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A Complete Guide to Dealing with Technical Debt



About 85% of IT projects go over budget. It makes project management an essential part of the process, but there are critical decisions that project managers must make.

What gets cut? What doesn’t?

That decision leads to technical debt. It’s not the financial debt incurred because of cost overruns.

Technical debt is the work and development you need to do later because you decided to leave something out today. That gives you a chance to deliver on time, but you’re going to have to develop that component or feature eventually.

If you find that you have technical debt problems, you’re in the right place to find solutions. Keep reading to learn about common technical debt issues and how to solve them.

What Leads to Technical Debt

Developers are artists and perfectionists. They want their projects to be just read before they get released to the public.

The issue with that is companies have customers and investors to please. They also have to release a new product to pay the bills.

Those competing pressures force developers and project managers into deciding if a project is good enough or if it has to be perfect.

Do you provide long-term value or do you deliver quickly? Technical debt is releasing a project with code that’s functional but needs to get cleaned up later.

Identify Red Flags in Your Project

There are tell-tale signs that your project is going to have technical debt. Projects that have dozens of developers can bring their individual styles to the table.

That’s great for innovation but horrible for the final product. These different styles create clunky code. A technical debt solution is to have a development guide from the outset of the project.

If the code fails, crashes, or has logic errors, you’re probably going to have technical debt.

Identify issues early in the development process. You’ll be able to handle the issues without going into technical debt.

Technical Debt in Modeling

Technical debt doesn’t just happen in software development. It happens in modeling.

Excel gets used often for financial modeling and projection. The issue is that Excel doesn’t have a structure, so you have to hack your way through modeling.

Technical debt in financial models happens when you have to clean after your hacks. It’s not an ideal way to produce models.

If you want to reduce technical debt in modeling and development, the key is to identify it early. Then you can budget and plan around it.

That enables you to prioritize the most important tasks to jump ahead of technical debt.

Get Ahead of Technical Debt Issues

Technical debt can cause customer service issues, long-term damage to the brand, and increase the amount of time to get to market.

You can’t completely avoid technical debt problems, but you can learn to identify them and come up with technical debt solutions.

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