At times, engineers opt for a suboptimal solution as meeting deadlines becomes a priority over tackling the issue at hand in the code. Additionally, developers often defer rectifying glitches in complex code, leading to technical debt that requires addressing through the rewriting of the affected section of code.
While technical debt is a widespread practice among development teams, its misuse can have significant consequences. Therefore, the team must be cautious with their resources to avoid expending time and effort rectifying issues that could have been resolved earlier. Poor management of technical debt can adversely affect a project’s output and a company’s reputation.
Different Varieties of Technical Debt
Technical debt can manifest in various ways. If a developer adopts a suboptimal architectural approach to increase short-term profitability, it results in architecture/design debt. They can also generate code debt in the product by releasing potentially unreliable or flawed code.
Incorporating advanced software development technologies, like cloud storage, without integrating them into organizational workflow can result in infrastructure debt. Automating processes without proper strategic planning can cause expensive and time-consuming disruptions.
Technical Debt’s Origins and Measurement
Technical debt can result from time constraints, inadequate refactoring of code, and inadequate testing. It is not uncommon for developers to release imperfect software to meet a strict deadline. This might be a valid decision in some situations, such as when the product must be released quickly due to pressure.
While the code may be precise, its writing quality may be substandard, and the accompanying documentation may contain errors. If this issue continues, it could result in significant development challenges. It would be wasteful for another developer or technical writer to have to review and revise the technical documentation or guides.
To deal with technical debt effectively, it is crucial to evaluate and quantify it accurately. One way to achieve this is by assessing the required remediation and development costs.
Remediation costs pertain to the overall expenditure needed to resolve issues present in software. Development costs refer to the funds required to generate software. To calculate the technical debt ratio, divide the total cost of fixing issues by the cost of generating them, then multiply the result by 100.
Evaluating the ratio of technical debt to total debt is vital. A debt-to-income ratio of less than 5% is typically deemed acceptable. However, If the ratio exceeds 5%, it is advisable to take action to reduce debt and avoid potential financial difficulties.
How to Prevent Technical Debt?
A high level of technical debt should be a warning sign for any business. However, there are several ways to reduce technical debt.
Integrating automated testing is an extremely effective way to tackle technical debt. It involves employing a robotic or automated process to comprehensively test a product. When a module is updated, regular debugging cycles are performed to ensure that no code defects exist.
Investing in automated testing frameworks and technologies is more advantageous than scheduling testing sprints. Adding programming bug fixes to your automation tool can be beneficial in resolving recurring problems. To address any issues in the bug repository caused by poor code, it is beneficial to implement automated tests and continuous integration, as this conserves engineers’ efforts and prevents potential problems from emerging. Implementing automated tests can help in alleviating any issues.
It is important to be careful when relying on automated testing to detect all errors, as it may not be entirely reliable. The most effective outcomes are achieved when automated testing is combined with manual testing at different stages of the development process.
While writing low-quality code may yield short-term benefits, it can have significant long-term consequences. Poorly written code can result in usability issues and can cause delays in meeting deadlines.
Incorporating best coding practices is an efficient way of mitigating technical debt and improving product strategy by implementing an appropriate methodology to structure and follow.
Pair programming is a collaborative technique that enables two programmers to work together on a single project. By having two developers work together on a single workstation, productivity is increased, and successful project completion is ensured. One developer takes on the role of a ‘driver’ and is responsible for coding tasks, while the other serves as a ‘navigator’ to ensure that progress is maintained in the right direction.
Project Management Software
Project planning is a crucial tool for reducing or eradicating tech debt. Project management software can assist in making the development process more efficient by helping to coordinate and structure tasks.
In addition, project management software is an efficient way of managing global teams. The team can benefit from shared documents and calendars that enable them to adequately plan for key events. Popular tools like Jira and Trello are used to organize and execute tasks.
Recording software bugs using issue tracking and testing tools, and addressing them as quickly as possible, is an efficient way of reducing technical debt. Taking prompt action to fix errors can help to prevent them from accumulating and becoming more costly to resolve in the future.
Employing tools like SonarGraph and Klocwork to check your code for errors can assist in improving the quality of your code and saving time. Revisiting and reorganizing any problematic areas can be done at a later date, guaranteeing the best results in the quickest time possible.
System Evaluation and Discovery Results
In several instances, systems become obsolete due to their age, resulting in inefficient and unreliable performance. This is frequently the result of insufficient maintenance and modifications over time, undertaken by people who are not fully conversant with the system’s design.
To guarantee that your system is ready for the future, it is crucial to regularly review its design. Furthermore, it is advisable to refrain from adding unnecessary complexity as this may lead to additional problems in the future.
In situations when a system is not performing as expected, we can use discovery testing to identify the cause. Our proficiency and skill can assist in determining whether our actions are meeting the requirements of our clients.
For businesses, identifying the source of technical debt is crucial. Although it may be possible to mitigate the impact of technical debt by following the suggested strategies, it is not feasible to completely eliminate it. To reduce the likelihood of technical debt and develop more resilient software, it is recommended to utilise the above-mentioned methods.