Technical Debt: 3 Biggest Organizational Mistakes

By Jodi Rosenblum On February 1, 2018 At 3:21 pm

Technical Debt Cost

Technical debt is a huge problem for many organizations today and if it’s not being addressed, it’s growing. Growing technical debt takes away from funds for innovation, and instead uses it toward maintenance. A recent Compuware article explains that the way in which IT organizations accrue technical debt is similar to how people accrue financial debt. Software development author and speaker Martin Fowler says technical debt “incurs interest payments, which come in the form of the extra effort that we have to do in future development because of the quick and dirty design choice.”

While there are many contributors of Technical Debt, here’s some of the biggest mistakes that organizations are making today:

Technical debt can come from many places over an extensive amount of time. As teams move from waterfall to agile they often pick up old code, which comes with a price. Agile is made for speed, and with speed, the debt can occur quickly too. The key is to have a good test automation environment.

Additionally, technical debt can happen with there’s a lack of documentation. When moving over from waterfall, start from scratch and be sure you’re creating your ‘guideline’ to the code.

Technical debt can also be a result of your mainframe team having too much on their plate. Are they taking on too much work?

Define what DONE means to you when reducing your technical debt. Did you:

  1. Reduce Technical Debt through improvements in structural quality?
  2. Improve application performance, robustness, and security?
  3. Manage risk of business interruption due to application malfunction?

So how do you measure how much technical debt you have, and where to start? Organizations like North Carolina Department of Transportation are using software intelligence to get x-ray like vision into their apps. You can watch this webinar recording for insight into how they used analytics to cut costs and accelerate modernization.


FREE Report: How to Monetize Application Technical Debt — Gartner & CAST
A Data-Driven Approach to Balance Delivery & Agility with Business Risk

Technical Debt has been growing exponentially as maintenance is starved and development teams are forced to cut corners to meet increasingly unrealistic delivery schedules. CAST clearly defines Technical Debt so it can be measured and then juxtaposed with the business value of applications to inform critical tradeoff between delivery agility and business risk.

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