During the software engineering process, there are different issues which should be dealt with or else they will subject the project to unnecessary costs later. The technical debt perspective should be considered in each step of software development. For instance, when analyzing the cost of cloud approaches, you need to take into consideration the technical debt. You should as well factor the engineering aspect when making technical decisions such as choosing between cloud services vs. homegrown solutions.
What is technical debt?
Technical debt refers to the implied cost which will be incurred to do additional rework on a system after the engineering process is done. For example, engineers can choose to go for an easy option so that they can save time during the product design. The right steps which they will avoid will later need to be implemented which will mean a product has to be recalled or it will have to be fixed after it has reached the market which will cost more in terms of resources and manpower.
What are the most common types/causes technical debts?
Deliberate tech debt
In this case, engineers are aware of the step which is necessary during project implementation, but they will ignore it provided they can go for a shortcut which will save on cost and avail the product to the market. For instance, when analyzing the advantage of using the public cloud, some engineers may assume certain benefits, and later they will realize they are very necessary hence they are forced to go back and procure the system. It will lead to wastage in the company. Some engineers will not like doing the same process every now and then; they can avoid a given process only to expose the final product to flaws which will require re-engineering.
Accidental/outdated design tech debt
After designing a product or software, with time the technology will advance and render the design less effective in solving certain needs. For instance, due to advancement in technology, the tools you incorporated in a given software may end up being flawed which will make the product less effective which may necessitate re-engineering. Engineers may try their level best to come up with great designs, but advancement in technology can make their designs less effective.
Bit rot tech debt
It is a situation where a complexity develops over time. For example, a system or a component can develop unnecessary complexity due to different changes which have been incorporated over time. As engineers try to solve emerging needs, they can end up exposing the product to more complications which can be costly in the long run.
Strategies for minimizing technical debt
How to minimize deliberate tech debt
To avoid the tech debt, you need to track the backlog when engineers started the work. If you can track the backlog and identify areas where the engineers are trying to save time, you can avoid the debt.
Minimizing Accidental/outdated design tech debt
You need to refactor the subsystem every now and then so that you can identify the technical debt and fix it. For example, if the software is exposing you to unnecessary slowdowns, you need to fix the errors and make it meet industry standards.
Addressing Bit rot tech debt
Engineers should take time to understand the system they are running and clear any bad codes.