Technical debt occurs when teams speed up the development of product functionality that later needs to be refactored. In simple terms, it’s prioritizing delivery over code quality. Technical debt is often called the “silent threat” as it may not seem like a problem until it’s out of hand. The reason for this is often a lack of structure and communication in the company. By nature, most developers are content with “good enough” code, so unless they are asked to produce high-quality coding through a rigid structure, tech debt is likely to be an issue. Most software houses believe that they can handle tech debt at later production stages. Unfortunately, the workload tends to be overbearing for software developers, and the risk of burnout is higher, which ultimately leads to a failed project. To counter this problem, many organizations have collaborated with outsourcing companies to find the best talent and avoid technical debt. Read on to find out how to tackle technical debt.
What causes technical debt?
In 2022, technical debt will remain a big issue in many organizations. Due to the increase in competition, many software companies have to constantly reassess their products to meet customer expectations. This means there’s always a lack of the right talent to do the job unless you’ve recruited the right person from early on. The evolution of products and the rising knowledge of consumers signifies that many companies won’t be able to keep up with market trends and user satisfaction, thus resulting in failure, aka technical debt.
As bad as it may sound though, technical debt is not necessarily a bad thing; if properly analyzed, it can lead organizations to rethink their recruitment process and organizational structure and even come up with solutions that will prevent such issues from arising in the future. Technical debt is not equal to unproductive software engineers or shortcuts; it can be an efficient way to work and launch a Minimum Viable Product and improve the product before competitors. Debt is often caused by a lack of resources or miscommunication between the parts of an organization. For instance, if the product manager is giving two months’ work within a one-month sprint, you’re getting yourself into the sticky hands of debt and discontented developers. While adding new features is perceived as a good thing, it doesn’t mean that the code quality has to be downplayed.
What are the consequences of technical debt?
Technical debt is a lot like financial debt, which means it is often not a problem until it is. The average engineer spends seven hours per week (roughly one day) dealing with technical debt. Startups struggle to keep up with technical debt and, oftentimes, need to downsize or shut down their firms as a result. It’s crucial to understand that most software teams struggle with technical debt at some point. However, teams that use the waterfall methodology minimize the risk of technical debt since the process of product development is much more documented. As a consequence, these teams are more likely to be on track with consumer demands.
How can firms manage technical debt?
Hire an experienced and flexible team
Starting with the product manager and developers. The success of a software development house is largely dependent on the right recruitment. Poor leadership and low collaboration among team members reduce the overall standards of the company and directly impact the success of your projects.
Use outsourcing to reduce your technical debt
Have you ever tried recruiting a DevOps engineer or a Ruby on Rails developer? Quite a nightmare, right? Advertising a new position and going through hundreds of applications is an ordeal, particularly for companies who need to hire someone to work on their project ASAP. The longer the recruitment process takes, the higher the costs. Outsourcing parts of the project can be an excellent solution if you’re looking for developers with extensive experience who can guarantee quality coding, thus mitigating technical debt. Whether you’re looking for a temporary or part-time basis, developers, outsourcing services are your go-to solutions as they have the adequate resources and field expertise to recruit the best talent for your project. At Algoteque, our team of experienced recruiters is well equipped to find tailored solutions to your organizational needs. Whether it’s through the promotion of your company culture or benefits, we use the right incentives to bridge the gap between tech giants in order to hire the most skilled candidates.
Now let’s take a look at some of the most important people in a team who will help you reduce technical debt during digital transformation.
For instance, a seasoned project manager will be in constant contact with the client and communicate the possibility of any changes directly to the team. Skilled project managers know how to break down the functionalities according to the requirements of the clients; they not only decipher the requirements of the client but also plan and structure the project from A to Z. They ensure regular meetings with the clients, software developers, and managers so that every step of the project is communicated to the stakeholders. By doing so, every part of the project is monitored, and mishaps are significantly reduced.
The best developers have one thing in common: they communicate effectively with product managers. Even if you have the best software engineers at your disposal, a lack of non-technical skills such as communication from their side can seriously impede product development. Highly skilled developers have the capacity to follow code quality and keep up with quality and the latest developments. Once project managers have set coding standards to avoid technical debt building up, the right procedures and schedules have to ensue. If your team is dealing with a debt clean-up, it’s necessary to consider breaking down the debt into pieces instead of settling the whole debt at once, as you risk burning out your developers really rapidly. As we mentioned earlier, hiring part-time or temporary talent is one way to deal with it effectively. The other efficient practice is to simply hire the best developers from early on. Since IT managers can make mistakes, it is crucial for communication to be of paramount importance in tech debt prevention. Some developers can even go beyond their routine and spot bugs before proper testing. Teams who are skilled in effective communication and good practices will encourage code reviews and proper testing and reward them with daily motivation.
Another way to deal with a debt problem is through testing. The power of testing can never be underestimated. Independent testers can help spot bugs and identify missed typos or edge cases that your testers haven’t yet identified.. By encouraging a culture of code review, you can ensure that your developers will make fewer mistakes and that the end-product will not be faulty.
Like any other tech issue, technical debt is a silent killer. It can arise at any time during product development, but with highly skilled developers, organizations are likely to suffer less from eventual debt. In many cases, addressing technical debt isn’t that tough if your organization hires the right tech talent at the early stages of business growth.
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