Glossary

Technical Debt

Also known as Design Debt, it is the accumulated amount/cost of rework that will be necessary to correct and/or recover from the deviation between the current design of the system, versus that which is minimally complex yet sufficiently complete to ensure correctness and consistency for timely delivery. This effort shows more than linear growth over time as a system becomes bigger and more complex.

What Is Technical Debt?

Technical debt is the total expense an organization pays out due to inadequate architecture or software development processes within its current codebase. Also known as code debt, this concept defines the cost of what work needs to be done before jobs are actually complete. If the debt is not resolved, it continues to accumulate interest, thus making it more troublesome to implement future changes.

For example, your organization needs to make a change to the codebase for a specific application and this particular modification requires further changes to be made in other portions of the codebase. The additional uncompleted changes are considered to be technical debt that will incur interest and make the process of building a project more cumbersome. How much technical debt does your company currently have and how can it be controlled?

Contributors to Technical Debt

Several factors make it increasingly harder to manage or update a codebase, including the complexity of the architecture and current development practices. The most common expense contributors are:

  • Business Pressures
  • Insufficient Processes
  • Hard-coded Functions
  • Poor Testing Sets
  • Poor Code Documentation
  • Lack of Collaboration
  • Deferred Refactoring

Aggressive release dates cause changes to be overlooked or put on hold and often result in decision making without weighing the implications. Additionally, hard-coded functions create inflexible applications that are impossible to update within schedule. Poorly documented code, insufficient testing, and minimal communication increase technical debt because the team must spend more time finding or fixing issues post release. Each contributor increases total business cost and creates a continuously growing expense factor your organization.

Gaining Control of Application Development Debt

Analysis solutions provide a method for measuring code debt based on existing structural quality problems that put an organization at risk. Technical debt analysis involves the use of defined metrics to identify problem areas in the current codebase, resulting in increased costs. This information helps in determining how these items can be addressed in order to decrease maintenance costs, heighten productivity, and keep software risk minimal within your organization.

CAST Application Intelligence Platform (AIP) is a measurement solution for technical debt management, which may be used to:

  • Identify Structural Quality Issues
  • Calculate Total Technical Debt
  • Prioritize Issues Through Benchmarks
  • Measure Improvement

CAST AIP makes it easy to recognize the sources of extensive technical debt by providing the necessary information to identify contributing problems at the source code level. Technical debt metrics aid in the assessment of current cost contributors to reduce expenses. With AIP, your organization will be able to increase structural quality, boost application performance, and enhance infrastructure security.

Click here for a demo of how AIP can reduce your technical debt!