How To Monitor Technical Debt
08 February 2021 2 min read
Technical debt refers to the tasks you delay in software development to meet your immediate deadlines. Similar to a greedy algorithm, technical debt means going for a local optimal solution as compared to a global optimum. However, the debt needs to be repaid at some point. Monitoring and managing your debt is vital to prevent any issues from arising in the future.
How to Monitor Technical Debt?
To prevent an excessive pile-up of technical debt, it is important that you keep track of everything. You can keep a “technical debt document”, where you can list issues that need addressing. Further, you can also detail on the potential problems that may arise if the problem is not solved. This can help you prioritize your tasks.
You can also keep a ‘technical debt register’. It is similar to the document; however, it is more useful for regular entries. You can keep a backlog of the features you implement in your software and the ones that are to be implemented in the future.
While manually keeping the records is effective, it can be time consuming. There are several online tools like Trello, that can be used for team collaboration and technical debt monitoring as well.
How to Capture Technical Debt?
Technical debt can get piled up if it is ignored for a long time. Therefore, it is important that you consider developing ways to capture it. There are several approaches you can take. To delve into some of them:
You can automate your technical debt monitoring tools to give you instant feedback as you are coding. The feedback can include possible problems that can occur and suggestions to improve the overall software. Automation is becoming increasingly popular these days, and it can help you stay on top of everything. It also takes away the redundancy and labor required to assess every line of code manually.
An analysis tool can highlight areas of concern and automatically create an entry in your database. You can later overview the entry and decide if you want to work on it.
Prioritizing technical debt items can come in extra handy, especially if you are working on a deadline. Through prioritizing, you can see which tasks need more attention. You can set the priority based on importance in the system or the overall difficulty of a task.
Theoretically, technical debt can be reduced to zero. However, in actuality, that is hardly the case. There is always some process you will have to skip to meet the client’s deadline. There is a threshold of the amount of technical debt you should allow. An excessive pile-up of undone or mediocre tasks might lead to critical problems in the future. Therefore, it is important that your debt is monitored and captured for effective management of your software.