Technical Debt Explained

This will be first in a series of blogs.

Technical debt is an interesting term that has been formed in the IT industry in order to have non technical businesses understand the cost of building code in a manner that causes higher maintenance and increased barriers to changing.

Technical debt is intended to have a financial consequence in it’s meaning to recognize it costs businesses tangible money, even though due to it’s complexity, technical debt is difficult to measure and hence difficult for non-technical business leaders to understand.

Technical debt if left unchecked, can make a company that depends on technology drag themselves to a complete standstill and often bring down businesses to liquidation.  Technical debt will increase exponentially over time until it becomes unmaintainable.  It’s happened before, even to the early days of the “killer app” Visicalc that was to be superseded by Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually Microsoft Excel largely due to technical debt.  Only through regular code maintenance (via code reviews, refactoring) can technical debt be controlled over the long run.

​I will cover types of technical debt and what they do in the next blog.

Published by Agile Mike

“Agile Mike” has over 25 years of experience with software development and product leadership. He is published under the “Built for Success” column in magazine and held the position of Vice President in the Agile Leadership Network. Michael has taught multiple SAFe courses for over the past three years to over 400 people and is currently an Enterprise Agile Coach at Lean Agile Enterprises and a certified SAFe SPC5, AWS Cloud Architect, Scrum CSP, and PMP.

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