Is taking shortcuts always a bad idea? However, taking shortcuts in software development is not a good idea. Think twice before taking shortcuts; otherwise, you will have a mountain of technical debt.
Gartner defines technical debt as "a system's deviation from any of its non-functional requirements." Technical debt accumulates when development teams take too many shortcuts to expedite the delivery of a feature or software release. The desire to complete a project as promptly as possible usually results in problems that arise later. Stripe, a well-known payment processor, set out to determine the cost of technical debt. According to their findings, engineers spend 33% of their time dealing with technical debt. Globally, this equates to a $3 trillion hit to global GDP.
Technical debt is much like dark matter: you know it exists and can infer its impact, but you can't see or quantify it. Appian estimates that technical debt consumes 40% of development costs, which leads to higher operational costs.
We anticipate that a company will inadvertently incur technical debt at a certain point. However, there may be red flag alerts, the intended causes that one should be aware of to avoid slipping into the debt trap. Here are a few of the possible reasons for technical debt:
Following are some indicators that you may have technical debt in your existing projects.
Technical debt causes breakdowns, reduced productivity, increased costs, etc. You can, however, reduce your debts by following some best practices, as follows.
Creates an open organizational culture in which teams can talk about the challenges they face in achieving their objectives. Tackling the causes of technical debt will aid in developing workflow management strategies and realistic task completion timelines.
The team members should be able to speak freely about the difficulties they are experiencing. It, however, is an Agile anti-pattern in diverse teams. Similarly, the scrum master has to ensure that the emphasized challenges get immediate attention.
Set aside one day per week (for small-scale projects) and an entire week (for larger projects) to manage pending tasks. This time will allow the team to focus on the new user story while addressing technical debt from previous user stories.
Collective ownership implies that any development team member can modify the code as needed. By implementing this ownership pact, the Agile team can reduce technical debt by distributing and managing work among themselves to build new features while simultaneously making changes to existing ones.
Quality code must be preferred, even if it takes more time to complete. Do not foster a work culture in which development speed is an indicator of performance, and the accurate measure of productivity at any given time should be quality. If the team writes sloppy code to expedite shipping, maintaining it becomes comparable to grasping at straws with no advancement. So, ship quickly but not at the expense of software architecture.
Implementing CI/CD will help with test suites for the developed user stories, allowing for faster bug reporting. The development team can fix the bugs in the next sprint cycle, lowering the likelihood of existing bugs in delivered, and installed user stories.
Unload your developers and give them realistic WIP limits. When they have less mess to deal with in the product backlog, code quality is less likely to suffer, implying less technical debt.
If you work on a small project, then refactoring is required regularly. Developers should make time in their daily schedule to fix bugs. At the end of the software development lifecycle, daily refactoring leaves the development team with little debt. Sustainable refactoring is another type, where the team here is heavily focused on new feature development (80%) and small-scale refactoring of written code (20%). This practice allows for the long-term elimination of technical debt.
The most effective way to reduce technical debt in new projects is to bring it up early in the conversation. You will be able to account for the impact of short-term decisions on long-term ROI and develop a strategy for debt repayment at the start of a project.
You will realize that the longer you keep a technical debt, the more expensive it becomes. Your team can reduce risk, improve agility, and deliver best-in-class results by reducing technical debt.
When it comes to technical debt, everything revolves around data. Gathering data on tech debt is only the first step; you'll also need engineering expertise to analyze data, develop a strategy, and reduce tech debt.
The most effective way to reduce tech debt is to track, record, analyze, and refactor your code as needed. However, when it comes to managing your tech debt, Codvo.ai can surely assist you by:
So, if you are keen on reducing technical debt, get in touch with us.
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