your business you will need to save more time and effort. You can do this only when:
- You have a more suitable, reusable and sustainable design of your code and module.
- You can add new designs for better usage and
- Monitor, rework and refactor your code on a regular basis.
This way you can avoid the debt trap as well as cut the cost of regular refactoring. In addition to that you will be able to expedite the pace of your business growth making sure that you deliver good codes to keep your reputation and the expectation of the users up.
User stories will help the development team to reframe the structure, quality and characteristic of the code as well as the functional behavior of it. It will also help them to track down defects and address immediately to eliminate any backlog. However, if tasks do not have relation with the user stories, a backlog for prioritization can be createdfor separate user stories for each code. It is a proper plan that will turn tech debt to savings.