In a world where the time to market IT products is in constant conflict with quality, only 29% of IT implementations end up being a complete success, according to the Information Age. While most implementations will fail due to common errors, a good number of failure cases will arise from technical debt. In a nutshell, technical debt occurs when DevOps teams try to find shortcuts while coding to make a product readily available to the market.
Instead of investing in state-of-the-art technology, they end up using code that might be good for the short term release of an application, but it can’t hold for long. Think of it as trying to tape over a leaking faucet instead of buying a new one. Sadly, the issue of technical debt can not only lead to deterioration in product performance, but it can also increase the chances of customer dissatisfaction with your product. Ideally, the earlier you can repay technical debt, the better for your organization.
Here is how to deal with technical debt:
Clearly Communicate Best Practices
In most cases, IT team members see taking the easier path appealing. Urge people to concentrate on creating quality code in the first round instead of taking shortcuts. This will trickle down to how they test the code and the tools that they use.
On the other hand, ensure that you also offer you DevOps team enough tools to improve the quality of their deployments. For instance, if they need to have tabletop tests, facilitate this for them. Also, if your company makes use of an IT sourcing strategy, then you should let this team be aware of the mentality that you are taking.
Automate Non-Value Creating Tasks
While every task counts to the final success of an application, not all tasks are mission critical. If these non-mission critical tasks will lead to an increase in technical debt, then something has to be done. Sure, tasks such as reporting and meeting compliance requirements all matter.
Why not automate them all? This will ensure that your team can concentrate on eliminating technical debt to ensure that your final product is built to last for the long haul, and it can be effective in situations where labor constraints are resulting in technical debt. Look for tools that can help automate such tasks to relieve the stress from the rest of the team.
Communicate With Non-Technical Stakeholders
For most business executives, the goal is to have an application launched within the shortest time possible, which often results in technical debt. Most might be oblivious of how much technical debt may affect the business in the long run. Sadly, their pressure might be the top driving force towards this pitfall as engineers need to follow their command.
As an IT team member, try your best to explain why you need more time for such mission-critical tasks. For instance, you can start by explaining how an application that doesn’t encrypt data can be a security loophole for the few months it will remain in this state. The more you can have such C-suite executives understand, the easier eliminating technical debt becomes.
Avoid Ignoring Technical Debt
If it must happen, then be sure to communicate technical debt with the rest of the IT team. Document it and let everyone on board know that it exists. Additionally, create a timeline for eliminating it. You can allow some room for debt as long as it can be dealt with in due time. It might also pay to keep C-suite executives posted on the debt and the consequences it could lead to.
Technical debt might be inevitable, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and reduce it and its effects. The less technical debt you have, the less costly it will be to fix the application issues. Consider using the tips above to improve application performance.