Agile Software Development

Why Product Development Teams Should Care About Technical Debt

Technical debt is like loans for teams. It is restricting them for working on fresh projects or new ideas. The more you shy away from it, the bigger it becomes. In his blog, Roman Pichler explains why product development teams should care about technical debt.

Understanding Technical Debt

To know the impact of technical debt, talk to the product development team regarding the architecture and code issues. Let them locate and collect data with the available code analysis tools. Find out the cost it would incur to your project if you delay it. Avoid adding technical debt to your new product or feature life cycle. Plan out a minimum viable product (MVP) strategy. The product development teams can then delay their release by paying the technical debt, considering the quality is consistent.

The Dichotomy:

On finding the amount of technical debt, either dedicate hours for it or work in parallel with the current work. If it is affecting your innovative efforts, Pichler encourages product development teams to remove it entirely as fast as possible. Apple released Mac OS X Snow Leopard in 2009 after working on it for almost 2 years. While the operating system did not add any functions, it boosted performance and lowered the OS memory footprint of future releases.

If the technical debt is not much, add it to your current product backlog and divide it across all the sprints. You would be able to track down progress per sprints and releases. Pichler’s article “Succeeding with Innovation and Maintenance” narrates how to solve bugs and add new features to a product simultaneously.

Prevention Is Better than Cure:

You must monitor architecture and code thoroughly to maintain quality and reduce the risk of technical debt. The problem is, product development teams do not always have the time for quality cleanups. They forego best practices like evolving architecture, testing alongside development, pair programming, and constant integration. These practices enable flexible architecture and cleaner code base along with faster developments and releases of new products and features. So, encourage the team acquire, apply, and progress with the right practices.

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