Dealing with technical debt

Technical debt is a metafor created by Ward Cunningham to describe situation where shortcuts taken in the software process  will bites us back. Read Martin Fowlers excellent summary if you want do dig in on the subject.

There are many reasons for occurrence of technical debt, and not all are bad. A start up company for example might need to deploy pre maturely in order to finance it’s existence.

The problem arises when a team needs slack from their product owner to deal with technical debt. It might not always strike the product owner as a good deal, especially since the tech stuff are mostly makes sense to the developer more that  to the product owner.

If unlucky, the constant need to explain yourself can move the team into a deadlock where improvements don’t take place. To prevent this, here is an alternative approach!

Define actions to remove technical debt as any work made to fix the seven wastes of software developments.

  • Extra features
  • Partially done work
  • Extra efforts (discarded knowledge, reversed descisions)
  • Handoffs
  • Task switching
  • Delays
  • Defects

So whenever you do work of technical debt and your product owner asks you what you did, link it to one of the wastes of software development.

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