Technical Debt – What it is and What to do about it

By Frances Lash On August 21, 2014 At 9:00 am

This is a post that goes over what technical debt is, and what to do about it – while drawing away from the common misconceptions of the term. The post begins by quoting the definition of technical debt by Steve McConnell: “a design or construction approach that’s expedient in the short term but that creates a technical context in which the same work will cost more to do later than it would cost to do now (including increased cost over time)”.  Here the author of this post adds the caveat that the cost technical debt can also extend to affecting customer satisfaction.

The post further describes the causes of technical debt (deferring bug fixes, poor decisions, intentional shortcuts…) and that to manage the technical debt accumulated, development teams must keep a technical debt backlog in order to track the system’s current state. The post also clarifies that the payment of technical debt is not always incremental, as it is often described to be (through scheduled refactoring and maintenance of code) but can need to be paid all at once because the debt has become too much for the code to be functional.

To read the full post and learn more about the differing views on technical debt go to:

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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