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What is 'technical debt'?

Technical debt is a term used in software industry to refer to all those shortcuts and compromises which are made in the short term to get a software solution delivered, usually to hit a time or budgetary deadline.

Like monetary debt, a little is no bad thing to help smooth things out to meet your immediate short-term needs. But like monetary debt it needs to be managed and over time repaid.

Failure to repay the debt, like financial debt, is unhealthy and causes problems.

All those shortcuts and compromises will slow down future development and make things messy to work with and cause quality and performance issues which can impact your customers, as well as cause frustration for your development team.

For developers, having too much technical debt can be described as ‘walking through mud’ or ‘swimming in molasses’ as the drag effect significantly impacts their ability to deliver. To follow the financial analogy, it is like having to pay interest on debt, potentially at quite high interest rates. Indeed, there is a real financial cost in the real world as everything ends up taking longer.

As with monetary debt it is best not to have any debt to start with, but if you do to pay it back as quickly as possible. Clients will have better quality solutions. Developers will be far happier and will be far more likely to stick around for the long term.

If you need a payment plan to reduce your technical debt, get it touch and we can help you through the challenges to get your development team performing again.