Explaining the economics of Technical Debt is part of rationalizing budget. In this blog, digital leaders learn how you  can break down the financial implications of technical debt to your business and stakeholders.  Watch the 2 part video below.

Technical Debt – Business impacts (Part 1)
Tech Debt – Types and ways to Avoid (Part 2)


First let us rid ourselves of any misconceptions on technical debt. Technical debt is not just about:  Bad and unreadable code or Skill level of developers or where they may be located. 

Secondly it is important for digital leaders to explain to business where technical debt has the biggest impact..

Maintainability –  when digital systems become  too cost prohibitive to make any changes

Evolvability  – Your system cannot support building new digital capabilities

Technical Debt also has the below phases shown in the diagram below

Technical Debt Stages

Areas where technical debt occur

Technical Debt occurs in three main areas, Intentionally and unintentionally (Watch the part 2 video to learn the difference).

System Architecture and Design – Architecture pivots made to support quick business wins without budgeting for course correction.

Lack of SDLC Best Practices – Continued negligence to best practices in software engineering during the development lifecycle

Infrastructure and Changing Environments – Third party software or open source frameworks that you may be relying on ceases to support and reaches  end of life.

Ways to Avoid Technical Debt

Architecture Governance

When you intentionally make architecture pivots to support quick wins and fast feature requests for business. Ensure you budget for the course correction. Clearly, make a plan to  implement the course correction and communicate the value of course correction that is needed.

Create an Architecture vision document that can be utilized enterprise wide to ensure the rational behind choices that were made for the architecture components.  This ensures architectural governance

Engineering Management & Best practices

Elevate your engineering management practice with better engineering hygiene and quality metrics. 

Adopt KPIs for engineering quality metrics such as

  • %  of defects reopened – This indicates an underlying fragile codebase issue
  • % of hours utilized for defects vs feature requests

Secondly, Incorporate lightweight analysis and conformance check points throughout your software and systems delivery. You can perform analysis around

  • Code branching strategies
  • Engineering Environments 
  • Release Management and code promotion

Infrastructure and Framework  Updates

Perform quarterly analysis of your 3rd party vendor’s product roadmap.  Align their roadmap with your software systems delivery.  Perform a version assessment of the open source frameworks you  use and learn about their end of life or end of support schedules. Develop a plan and schedule to continually update framework versions. Know the risks of not performing those updates and evaluate if the  risk is worth the reward.

At Modestack we assess and Identify areas of technical debt and help articulate the economics of it to your business. Working with your internal team, we develop a technical debt mitigation plan that you can execute. If that is something you are interested in evaluating.  Book a call by clicking the button below.