Tag: Ward Cunningham

Ward Cunningham introduced the technical debt metaphor as a method to highlight the potential for higher costs in product development from postponing some work on software in order to release other parts faster. The comparison between financial debt and the term technical debt was meant to demonstrate the eventual need to complete postponed work and repay the principal of delaying it. Technical debt also alludes to the possibility that interest costs, associated to postponed work, can become so high that they impede any other important work from being done on a project. For these reasons, technical debt is a useful concept – as it clearly communicates the danger of postponing work. However, metaphors often conflate two comparable situations, to two identical treatments of similar situations. This can be avoided in the financial debt/technical debt coupling, by using the financial metaphor to identify the economic forces behind technical debt.
The Economics of Technical Debt

It’s been over 20 years since Ward Cunningham introduced the debt metaphor with an experience report at OOPSLA, the conference for Object Oriented Programming. At the time, Cunningham was arguing that debt was a good idea -- you could get the software out faster by taking shortcuts, collect additional revenue, and come back later to pay it off.

Two Decades of Technical Debt And What Do We Know?
The topic of technical debt or the down-stream costs of careless development is one of the fastest-growing software measurements. However, as most widely calculated technical debt is alarmingly incomplete. Pre-release quality costs are usually omitted from technical debt calculations. Even worse, the very high costs of projects that are cancelled and never delivered have zero technical debt.
The Errors and Hazards of Technical Debt