Technical debt is a concept in programming that reflects the extra development work that arises when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution. Technical debt is commonly associated with extreme programming, especially in the context of refactoring.
Software developers have the option to execute new specs in two ways; one is the rash and quick way which makes future changes tough while the other is the smart solution which requires higher time for implementation, but changes can easily be made in the future. But do sponsors need to offer higher costs for a smart and clean feature when the same feature when implemented in a messy way renders similar functionality and prices less! Why do they need to spend money on automated test coverage? Though messy codes without test work good for clients if they render desired business solutions, they may cause an unmanageable code base, which eventually leads to an inflexible software result. An insufficient messy code could lead the complete engineering team to a stand-still position.
Similarities and differences between tech debt and fiscal debt
Elite computer programmer, Ward Cunningham – who’s known for developing the first wiki, coined the word Tech Debt in 1992 to state the issue of non-technical stockholders.
Coded with poor quality and no automated test coverage can be compared to fiscal debt. Coding is like fiscal burden which enforces on all the stockholders and not just developers. The principal is the expense of refactoring the code-base, to a better and cleaner design for future changes. The interest is the additional expenses which need to be cleared in the future.
Unlike fiscal debt, you don’t need to pay the tech debt back. Well you need to just rearrange the pieces of code rarely. It also involves considering the occurrence probability i.e. how often will you touch the messy code in the future? Another major different to fiscal debt is that the inventor of the tech debt wouldn’t have to pay back the debt, but it is the manager and developers who bear the cost later.
Speaking about software debt, if you carefully run the tests and standby all the dos and don’ts of the programming, there are lesser chances of making such mistakes. But, if you sacrifice quality to stand first in the market, you’ll have to pay higher than what’s needed.
Strategic Design and Tech Debt
As per Strategic Design, a system can’t hold similar level of quality all through the system. Thus, a team can select to either leave to fate about which system parts have a good and poor quality or to proactively tackle the quality and control it. Messy code is avoided as it is never absolutely perfect and thus you need to spend a lot in refactoring it into a good code.
However, it is not clear that which part of the programming should have goof code and high quality. It is possible that a particular piece of code has a bad design but doesn’t have a bad quality. Technical debt comprises of hidden quality issues which serve more like an iceberg causing the failure of any program once they surface. So, if you undergo any sort of technical debt, then it is better to seek help from the best consolidation loans company.
Technical Debts: Management
Tech debt or technical debt is majorly considered a bad thing which should be avoided and cleared out as soon as possible. There are several possibilities to avoid technical debt and once you acknowledge it, you need to learn how to manage it.
How to handle tech debt?
Well, one thing is for sure that tech debt cannot be avoided. Even the non-tech management of the clientele side should have an interest in tackling technical debt in a smart way to accomplish the right balance amongst short, mid and long term successes. But how can a team work by omitting wastage of time in insignificant beautification but still go for good business decisions to enhance their code quality?
Fierce statements like “do nothing” or “if the code isn’t right, go for a new one” are of no help. There are promising approaches which are useful for different projects:
- Refactoring buffer tasks
- Cleanup launches
- Tech backlog
- Expenses for tech debt in requisitions estimate
One question that people generally ask while discussing tech debt is that should you pay tech debt? Well, you have three strategies for it:
- Clear the interest
- Debt conversion
- Debt repayment
The development team initiates a buffer task with every release with e.g. 10 or 15% of the accessible time. Team members keep a track of time on the job for not timed refactoring. It can also be used for the unknown troubles which may occur in the future. Buffer jobs are easy to schedule and perform. Sometimes the time of the buffer isn’t completely utilized and helps in deciding whether refactoring should be done or not.
Often teams go for a complete technical release to enhance the code base. This method is only beneficial when the refactoring list already exists from before. Or else, a lot of time is waster on refactoring the unimportant stuff. However, it does help the professionals to acknowledge the tech debt. You shouldn’t go for clean up release after a time-critical release.
Being an established practice to state pure work packages, tech backlog works as a task tracker. Every task has a small description of the tech amendments which needs to be made along with proper reasons that why this technical amendment is significant for the project. Just like any other task, you need an estimate of how much time will this take to develop a good result. Though you cannot get a precise estimate, however, rough estimate is always possible.
It has several benefits:
- Tech debt is clearer and more visible for everyone. A united decision can be taken about when the refactoring should be done depending on the effort and effect of the future code amendments.
- Expenses per job are traceable.
- Feature tasks and tech tasks aren’t mixed.
Technical debt serves as a shortcut to save time, money and effort, but eventually it needs to be paid off. It cannot be avoided in software development. And, do not forget you have to pay them in every pay. The repayment is a business decision. Every payment should be done in consultation with a consolidation company.
Why Be Concerned About Technical Debt?
Tech debt is a metaphorical term that states that just like one may end up in debt issues in finances, the software sector also encounters some similar issues which occurs due to the unfinished tasks of past projects and version sprints.
Basically technical debt is the effort required to fix the defects which are present in the code during the time of application release. In simple words, with respect to bugs, it is the difference between what one expects and what gets delivered.
So, when a development team works on an assignment and fixes bugs, unluckily, many more bugs come up. While some bugs are fixed others are delayed for the later time. As this differing problem increases, at one point it gets way too difficult to release the software on time. You can call this the worst consequence of tech debt.
During a common software design and development course, there are several things which can cause technical debt. For instance, insufficient testing, poor documentation, improper bug fixing, inefficient coordination in between teams, delay in refactoring, constant integration absence and other unmanageable factors. Like you can say, they code duplication efforts could cause around 30 to 35% of extra effort.
However, no place understands the challenges of tech debt like the QA testing where the team mates have to standby the unexpected deadlines and everything may appear out of place. Frequently, the testers face the situation of quandaries at the very last minute, when the manager tells the team that the product needs to be rolled out in a week time and that he’s sorry for the delayed communication. Please complete all the test jobs instantly so that the company is ready for the demo!!
Thus, any missed tests or resolve later methodology can cause a tech debt like issue. Big hefty user stories, inefficient test coverage, less sprints and other points of cutting corners because of delivery deadlines plays a big role in the accumulation of tech debt in QA practices.
QA Practices Tech Debt Management
Usually the QA managers witness tech debt as a reasonable verdict of concentrating all the energy on the present sprint solely, which causes accomplishment of test coverage somehow via manual means.
Rather than reacting to the poor results, a proactive approach should be identified to detect the defects after each activity or jobs which can be evaluated. One can handle all of it manually but with thousands of test case situations for a specific project, automated testing is surely a necessity.
Efficient testing could help you get good ground in the tech debt war. So, what does all this mean? It simply means how efficient your system is at acknowledging the defects in the complete application.
Automated testing helps you lower down the number of scripts being implemented by reporting results and making a comparative study with the previously test runs. The procedure being used to run automation is known as automation framework.
Just like credit card debt, tech debt can prove itself to be a chain of companies and basic cause of failure.