As systems become more complex and demand for swift modernization becomes increasingly essential, “technical debt” has emerged as one of the hottest topics in the world of IT. A recent study shows developers waste 42% of their work weeks on technical debt. The result? Significant tolls on both customers and teams can leave businesses vulnerable to security gaps, performance issues, poor software quality, compatibility problems, and other pain points. These issues can also affect an IT budget’s bottom line.
What is technical debt? In this blog post, we’ll define technical debt and present several ways that you can reduce it with IT solutions.
What is Technical Debt?
Technical debt is much like financial debt: You need something as soon as possible, so it is necessary to “borrow” to make it a reality. Speaking in terms of technical debt, “borrowing” generally means making sub-optimal design decisions and coding to get a product or service into production quickly. The expectation is that these sub-par issues will be addressed in the future, hence taking on “technical debt.”
“Technical debt — or code debt — is the consequence of software development decisions that result in prioritizing speed or release over the [most] well-designed code,” said Mike Duensing, CTO and EVP of Engineering at Skuid.
“It is often the result of using quick fixes and patches rather than full-scale solutions.”
Although some technical debt is inevitable in any project, it can be reduced and used responsibly. IT strategy can be implemented to help mitigate it and treat it as a tool.
Encourage Collaboration with IT Ops and Business Teams
When planning projects, it’s important to align both business teams and IT operations to bring varying perspectives to the table and keep everyone on the same page. This tactic will give both teams a voice in a project’s planning phase, allowing for tradeoffs between maintenance costs and time-to-market deadlines. A healthy team effort to manage and control technical debt is essential to keep it from escalating.
“Make specific decisions in iteration planning that identifies when technical debt will occur and in what time frame it must be burned off,” suggests Matt Seu, Financial Services and Capital Markets Executive at Actualize Consulting.
It’s essential to have the tools necessary for communication, collaboration, and data management. Microsoft’s family of productivity and cloud-based software solutions provides you with everything needed for your business’ success.
Make Goals Achievable and Measure Your Results
When the pressure of a project deadline looms, it can be tempting to take a “we’ll deal with this later” attitude to quickly get a product or service on the market. Avoid setting unrealistic design goals and spend time with end-users to anticipate future need changes and to understand requirements.
Jason Noble, the co-founder of CTO Academy, a management skill training organization, suggests setting measurable goals for each project iteration.
“Set them at a realistic level,” he says. “After several iterations, the technical debt should be reduced without affecting new product functionality, with the bonus of more sustainable and reliable code.”
Trusted Tech Team is an accredited Microsoft CSP Direct Bill Partner, carrying multiple Solutions Partner designations and the now-legacy Microsoft Gold Partner competency. Based in Irvine, California, we report trends affecting IT pros everywhere.
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