Unintentional technical debt is a significant problem that can be avoided by managing your project’s scope and avoiding it. Often, it’s hard to distinguish between this and intentional debt, but it’s important to understand the difference. When addressing high-interest debt, the most effective approach is to pay it off as quickly as possible by refactoring code and making the most painful changes to the codebase. A simple requirement change can take a week to implement, so the earliest possible opportunity to eliminate it is to make the change as quickly as possible.
Software development is fraught with the risks of unintentional technical debt. This type of debt results from changes made out of convenience, rather than with deliberate plans to refactor. These mistakes can be the result of bad design decisions, inadequate knowledge, poor test-suite design, or truncated testing. While unintentional debt is inevitable, it’s best to avoid it. To avoid it, follow these steps:
The Year 2000 problem is a classic example of unintentional technical debt in software projects. In the 1960s, software developers tended to store dates as two digits. The intention was to save precious memory, but this strategy was ultimately outdated. As memory prices declined, many of these programs remained in use longer than anticipated, causing a huge amount of technical debt. As the year 2000 drew nearer, thousands of businesses realized that date calculations would fail on a massive scale. The result was a costly clean-up effort by the government and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
In addition to unintentional technical debt, in-product tech debt can result from insufficient budgets, poor documentation, and a lack of technological leadership. As software systems are updated and modified, code language becomes outdated. To avoid unintentional technical debt, design your software to be future-proof. Maintain a simple, repeatable system so that changes are easier to make. While this won’t prevent third-party system upgrades, it can help you avoid unintentional technical debt.
When managing technical debt, it’s vital to find a balance between speed and quality. While quality is important, speed is also vital to business goals. With increased customer expectations, organizations may want to meet deadlines, even if the software they develop is outdated. Because modern apps require a variety of coding languages, developer frameworks, libraries, and other technologies, they often use technology that’s outdated and may even have technical debt.
The term “technical debt” is not always defined clearly. While some commentators view it as an unpleasant mess, others argue that it can be beneficial. Web App Development Company often accumulate technical debt due to a variety of factors. These factors include poor coding, defects, design concepts, and short-term goals. Furthermore, software development teams often incur debt during requirements cleanup and formalization. This makes it difficult for them to deliver an end-to-end solution and may even result in unrecoverable technical debt.
While it is difficult to measure the cost of unintentional technical debt, it is important to recognize when it is happening and take steps to avoid it. Many times, a team might over-engineer a system and end up with unintentional tech debt. During the development phase, engineers may make small but important changes, causing technical inefficiency and a need for another refactoring. The goal is to minimize this unintentional debt, but not to eliminate it entirely.
However, technical debt does not only happen in software projects. In the cybersecurity industry, for example, an administrator may be granted access to sensitive documents while she is working on a project. Later, the IT organization will have to revoke this exception. However, granting permanent access to sensitive documents to an administrative assistant is a risky situation. The administrator could end up exposing sensitive information to unauthorized people. So, it’s important to recognize intentional technical debt in software projects.
When you are developing a software product, the amount of technical debt you incur is increasing in parallel to the size of the project. For example, the code that accompanies an initial product development may impact a later feature. As the debt grows, it will only grow larger until it is overwhelming. Then, it can start to accrue interest. The only solution to avoid intentional technical debt is to improve the quality of the product.