Tech debt can be the nightmare for any software development company and the fact is that it is inevitable. Therefore, if you are one such owner it is important that you know about the different aspects of tech debt and the common issues that may occur when you incur tech debt. When you know what creates tech debt, it will be easier for you to deal with it.
Tech debt is almost like a financial debt which you essentially have to pay off and both carries interest. However, the interest you pay for tech debt is in the form of time, money and effort given for its reworking and refactoring while the interest for a financial debt is monetary in nature.
In addition to that, it is up to you whether you want to acquire financial debt, for which you have different sources such as:
- Different financial institutions
- Traditional banks
- Private money lenders of different types and names and even
- Several small and big online money lenders such as Libertylending.com and others.
When it comes to tech debt, there is no way but to acquire it over time and use of code and there are no specific sources of it. You will need to stay vigilant so as to know when such debt has started to form and accumulate and identify the source by yourself and with the help of your code development team.
Timely reviewing is essential
Tech debt, like financial debt, can be paid off now or later. It depends on your sole discretion but repayment of it along with the interest accrued is something which you cannot ignore. Otherwise, it will affect your business just as ignoring financial debt will affect your financial health.
It is for this reason you should review your code on a regular basis because:
- Technical debt can be incurred knowingly or unknowingly by your software development team
- When there is a continuous pressure from the outside as well as from the stakeholders to meet the deadlines of a release
- When the development team tends to cut corners to meet with such demands and
- When it is incurred in anticipation that it will produce immediate gains and the issues in it will be rectified in due course of time.
In order to ensure that things do not go out of control, reviewing of code is necessary.
- It will ensure that your development team is not ignorant about tech debt, its existence, the proper tools and software to use to design a good and clean code and the techniques to follow for that matter.
- Reviewing is also essential for an old code especially because it may have a huge amount of tech debt accumulated over time.
- Moreover, the person who developed the code may have left your organization making proper, thorough and regular reviewing of codes essential with the use of suitable and available metrics.
In addition to that reviewing will help you to identify and locate tech debt in the code along with its various attributes and causes that may include:
- Unrealistic schedules
- Lack of code testing
- Use of inexperienced resources
- Lack of proper code reviews
- Unrefined code requirements
- Little use of patterns
- Absence of a proper framework and
- Fewer code comments.
With such knowledge, you will be able to categorize tech debt and then choose the right way to mend the issues. You will also come to know about the various reasons for tech debt occurring which may be varied such as:
- Improper job is done
- Lack of professionalism
- Procrastination of refactoring
- Shirking of responsibility for its maintenance
- Poor and convoluted designing
- Presence of hard-coded elements
- Defects in architectural structure
- Presence of questionable objects and
- Lack of separating concerns.
Based on these factors, you can classify tech debt into good and bad debts for your company depending on the quantum of defects in it and the time required for cleaning the code.
Apart from good and bad debts, there are a few other types of tech debts found in a software development industry. One such type of tech debt is the API debt.
- This is a specific tech debt that is not granular in nature. That means, it will have long strings of fault codes which are typically a result of poor error handling.
- API tech debts will usually reduce the velocity of the code and affect its functioning. This will, in turn, make the code unresponsive due to the poor code structure and its effects.
There will be a lot of quality issues in such debts which are primarily a result of little or no automation, poor test coverage, and inadequate unit and performance tests conducted during its designing process.
If you compare all types of tech debts, you will also come across infrastructure tech debts. These specific types of debts are results of:
- Old and hardly scalable equipment
- Little replication
- Full of unrealistic data
- Improper recovery plan and
- Sloppy deployment.
Therefore, you must compare all types of tech debts before you consider paying off a specific one and retaining any other just like you do for all your financial debts before including it in your repayment list. This will help you to come out and stay out of the black hole of technical debt.
Dependency is a major issue
When you depend too much on the other classes it can create technical debt. The class structure is very important in this matter and it is very difficult to maintain a proper coding system if you depend too much on other classes. Therefore, to bring a change in a code system you must follow these steps:
- Understand the level of dependency on the associated classes
- Focus on its reduction
- Make effective changes
- Consider the quality and architectural structure of the code system
- Know the complexity of it
- Work in unison
- Maintain reusability and extensibility
- Take the non-technical team to work
- Consider the degree of subjectivity required
- Quantify the satiety and fragility in the code base.
If you know all these aspects you can slow down tech deb creation for the benefit of your business.