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  It’s happened before, even to the early days of the “killer app” Visicalc that was to be superseded by Lotus 1-2-3 and eventually Microsoft Excel largely due to technical debt.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.

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