Software development has a huge workload and when it accumulates, it is known as technical debt (TD). The situation occurs when application development professionals work on short-term solutions quickly, ignoring essential and labor-intensive solutions. Then, a TD does not mean bad or adverse all the time and it is not the outcome of lazy development experts trying to complete their jobs in a hurried manner. On the contrary, TD is one of the best ways to eliminate the minimum variable product (MVP), thus beating your closest competitors. An advanced solution may not be executed right away but TD helps in generating revenues fast. It is the best way to get some time so that developers can work and address the issues in the future. TD occurs because of resource limitations and unusable time concerning the development team.
According to an article published on https://www.huffingtonpost.com, you must concentrate more on the overall customer experience. Work becomes more enjoyable when you apply your creativity and innovation, thus making your product top-of-the-line over time, every day. If you burden your developers a two-week sprint to complete a month’s task, it will make them irate, thus you will face TD. Therefore, as a product manager, you should do the needful. For your better understanding, here are three smart ways to cope with TD:
1. Ensure situation planning
You are a skilled product manager and therefore, you must know how to do situation planning. And ensure you do the same on a regular basis, create task priorities, and take into account what if scenarios. When you face TD, the best way is keeping your development team with the same kind of tasks. Take the onus to incorporate into your strategic activities to help your team make a wish list and come up with requests.
Try similar experiments with your customers and feature requests frequently. Let us explain this point with the help of a suitable example. Say, for instance, if one of the developers is given a couple of sprints or a few months to address problems related to TD, what he is supposed to do? Will this method affect the product efficiency or performance? If yes, then how? On the contrary, will the process take additional time? Will any changes affect the product roadmap?
You may not understand the benefits associated with infrastructure-related projects before factoring-in new features and recommend modifications to the product roadmap immediately. Then, sharing the product roadmap with your development team when they reveal their plans related to TD-related tasks and priorities is one the ideal ways to relate all fundamental issues to your product roadmap and planning the goals such as bottom line and growth.
It is also one way to figure out how the development team understood prioritizing tasks and addressing the issues. These plans will help product managers to show more compassion and strengthen the product-engineering connection easily. Besides if you are inquisitive about learning how TD adds to development costs and adding to company debts, you can check debt consolidation ratings of lending institutions.
2. Ensure TD is part of the communication process
Your developers are aware of the existing TD and all geared-up to provide their intelligent insights to let you gauge the pros and cons of taking decisions and planning on the current schedule. Make sure that TD is the normal part of the communication process when you plan meetings to stay focused on long-term efficiency, improvement, flexibility, and of course scalability.
Avoid hesitating when asking questions to engineering experts. Of course, you should come with relevant questions so that you can ascertain when you take more TD related job responsibilities. This way, you can also decide when you should assign more resources to reduce your current TD as well as other development activities.
Coming back to asking the right questions, you should focus on these:
- Will shortcuts help you?
- Whether you will need more time and examination for refactoring and reworking in the days to come?
- What is your benefit when you prefer an average or moderate fix?
- Are you aware of the things that you are unable to address today?
- What are the constraints and challenges in the process?
- Does time overlap with future release plans and updates?
- Are you procrastinating for a valid reason?
- Are you aware of the better techniques to solve problems?
3. Stay focused on the development time
Always focus on the development time. You must factor in bug fixing when TD seems a practical solution and maintenance of the system. Then, you will require some company assistance to set aside development time. TD will become your nastiest apprehension if you prefer immediate solutions, thus affecting your developers’ work and vision, thus affecting the product’s efficiency and stability.
When others in your company say that TD needs a solution, it is because you are unable to include new features with the existing ones. The other reason is an excessively fast development process when you start addressing the problems instantly.
As a professional product manager, you can rely on the importance of employing some development time for debt-related mission-critical projects. Develop your products using engineering roadmaps. These must relate to developing your product’s swim lane, fixing bugs, regular maintenance activities, and eliminating TD. These efforts and strategies will keep weaknesses and susceptibilities at bay. It is one of the best ways to include a new, innovative feature flawlessly. Of course, your architecture should acquire the stability to support your strategies and methods.
It is true that a couple of times, taking TD becomes a bit challenging. Then, as an efficient product manager, you must enhance the efficiency and performance of your product. That is your primary responsibility. There is not a shred of doubt about the same. Make sure TD does not become unmanageable because that will create more complications in the future for you and your development team as well as customers. Solve TD related issues and add some value to your team and product.