Technical Debt – The Unseen Cost of Poorly Designed Code


It’s not often that we hear about the importance of writing clean code. That’s because it can seem like an intangible, unimportant skill that only programmers care about. However, every company has a cost, and this article will reveal what the cost is and why it must be avoided at all costs. 

You won’t find Technical Debt on the P&L

So if it’s not about money, what exactly is technical debt? Technical debt is an umbrella term that refers to the accumulated technical debt of poorly designed software applications that increase over time due to lack of maintenance or lack of testing.

Technical debt is a metaphor for the accumulated cost of developing software that doesn’t meet its original design requirements. Technical debt can be seen as a loan that has to be repaid with interest. This can be done by refactoring code or by adding features to the software.

The introduction of technical debt is typically caused by poorly designed code, which leads to bugs and inefficient workflows, among other things.

How to Identify and Treat Technical Debt

Technical debt is the term used to describe software debt. It’s a result of poor code quality and design decisions. If left unattended, it can lead to more costly bugs and performance issues.

In this article, we will explore how to identify technical debt in a project, and we will also discuss techniques for improving code quality.

Technical Debt Checklist:

– Identify the project’s scope and goals

Any software needs to have a specific scope, set of goals, and a plan to meet those goals. Testing should be carried out regularly to make sure that the scope is being met.

– Do a consistency check

To ensure that the code is living up to its original design, consistency checks should be carried out. These checks aim to expose any existing bugs and problems.

– Determine if the project is in scope

A project that is lacking in focus and doesn’t solve a specific problem is most likely suffering from a lack of planning.

– Create an initial list of technical debt items

It is useful to keep a list of what you think are the most important technical debt items. This will help you to prioritize and manage them. The list will also help in determining what areas to focus on more.

– Prioritize items based on risk level

Select debt items based on the risk level of the project. High-risk debts will most likely need immediate attention and vice versa.

– Take action on high priority items first

You need to start by fixing the most pressing technical debt items first. This will ensure that you are addressing the most urgent problems.

– Identify areas where code can be improved

To determine where to focus your time, identify areas of untested code and code that is not performing at a satisfactory level.

– Inject unit tests into critical functions of your application

Code written without testing is worth less than no code at all and should therefore be rewritten as soon as possible.

Technical debt may not have a dollar value, but if your application accrues too much technical debt, you will have to spend more time and resources on it. This can be avoided with good planning and refactoring code. So, the next time someone tells you that writing clean code isn’t important, make sure to remind them about its true cost.