Many companies in the software industry have to often deal with the concept of “technical debt”. Technical debt is also known as design debt or code debt. Let’s analyze this concept in depth.
What is technical debt?
Technical debt happens when development teams take actions to expedite the delivery of a feature or a project so that they can achieve their goals faster. At the same time, this way of working leaves gaps in the technical quality of the product increment.
In fact, even product increments that are ready to be delivered on the market can still have bad technical quality and as a result the technical debt. It is crucial to consider that technical debt grows due to bad technical choices. In addition, as technical debt needs some work to improve the quality of the product increment, it could also increase the cost of the maintenance of the product.
An example of a technical debt is writing lengthy code. In fact, thousands lines of code (packed in a single file) will look unreadable. To fix this technical debt it is necessary to modify the code by making these modules shorter.
Why should companies use technical debt?
Not all technical debt is bad, and managing it well can produce great benefits for a company.
This is particularly true for rapidly-growing companies, who have a significant need to ship products early and often. In fact, these companies need to determine product and market fit, meet customer needs, and be able to catch new opportunities. Over the long term, accumulated debt can create problems and can even sink your business entirely.
In general, companies don’t always need to avoid technical debt. Instead, they should be aware of the costs and time they need to put aside to fix technical debt later.
Keep in mind
Technical debt represents the interest a company pays for taking the easy short term development option, over the longer and harder (also cleaner) option. Being open to accept a little technical debt can be beneficial to companies that need to deliver products faster.