What is Technical Debt?
In simple terms, technical debt is what occurs when bugs or issues aren’t resolved in the earlier stages of development.
Let’s assume you intend to start a new development project, and everything is going as planned; code is coming in, art is crafted, and the content design is moving accordingly. However, just as soon as you think you have everything figured out, all hell breaks loose in the form of technical debt.
Bugs that you assumed will only need a few minutes to fix, take hours, and each of those fixes develops secondary problems. Your content is looking all disorganized, the perfect art you thought you were making now looks like garbage and the worst part is you are running out of time and resources. If you have ever experienced any of these, then blame technical debt.
In simple terms, technical debt is what occurs when bugs or issues, either noticed or unnoticed, aren’t resolved in the earlier stage’s development. This situation causes them to be more difficult and costly to determine. This model can be traced to its similarity in financial debt as they work with almost the same principle. If a financial debt is not repaid on time, the compound interest begins to grow until its almost bigger than the initial amount.
With this in mind, let’s look at what technical debt is and a few reasons why technical debt is becoming increasingly important.
Why Do We Have Tech Debt?
The phrase technical debt was first coined by software developer Ward Cunningham in 1992 when he was explaining to non-technical stockholders at Wycash why resources need to be budgeted for resolving technical issues that may arise in the later stages of development. Technical debt is a concept that originates from making “fast and mushy” development decisions. It’s usually considered when picking a short-term programming option that doesn’t entirely affect the code written.
The decision to fix a programming issue right away or leave it for another time is something every development team will have to deal with because it’s a “trade-off.” It implies the interest you pay in either time, money, or resources for taking the easy, short term development option, instead of going through the fire to produce is a clean and sustainable product.
Why is Technical Debt Significant?
Gartner estimated that the sum amount of technical debt worldwide reached $1 trillion in 2015 and could double its figure in the coming years. There are many reasons why technical debt occurs. Earlier on, it’s essential to get new systems up and running, which gives room for other development procedures to proceed. However, this debt can trigger features to get forced in without regard to potential bugs they might be left unattended.
In some cases, product owners entirely disregard the potential risks of dealing with poor infrastructure, bugs, and poorly designed software. When a project is just starting, these errors tend to be overlooked because they aren’t seriously blocking anyone from completing their tasks. Everyone assumes that at some point, someone else will take the bull by the horn to fix those errors. In the real situation, no one knows what to do, and everyone has to keep moving on with other tasks. This is a problem because the cost of reworking might be more expensive during the later stages of development.
Many critical systems may rely on buggy hacked in code, and a simple fix that would have to take less than a minute, in the beginning, would likely cause the product not to function appropriately. Not to mention, it requires weeks or months to fix. Worst-case scenario, the programmer that started the work might not work with the team anymore.
For instance, let’s say a programmer is tasked with developing a video conferencing app. They are told that 1-5 viewers can use the platform, now suppose someone above them has decided that the platform should take more than 50 viewers at a time. Now the programmer will most likely have to redo the entire code to accommodate up to 50 viewers and redesign to function for more viewers, which results in technical debt. For both, the programmer and designers, working on that issue can prevent them from improving other features of the application.
FusionReactor Helps Reduce Technical Debt
It’s important to note that technical debt accumulation can be dangerous. That’s why frequent code refactoring can be of good use. You can utilize FusionReactors IDE style step debugger to refactor your code and help reduce technical debt.
A software engineer can permit a specific degree of technical debt to accelerate the development of a project. Along these lines, they get the opportunity to release another element and feature quicker, which permits the product to develop. Nothing is ever great, and programming isn’t. If we center an excess of time around fixing generally minor issues and bugs, at that point, we position ourselves for stagnation.