In the field of software development, the term technical debts refer to the work that accumulates when developers incorporate faster solutions over long-term intensive solutions that are labor intensive. The term is again a financial metaphor to demonstrate how short-term choices like borrowing cash with interest has extensive effects. For instance, owing lots of interest, being refused extra credit, damaging credit score, etc. For instance, it is a good idea for you to apply for the loan and get a new car however if only you can make the payments regularly. Otherwise, you will get into a lot of trouble when it comes to repaying the loan.
Like the above example, technical debt functions in a similar way. It, however, is not always a very bad thing or isn’t the result of a lazy developer interested in taking a shortcut.
Very often technical debts help you to get the competitive edge in the market and rise above the competition. It is true that you might not get an immediate solution with the debt however it does give you the benefits of working on those issues with the mission of generating revenue in the future.
When do technical debts arise?
Technical debts can also arise when there are unrealistic time demands placed on the software development team. For instance, if you allot a period of one to two weeks for completing a month-long project, it is obvious that you will land up with technical debt. Moreover, you may have a team of angry software developers as well.
Product managers and ways for you to handle technical debts
As a product manager, you must try your best to prevent taking technical debts and proceed on negotiating on the current debts to avoid reducing the pace of innovation. The following are some simple tips to help-
- Include the subject of technical debt in every conversation you have with your developers- You along with your developer team have insights on the current technical debts of the project. Discussions with your team will also offer you valuable insights into debt related issues that can affect the planning actions of the project. If you include technical debts in the conversation, you are able to focus on the flexibility, scalability and the improvement of the project in the long run. There are key questions that you should ask the team to help you make the right choices as to when to take an extra debt and when to devote time to the trimming down of current debt with other activities relating to the development of the project. Some of the key questions you should ask are as follows-
- How will the shortcut save the business?
- What is the business gaining?
- What are the key issues and challenges faced?
- Does the team need to reconsider or rework?
- Does the team completely understand the dependencies involved in the solution that is being offered?
- What are the future implications of the technical debt?
- How long can you put off taking the technical debt?
- Is the technical debt being put off for strategic reasons?
- Is there a better way to fix the issue in case the team waits?
Esteemed debt relief Company in the USA, Nationaldebtrelief.com says that when you incorporate a tool or even create a framework it begins to become outdated in the software development world. It is true that some amount of technical debt is expected however you need to know what you are compromising in the decision. You should know how long it is feasible. For instance, the code can be made better and the team might require a new library in the long run, or they might need some more time to address the issue at hand.
Maintenance and organization
The product manager should dedicate a fixed percentage of development time for general business activities. They should cover the maintenance of the system, fixing bugs, maintaining the system and more. Here, technical debt should be the obvious solution, and you must be organized to ensure it is a part of the culture of the company. There are times when technical debt might become a nightmare the team. It has the ability to hamper the stability of the application. You need to explain to the stakeholders as to why you need the technical debt for the architecture over a fresh feature you are excited about.
As a product manager, it is crucial for you to pay attention to the technical debt. Everyone in the team needs to realize the fact that this technical debt should be addressed and given importance to. If you are able to fix problems now, the application will work better. It is here that you must carve out some development time for the technical debt.
Developing a KPI related to product expectations
Make sure that you have KPIs that center around the performance of your product and its velocity for development. The end user should be happy and satisfied with the web product that you develop. You need to work on several factors to ensure that the product with new features exceeds the expectations of the user.
In conclusion, technical debt is not bad for your company. It is very much like financial debt that you take for the expansion or the growth of your organization. If you as a product manager are able to manage technical debt well, you will enjoy tremendous advantages for your company.
Technical debts are the need of the day if you are a new software development company and have to deliver goods early. These debts will largely help you to meet the needs of your customer, grab opportunities emerging in the market and determine the nature of products that are needed and perfect for the market. However, make sure that you keep a check on technical debt in the long run as it has the ability to slow down the speed of your shipments and can hamper the morale of your developer team as well!