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Technical Debt: Definition, Types & Examples

John Leo Weber
Publication date:
August 14, 2022
Article Summary: 

Technical Debt: Definition, Types & Examples

Technical debt is the costs of having to go back and resolve problems that arise due to an earlier decision to take the easy route instead of the best one when executing a software development project. It is a danger that all project managers must identify, be cognizant of, and avoid if possible. According to Martin Fowler's "technical debt quadrant" theory, there are 4 types of technical debt that are widely accepted in the software development industry: deliberate, reckless, and deliberate. Deliberate & Reckless is when the software development team is aware that a particular decision will result in technical debt but continues forward despite any consequences, while reckless is when the team prioritizes a speedy delivery over a well-planned development process. Deliberate & Prudent technical debt is when a team knows that a decision will cause technical debt, but pushes forward regardless.

Inadvertent & Reckless technical debt occurs when a team isn't applying best practices and doesn't know that technical debt is being accumulated, making it impossible to plan solutions or measure the negative impact of the debt. Technical Debt Examples are used to illustrate the different types of technical debt. Deliberate & Reckless is when the team decides it has no time and deliberately cuts down its product features, while Inadvertent and Reckless occurs when team members don't have the necessary skills to write code for the software, but are still allowed to do it. Technical Debt can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor coding, lack of skills, and lack of time. Technical debt is caused by lack of planning, external forces, ignorance, lack of flexibility, lack of documentation, lack of collaboration, parallel projects, requirements change, neglecting industry standards, poor leadership, and last-minute changes. It is important to be flexible and able to pivot when change requires it.


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Source Citation: 
John Leo Weber
Technical Debt: Definition, Types & Examples
August 14, 2022
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