Are you monitoring your tech./code debt — because the interest is only increasing…
CIOs reported that 10 to 20 percent of the technology budget dedicated to new products is diverted to resolving issues related to tech debt. — Tech debt: Reclaiming tech equity (mckinsey, 2020)
If you’re subscribed to any technology platform or have outsourced your technology development you might already be accumulating technology debt. Technology debt is defined as:
Technical debt describes what results when development teams take actions to expedite the delivery of a piece of functionality or a project which later needs to be refactored.
This type of debt stipulates that businesses that have rushed into implementation of technology without careful planning will have to return the “debt” in the future as these short-cuts will lead to painstaking amounts of effort to enable the business to continue to use technology. Additionally, similar to financial debt, often the cost to “fix” these short-cuts will be more costly than to have just done it right the first time.
Since we’re always looking out to uplift technology maturity for all businesses here’s a few ways we’ve found that can be implemented by your company to reduce accumulating technology debt:
- Understand technical debt is inevitable and can be beneficial: work with your technical team to identify where you might be accumulating technical debt in your software investments. If your business is building new software to quickly rush to market, technical debt may be very beneficial to meet the timely demand. However business owners must identify when technical debt is becoming detrimental to the growth of their technology stack. The below diagram shows that at T3 where tech debt = to tech debt benefit, it is time to to remediate these debts.
2. Knowing how to remediate technical debt: once you’ve identified the technical debt, the next step is to reduce it. Depending on the size of debt as business owner or IT team you can choose to:
a) Refactor code: If technical debt has not significantly accumulated, it is possible re-write/update the code to reduce the technical debt. Improve documentation and invest in using modern frameworks.
b) Migrate/Transform code: If technical debt has accumulated significantly but the solution is still highly beneficial, businesses should migrate/transform code to a more modern platform to ensure future enhancements are possible.
c) Decommission/Modernize/Replace: If technical debt has accumulated to a point where the effort required to reduce the debt is not financially productive, businesses should consider a full replacement of the system to more modernized solutions.
3. Have an IT strategy and technology architecture blueprint: debt isn’t too scary if you have it planned out. If you know where your technology is going to take some “short-cuts” it becomes fairly simple to manage technology debt. Having an IT strategy aligned with a tech. architecture blueprint can greatly reduce the chance that your business will be hindered by your technology.
However, the best way to help to begin managing your technology debt is first to understand your technology. That’s why we highly recommend that if whether you’re just starting out your business and using just a few SaaS solutions or are about to embark on your first outsourced application, try out Kinetics. It can help you with understanding your technology and identify potential areas where technology debt may be growing!