back to article A developer always pays their technical debts – oh, every penny... but never a groat more

Picture the scene: you're a developer looking at someone else's code for the first time, and you can see that a lot needs changing. Performance bugs mean it won't scale for much longer. The code design makes it difficult to port to another language, which is going to cripple that Latin American business expansion. Its …


  1. goldcd

    Technical debt is a problem

    BUT - Agile does have a mechanism to deal with it - developer self-interest/autonomy.

    In a happy-clappy-perfect-agile world, dev get a US for a sprint - but it's in an epic, that's tied to a feature, that's tied to maybe a nice wiki page explaining the business case.

    Sure, they could bang out the minimum to hit the done critera - but the stuff outside the US exists for a purpose.

    Read the context, see what's coming up next in the backlog - and 5% extra effort now, will make the next US 20% easier.

    Prior to release, when the shit hits the fan, then yes shortcuts are taken. However under 'normal conditions' devolution of design is supposed to incentivize everybody to avoid debt for a more pleasant life in the next sprint.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Technical debt is a problem

      And that's Agile Buzzword Bingo!

  2. Deltics

    Like any Debt, Not all Technical Debt is equally bad

    Weigh the debt against the cost to repay and the value/cost of delay over the life of the debt.

    A credit card debt is a wholly different class of liability than a mortgage.

    For example.

    1. volsano

      Re: Like any Debt, Not all Technical Debt is equally bad

      > A credit card debt is a wholly different class of liability than a mortgage.

      And a technical gambling debt or technical payday loan needs to be prioritised before your technical leg gets technically borken.

  3. John Savard Silver badge

    Old Words

    IIRC, a groat is 4d, or 1 2/3 new pence.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Realistic release targets matter

    When the project manager is saying "one month" but everyone knows that's impossible, it pushes people into taking unnecessary shortcuts and incurs huge debt.

    Worse is when one part is very behind, the temptation then becomes for the product managers to add more features into the other parts... making the whole thing later and worse.

    Worst is when formal testing doesn't start until "feature complete"... Waterfall is bad enough, but that makes it unworkable.

  5. soulrideruk Bronze badge

    Obvious News Shocker

    Some descisions made at any level of a company may have a negative effect on that company....

    Wow, never saw that one coming. Ah, I get it, you spun this to specifically target Technical Debt. As opposed to incompetence debt, mismanagement debt, which all basically lead back to the same thing.

    This is not something magically special to DevOps, or even development. The debt incurred by employees, managers and stupid decisions is not limited to technical, but hey, new Buzzwords, we gotta be on them...

  6. hatti

    on the increase

    The future of tech dept is likely to expand with javascript frameworks coming out seemingly at a rate of one a week via npm. Possibly we're working to a point where no one understands how to fix anything.


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