Technical debt is similar to any financial debt. If you have a loan on your car, or home or a credit card debt for that matter, it won’t affect much to your financial status if you pay off your installments diligently and in time. You can only do this effectively when your debt is under manageable proportions. However, if it crosses the limit and goes beyond your reach, you start to miss payments and have to answer collection calls. Sometimes, to get rid of the debt you have to declare yourself bankrupt as the last option when all remedial measures have failed. Same is with technical debt.
About the Metaphor
Tech debt is a metaphor for procrastination of development work. If you delay your work in hand, it is natural that it will pile up and if you still leave it unattended, it will become adebt which can even kill your software. So, if you come across even a small debt, it is better to rewrite it as soon as possible and pay it back promptly. If you linger, then every minute you delay add as interest on the bad code. That is the reason companies believe that having small and manageable technical debt is beneficial. This helps in building a practice for constant checking and developing of your software.
Cost Of Change
The cost of change(COC) varies with the amount of technical debt you have. If your company is well maintained, then the actual COC will be the same as the optimal COC. If your tech debt is high, then the actual COC is also high as they are both directly proportional. If the actual COC reaches to a level which is impossible to manage, then it can result in technical bankruptcy. You can come across several names in software business that has been wiped out from the market due to their tech debt in code base. So, you must consider the cost of rewriting or refactoring a code to stay in the market for a long time.
Pressure Of Time
The pressure of bringing out new products in the market to stay in the competition is fierce. Everyone wants to bring out products with newer features fast, without giving enough time to review and test the outcome. As a result, the structural quality of the product degrades fast with passage of time which results in technical debt. It will in turn affect development process adversely. This is because the software will be very difficult to understand, analyze and extend. Increase in maintenance time and cost due to this issue will hamper the interest of your organization on the whole.If you are using credit card often then credit card debt can be a worry for you. Credit card debt help measures should be taken wisely and with proper research so that you can get relief easily and without much delay.
Debts can occur as code debts like duplication, smells and rule violation, test debts like inadequate test design and coverage, design and architectural debt and poor, outdated or no documentation debts. You can check online to know all about the categories and causes of tech debt also.Lack of time, awareness, availability of designers, and improper application of design smells, design and refactoring can lead to tech debt.