Seven Causes of Technical Debt and How to Avoid It
25 September 2017
This is a brief introduction to technical debt—including top causes and how to avoid problems.
Technical debt (also known as code debt and design debt) is a term used to describe the eventual consequences of a technical design or development choice made for a short-term benefit but with subsequent consequences. An example is writing suboptimal code to meet a deadline, knowing that the code will have to be rewritten later to make the software maintainable.
Technical debt may have one or more causes, such as:
1. Time pressures
2. Overly complex technical design
3. Poor alignment to standards
4. Lack of skill
5. Suboptimal code
6. Delayed refactoring
7. Insufficient testing
Over time, those factors result in the accumulation of technical inefficiencies that need to be serviced in the future. Unchecked technical debt may make the software more expensive to change than to re-implement.
Technical debt can be avoided or minimized by not taking shortcuts, using simple designs, and refactoring continuously. When there’s technical debt, the team should make the items visible by registering entries in the product release backlog, where the matters will be evaluated and prioritized for resolution.
This content is an abridged excerpt from the award-winning book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions.
About Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions
A fantastic agile transformation experience and result with a client organization in the entertainment industry was the inspiration for Scott M. Graffius’s multi award-winning book, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions (ISBN-13: 978-1533370242).
Here's an excerpt from the book: "Shifting customer needs are common in today's marketplace. Businesses must be adaptive and responsive to change while delivering an exceptional customer experience to be competitive. Traditional development and delivery frameworks such as waterfall are often ineffective. In contrast, Scrum is a value-driven agile approach which incorporates adjustments based on regular and repeated customer and stakeholder feedback. And Scrum’s built-in rapid response to change leads to substantial benefits such as fast time-to-market, higher satisfaction, and continuous improvement—which supports innovation and drives competitive advantage."
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