Without a proper plan and diligence in your approach it will be hard for you to control tech debt. Technical debt is primarily the outcome of shortcuts taken by your software development tem while designing a new code or adding a new functionality to an existing code just to release it early hoping to get faster results.
However, tech debt ideally can be kept at a minimum level with:
- A better code design
- A proper testing before its release and
- A proper implementation.
All these steps will take much more time to follow which is why the code development teams make compromises with their code designing process. As a result the code does not perform at the desired level resulting in a slow output.
Typically, software development companies follow this common business tactic where they release a code early without testing thereby taking on tech debt knowingly. They think that the immediate gain is much more important than that in the long run and they will rectify the code and pay off the debt accrued at some point of time. Unfortunately, this time does not come and the code is left unattended with the faults perpetually existing in it.
Actually this is the similar effect that you experience when you deal with your financial debts in the same way. You think that not paying an installment this month will not have much effect as you will pay it in the next month.
However, the default attracts huge interest and fines that increases the outstanding balance of your loan. Slowly it reaches unmanageable limit when you look frantically sift through sites such as Nationaldebtrelief.com and others for a way to get out of such a debt trap.
Therefore, you should be prudent enough to take care of your financial as well as your technical debt to have complete peace in mind.
Accept your debt
Managing any type of debt financial or technical starts with your honest acceptance of it.
- All estimation and the process to follow for refactoring will only be effective and possible when you, your stakeholders as well as your code development team believes that you have tech debt in the code system.
- Apart from that, you must also believe that it is essential to repay the debt with interest just like any financial debt.
It is only when you repay the debt you will be able to make the code reusable and sustainable once again. Therefore, refactoring after proper estimation is the key to deal with tech debt. All you have to do is select the perfect option for repayment depending on the level of debt accumulated and the interest accrued.
Decide the Process
Next up, you must determine the right process for repaying your debt. There are several processes that you can take but for all it is essential that you follow the right steps to save you from the quandary.
It is important that you prioritize the debt and choose the right time for repaying. However, you should wait for too long to start repaying because the longer you wait, more is the accumulated interest. This interest will be in the form of time, effort and money that you need to devote for reworking, refactoring or replacing the code system.
There are lots of benefits of paying off tech debt early.
- First, it will result in faster production and release of codes
- Second, it will enhance the moral of the code development team which will in turn improve the quality of the code
- Third, it will ensure that your business survives the competition and you have an increased number of users.
It is therefore necessary that you have a proper plan formulated to deal with tech debt as and when it happens.
Choosing the plan
In order to formulate a proper plan to manage your tech debt you will need to follow a specific process.
- You will need to use proper tools to quantify tech debt which is a difficult process as you cannot see it to give it a figurative value.
- The tools and techniques will help you to calculate a percentage of tech debt incurred and also help you to keep a check on the codes.
- These tools will also help you to maintain the desired level of productivity of the developer which will be also affected when you incur tech debt.
Since there is no scientific formula to calculate the quantum of debt as well as its effect on your business, these tools will consider the rate of growth for that matter as well as the production rate.
Tracking your debt
In order to make sure you formulate the right plan you will have to keep a track of your tech debt before you even start to manage it.
- For this you as well as your team of software developers must have a clear understanding of the significance and effects of tech debt on the results of your business.
- In addition to that you will also have to identify the amount of money from your IT budget is spent on the maintenance and architectural structure development of the code instead on the innovation project.
These useful metrics will help you to know the nature of your debt and determine the best possible way to solve the issue.
One you know about your debt amount and have started paying it off, it is also required that you stop adding on more debt. Easier said than done, you will need to be diligent in this process and make sure that you follow a few agile methods. These include:
- Continuous monitoring of the code
- Proper integration and
- Regular testing.
With the help of the automated testing units it will be easy for you to reinforce development that are proven and test driven. These processes when followed properly will enable you to know about tech debt in your code as soon as it occurs eliminating the chances of any delay in taking the necessary remedial measures to remove the bugs from the code system.