To begin with, let’s cut down on the semantics. It’s technical debt to be precise. It’s a concept that engages programming reflecting the additional development work arising when a code entails easy implementation in the short run and is channelized for applying the most ideal overall solution. Concisely, technical debt is primarily associated with what experts call, extreme programming. This augurs well especially in the applied context of todays refactoring. Now, how does it work? Well, let’s begin by saying that you have a fragment of functionality that you have to add to your existing system.
The fundamentals ingrained
You find two ways to perform the job, ones quick and the other’s rather messy: you’re sure that it’ll induce changes tougher in the long run. The other one has a conspicuous design, but takes longer to manage and put in place. Coined, developed and explained by Ward Cunningham, Technical debt is a brilliant metaphor that can help solve the aforementioned problem. Here in this metaphor, performing things the dirty and quick way sets people up with one technical debt, which is akin to a financial debt, and just like this fiscal debt, your technical debt incurs simple, compound and accrued interest payments.
Assessing the process
These payments come in the garb of additional effort that you need to do for future development since you’ve chosen the dirty and quick design. You can choose to continue being in the groove and pay the interest or you can down the entire principal amount in a specific way. By refactoring the original dirty and quick plan into a better design, there’s succor in sight. Although it entails some cost to pay the neat principal, you gain eventually by reduced payments of interest in the long run.
More on the metaphor
The technical debt metaphor wonderfully explains the reasons why it’s sensible to go for the dirty and quick approach. You need to know that just as any business incurs a quantum of debt for taking advantage of a certain market opportunity, here you have developers incurring technical debt for hitting a crucial deadline. The threadbare and conventional problem arises when development organizations allow their debt to spiral out of control and then spend majority of the future development plans to pay for crippling and often muzzled interest payments. You can visit here for more details.
Living on the edge
The tricky and often unsavory thing about the concerned technical debt is that it’s not possible to measure it effectively like money. These interest payments affect a team’s overall productivity, but with the inability to measure or quantify it, you can’t really see the clear and true effect of technical debt. One thing that’s commonly missed in this context is that you can only make money on a loan if you can deliver. The biggest glitch of technical debt is that it slows your potential and fiscal ability to encapsulate and deliver features in the future, thus giving you a scope cost for your lost revenue.