What is Technical Debt and How Do I Stay Out of It?
What is Technical Debt?
When software developers are unable to address quirks and small issues within a software application, and then eventually those small problems manifest themselves into a bigger, more expensive problem, that is known as Technical Debt.
A great analogy is to think of your car and how slowly it becomes dirty over time. It will still get you from point A to point B, but eventually, that road scum becomes harder to wash off and you’ll need to employ the help of a professional with heavy duty machinery to scrub it clean, spending more money and time than you would like to.
How does Technical Debt occur?
There are several reasons that Technical Debt occurs, and they’re fairly common.
- Priority interrupts, taking precedence over planned tasks. This usually happens if some critical bug needs to be fixed.
- The scope of the project increases from what was originally planned and tasked during the planning phase.
- The complexity of the project is underestimated.
- Other teams are not pulling their weight, slowing others down.
- Team members leaving mid-project, falling ill, or any other unexpected absence of a key developer. This could leave the rest of the team unable to complete critical tasks.
Why is Technical Debt Allowed to Fester?
Most companies don’t have the resources to dedicate to fixing minor issues that aren’t affecting the functionality of their software (yet). There are always more pressing matters at hand, and those will take priority every time. Not only are the resources scarce, but sometimes there is so much Technical Debt, that it’s impossible for one team to keep up with it all.
Why Does Technical Debt Matter?
Although Technical Debt is rarely noticeable at the release of a product, it begins to reveal itself through quirks and headaches within a software application. And, once your Debt catches up to you, these small things turn into a bigger problem and can cost time and money to repair.
How to Stay Out of Technical Debt
We’ve worked with many clients who have found themselves in Technical Debt, and we’ll give you the same advice we give them: work with a software company that offers support. When you are being supported by the builders of your application, you can address these issues quickly, instead of allowing the issues to create a mountain of troubles for you and your business.
For 19 years, we’ve helped folks just like you to pay down existing Technical Debt or stay out of it completely. If you’re looking to start your next project out on the right foot, let us know. We’d love to hear your ideas.