In the event that you have smartly taken a financial debt, then you will find that the money can be used to reach some of your broader life goals at a faster pace. Similarly, technical debt is useful at times and is not always bed. You will have to, of course, manage it properly to get more benefits and advantages for your company. This is true for companies that are growing up rapidly. These companies will need to have methods for shipping their products early on and also to gauge if their products can meet the market requirements and fulfill the needs of the customers. It will also help such small companies to seize all opportunities which emerge.
However, just like a financial debt, it is important for you to be prudent when you incur technical debt. Otherwise, over a period of time, the accumulated debt will slow down the shipping speed that you have and make your business suffer. In this article, you will learn about the different types of technical debts and what you can do to avoid it.
Experts from the industry who have been managing the technical debts of several companies over a period of years and have helped them through tough times will help in devising strategies by which you can get through this problem of having technical debts. There is however not a single universal solution for all technical debt problems. As a result of this, it will be more beneficial to you if you can classify your debts into certain categories which will help you to communicate and also address persistent technological debt problems across your various domains and teams. Primarily there are mainly three types of technical debts, and each of them has got different strategies to contain them.
1. Deliberate technical debts
You will find that often engineers will have an idea about the correct methods of doing something and they will figure out a fast and efficient way for accomplishing something crucial. There are many cases where the faster way would also be the proper way. But there will also be a few times when your team may intentionally end up doing something in the wrong manner as it will then enable them to deliver your products quickly in the market. Various companies have admitted that at times they will deliberately incur some technological debt for reducing the time required to place the products in the market. If you happen to take this route also then you ought to consider the amount of time that you will be able to save while launching a certain feature. You will also have to understand how you will be able to repay the exact debt that you will incur in the process. It is important for ensuring all your stakeholders get aware of the fact that this can lead to a slowing down of the other featured launches in the future.
How should you address this problem: Although your team members might not necessarily agree to this method, but experts have found out that it will make for sense for you to track such types of debts that are already in your backlog which would mean that you would have to deliberately defer other important work that requires to be addressed more urgently. If this does not get tracked in a specific manner, then you will not be able to repay the debt in time, and it will change into a design debt with time. The product owners will have to be made accountable with the stakeholders for the accumulation of such debts as these get incurred due to business decisions.
2. Accidental and outdated design technical debts
When you are designing software systems, it is important for you to try and then balance the thinking ahead with the future proofing of your designs to ensure both simplicity and also quick delivery. This will, however, be an extremely tricky thing to do and will be difficult for you to do it properly each and every time. When the systems evolve then your requirements shall also change. Some of your designs will start to look flawed, and your functionality will also get difficult and quite slow for implementation. Good and original designs shall always be easy to refactor later on. However, at times you will have to refactor your designs more significantly.
How should you address this problem: How will you significantly refactor your system properly is a separate topic that needs special studying. However, it can be absolutely natural for you to do this from time to time. If you do not do this, then you can face certain slowdowns from time to time. Your team and technical leads and the product owners need to be more accurate so that they can ensure that some time has been set aside for resolving these types of technical debts because it will be incurred by the design making decisions and the regularly changing requirements of your company.
3. Bit rotten technical debts
Bit rotten technical debts happen over a period of time. A system will slowly devolve into more unnecessary complexity by going through several incremental changes; this would often be exacerbated by more people working on it who may not properly understand the initial designs.
How should you address this problem: This is a type of technical debt which you need to try and avoid consistently by always refactoring on a continuous basis.
Although by categorizing the technical debts that you have will not be making your work any easier, but it will allow you to get more useful conversations which will strengthen the team you work with. You will always face some form of technical debts in your systems. You must try and understand the manner in which your debt will slow down your team and then make the required efforts to stop this.