Technical Debt- Is It The Same As Monetary Debts For A Business?

Trudy Seeger
May 16, 2019

Organisations need to incur debts for business development and expansion. However, one should note that all business loans are not financial debts that the company has to pay off. There are debts related to the technical aspects of the company as well. This debt is called technical debt, and it widely covers the area of software development.

As mentioned above “Technical debt” is not a financial term for the company to enter into their accounting records. However, if this debt is not arrested, it will bring in huge losses for the company in the long run. Business owners should keep track of the technical debt the company incurs so that its risks can be reduced and the company can progress further in the desired direction. Now, the question that strikes your mind is what exactly is technical debt and how can you reduce or even prevent it?

Technical debt, in general, refers to programming and software development in the organization. The term relates to delays in software program development scheduled to be completed within a specific deadline.

What is technical debt- its definition

The term “technical debt” came into light in the early part of 1990. This term was first introduced to the corporate world by Ward Cunningham – a founder of Agile Programming, an esteemed name in the USA. Technical debt is still widely discussed, and its concept refers to the extra work in software development that arises when the code has to be implemented in a short deadline or timeframe despite not being the optimal or the perfect solution for the company.

Options of software developers for technical debt

Generally, software developers resort to two options for technical debt-

  1. Take the easy path- Create a messy design or code to fulfill deadlines quicker
  2. Take the harder path- Create a clean code or design with a longer time-sometimes a very long time.

Technical debt is like monetary debt- it accrues interest. This interest is the difficulty in incorporating changes once the software is implemented in the system. This becomes challenging as the software project needs to undergo several phases of testing before it can be finally incorporated into the system. If the technical debt is prolonged, issues in the software arise.

The above scenario is like sweeping dust under the carpet. As of now, things are under control in the organisation; however, later problems will arise. Nothing is correct. This means you will later spend more time cleaning up the mess or organising technical issues to get what you were looking for the company.

To eliminate technical debt, the company has to take steps to reduce risks and identifying all the issues that are linked to the source code. You should devise a plan to arrest the same. You should note that technical debt does not cover delays and the ignorance of functionalities that were not created intentionally. This debt takes place when the company delays better coding and creating the internal pieces that should be present for diverse reasons.

This is where the debt gets serious as the company in the above case is impeding future development as well as timely delivery of the code if it is left unfinished. In case, the IT team does not resolve the unfinished code or arrest bugs in the software; the result is increasing interest says the esteemed name in the field of debt consolidation and settlement in USA, National debt relief .

Technical debt is a challenge that software developers constantly struggle within an organization. They are faced with the challenge of creating a software program that is perfect and flawless. If the codes of a software program are clean and designed well, innovations and iterations can be easily implemented. However, most developers cannot achieve the above goal due to the resources, time and settings currently present in the organization. This stops them from producing software codes that are perfect and clean.

The role of technical debt

Technical debt identifies the trade-off between the perfect software product and the short timelines needed for the delivery of the product. It is beneficial for an organization to incur some extent of business debt; however, like financial debts, there should be a limit to how much technical debt should be incurred. This post looks into how technical debt affects the efficacy of the IT team working in the organization. It provides steps to manage technical debt and eradicate it.

Experts say “technical debt” can refer to any segment of software development. However, it is generally associated with extreme programming like refactoring. This refers to the restructuring of the present code for the software development process. There are 2 primary reasons for refactoring- they are legacy codes that are written poorly and finding out solutions as an issue that is well comprehended.

The following are some of the signs of technical debt to watch out for-

  1. Poor code- this is a subtle mistake over logic errors likely to hamper the quality of the total performance over causing a crash.
  2. High levels of complex technologies- This is when the technologies overlap with each other.
  3. Bugs in the software product- This leads to a software crash.
  4. Problems with style of the coding- Here, you need to develop a style of code and stick to it- in most cases, the above helps you to combat the problem.

Here, the company owner should note that if technical debt is left unarrested, the above issues will result in high operating costs, decreased agility and a longer time for marketing. All these issues will hamper the security of the company as well as the overall customer experience of the organization.

Therefore, from the above, it is evident that technical debt does have negative repercussions on the company just like any other form of debt. However, if business owners are cautious, they along with the IT experts can work on reducing the risks of technical debt by taking the appropriate precautions at the right time. When this debt is reduced, the organization witnesses a smooth path to progress and development with success!

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