How to reduce Technical Debt

In software development, prevention is always better than cure. Dealing with software bugs early in the software development life cycle (SDLC) will not only save your DevOps team’s time but also save you some cash. In fact, fixing a bug after product release is 4-5 times more expensive than fixing the same issue during the design phase.

Bugs can pose a lot of threats, from security problems to service delivery issues. It can affect your market penetration rate, especially in a world where competition for dominance in the market is quite high. In most cases, eliminating such issues will depend on how your firm deals with technical debt.  If you embrace an agile approach to dealing with technical debt, it can be easier to deal with such issues early in the SDLC.

Here is how to use the agile approach to deal with technical debt:

What Is Technical Debt?

During software development, DevOps teams are typically faced with pressure from managers and customers. They typically desire to have the product launched as soon as possible. This leaves DevOps teams in a dilemma – they have to either develop the software fast and risk errors or take their time in development and risk angering the customers and management.

Ideally, the former is usually the better option for most teams, especially when a firm is trying to rise above the competition or launch something before the competition does. In turn, they launch a product that contains errors with the aim of reducing these errors in due time. Technical debt is typically the number of errors and bugs that a software or tech product has. The good thing is that agile training can be key to reducing technical debt.

How Technical Debt Piles Up

Technical debt increases to an overwhelming level when software developers fail to address common errors soon enough. Even worse, they may fail to prioritize the errors. This leads to them using the already limited resources and time to work on less consequential errors.

The buildup of technical debt also trickles down to how teams account for errors. Truly agile teams embrace a unified strategy for accounting for and recording the errors that occur. They also focus on the worth of any error, its impact on frequently modified code, its scope, and the necessary time required for fixing the error.

The 80/20 Agile Approach to Technical Debt

Under this rule, you will need to deal with the technical debt that surrounds the most frequently modified code (80%) at least 20% of the time. While this doesn’t erase the technical debt, it ensures that it becomes easier to manage. You can deal with issues that get in the way of normal development activities. Ideally, your team can shift focus on the larger progress of your development plan.

You will manage to resolve issues that affect short-term production first and deal with the issues that can affect the longevity of the product as you move on. Remember, agile changes tend to be small and frequent, so you need all hands on deck to increase the success rate of this method.

Embrace the EAD Approach

If you have time to spare between development and product launch, the EAD (Enterprise Agile Delivery) approach might be ideal for you. In this approach, you can move slowly and deliberately in the development of your product to avoid changes that can increase existing debt or introduce new debt. The approach also encourages teams to commit to testing throughout the development process, which helps build an environment of transparency and collaboration.

Conclusion

Reducing technical debt requires project managers to have a bird’s eye view on the different aspects of the project. There should be clear communication between team members to ensure a natural flow of information. Consider using an agile approach to prevent having technical debt cripple your project.

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