what is technical debt

What Is Technical Debt

Technical debt (also known as tech debt or code debt) is the outcome of activities taken by development teams to speed the delivery of a piece of functionality or a project that subsequently needs to be refactored. In other words, it’s the outcome of putting speed ahead of perfection.

Is There an Easy Way to Define Technical Debt?

Because metaphors are inherently ambiguous, the exact meaning of technical debt is subject to interpretation. Over the years, several people have formed their own particular definitions of it. Several extremely sophisticated interpretations have emerged over time, but at a high level. 

As a tool:

Technical debt is frequently used as a strategy for “getting ahead,” similar to how someone may take out a loan on a home to enter into a hot real estate market before being priced out. The relevance of technical debt can be explained in the context of a startup company as “any code created today that will require additional work to rectify later—typically with the goal of attaining immediate results.”

As Consequences

Technical debt is considered as any code that diminishes efficiency as the project develops but never as a terrible code or broken code because a genuine technical debt is always deliberate and never unintentional.

Technical debt explained through some relevant examples:

Technical debt can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but here are six examples:

1. Inadequate software code quality:

Poor-quality software code is the most visible kind of technical debt. There are several reasons for poor code quality, including the following:

  • Developers who are eager to adopt the latest technologies despite the fact that there is no practical reason for the tool in the project; 
  • Developers’ utter lack of defined coding standards
  •  onboarding and training of an inadequate developer

Other problems include time constraints that arise as a result of bad scheduling or when developers must rework outsourced code. These kinds of instances can quickly accumulate technical debt.

2. Inadequate IT leadership:

Poor IT leadership contributes to people’s technical debt. The growth of cloud and components trends is fast, and it can easily escape the grasp of customers and executive teams. As a result, businesses frequently embrace superfluous tools or make decisions that they do not completely comprehend, resulting in technological debt.

3. Work from home and remote employment

Because of COVID-19, the quick shift to remote work created a jumble of technological debt that included security, infrastructure, and operations. The majority of pandemic-related technological debt was unavoidable since enterprises needed to adapt as rapidly as feasible. The shift to remote work has also had an impact on business cloud strategy, hastening cloud migrations. Internal cloud projects accelerated, and IT operations teams made shortcuts to keep business users productive, accumulating even more technical debt. Shortcuts have the ability to accumulate technical debt comparable to code-based debt.

4. There is no documentation

A lack of technical documentation, particularly concerning project code and infrastructure, is a common source of technical debt. Technical documentation is simple to overlook or overlook, especially on low-budget projects. But reducing documentation-based technical debt isn’t as simple as assigning technical writers to the task. Organizations could instead include documentation into their DevOps culture and automate documentation in development workflows. Managers must also keep staff accountable for role-related documents.

5. Job security via obscurity

A big contributor to technical debt is a lack of collaboration. Another issue that arises when a programmer, engineer, or system admin does not communicate job-related knowledge with coworkers is job security via obscurity. Whether it is the nature of a certain function or the outcome of individual ambitions, teams may not even notice that knowledge is being lost over time. Any IT staff member who has complete authority over a process must be accountable for documenting it. Even if the resource is not widely shared, it must exist.

6. Inadequate software testing

Another simple shortcut that seldom ends well is software testing. This type of technological debt is widespread in firms that lack quality assurance assistance and have yet to deploy DevOps, which allows for automated testing.

The Bottom Line:

To control technical debt, the development and operations teams must first recognize it in the project portfolio. When IT operations teams spot indicators of technical debt, they should devise a strategy and timetable for paying it off, including coding standards and developer’s training as part of the plan.

Furthermore, stakeholders, project managers, and developers must work together to prioritise activities in order to establish an organization’s future state of software delivery, the exact Zenkoders management practice, which is followed to avoid bringing up a situation of technical debt while delivering any project to our clients. Once priorities have been established and IT operations teams have assessed the code and branched the codebase to begin technical debt cleanup work.

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