When staffing and funding are limited, developers can build a strong business case if they follow best practices and commit not to allow technical debt to accumulate.
Technical debt can be minor, such as tinkering with the code to enhance performance, readability, or other supporting elements. Deprecated APIs, services with no automated testing, applications without Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), or legacy systems with an operational impact can all contribute to large technical debt.
IT teams must measure, manage, and lower their technical debt regardless of the source, magnitude, or impact. Taking action and implementing best practices that prevent or reduce new technological debt is equally critical.
CIOs today place a high priority on the need to decrease technical debt. Due to inflation, workforce shortages brought on by the Great Resignation, and employee burnout, they will need to find operational efficiency to fund new and upcoming projects.
Improve Planning and Estimating to Reduce New Debt
Proper planning and estimating come first and are of utmost importance. The second is to standardize processes so that less time is spent planning and more time is spent actually executing.
Most development teams want more planning time, but development managers, product owners, and executives may not understand how planning helps minimize and eliminate technical debt. Developers often discuss architecture and execution when they have time to plan, and these conversations frequently veer into technical specifics. These technical conversations may not be interesting to product owners or other business stakeholders. Therefore, it’s critical to provide leaders feedback on planning efforts if developers want more time to plan.
Planning collaborative brainstorming meetings with key stakeholders in the company and product owners is crucial. During these meetings, they can analyze several implementation possibilities, discuss trade-offs, and decide whether options will decrease technical debt while introducing support, maintenance, or other types of debt that necessitate future revision.
Technical Debt Measurement
To ensure that technical debt is not neglected, it is essential to identify methods for measuring and managing it. Some companies create a technical debt metric by tagging code, user stories, and other artifacts as having technical debt. Others define agile governance frameworks and concepts to help agile product owners manage their objectives and pay off debt.
Development teams can more effectively inform stakeholders about the dangers of not addressing technical debt by creating a process and establishing metrics.
Reduce Architectural Debt with Technology
SQL databases and Three-tiered web architectures from the last decade forced development teams into a constricting framework that wasn’t suitable for many projects. Various cloud databases are available today, including key-value, SQL, graph, columnar, and other database architectures. Microservices can be deployed in multiple ways, such as serverless architectures, and developers can create user experiences in low-code or no-code.
Because maintaining them is expensive and demands a lot of development expertise, choosing too many architectures and development methods might be disastrous. Nevertheless, forcing development teams to employ one-size-fits-all architectures often compels them to develop workarounds or sacrifice performance, user experiences, security, or scalability.
Development teams must think through possible implementations while choosing the optimal technologies. What is the best data model? How much detail should developers include in their microservices? What number of test cases are required to verify the implementation? When compared to low-code and no-code implementation options, when does a tailored user experience offer enough business value?
Teams are more likely to introduce technological debt when these design issues aren’t considered. The key to reducing the risks of new tech debt is planning thoroughly, choosing appropriate architectures, evolving development standards, and implementing DevOps automation.