A lot of times, talented developers get unpleasant surprises. Especially, when they work on the extensibility of pre-existing software, and are developing new features for it. These surprises are nothing but the technical debt that creeps up on your SDLC process, which could be:
- Poorly implemented non-modular software components
- Inconsistency in data models & data access
- Non-compliance of the code with relevant geographical, legal, and industrial regulations & standards.
In general, every second a developer spends dealing with tech debt results in loss of developer enthusiasm, and a loss of developer time that could have been spent writing the application code and developing new innovative features.
To effectively minimize the risks associated with error-prone code, the development teams put extra effort toward software testing to improve the test code coverage. And because the developer is busy modernizing/patching/testing the legacy code, it slows down the value release velocity of the development teams. In fact, as per reports, an average developer spends 17.3 hours per week dealing with bad code and tech debt, which accounts for $85 Billion in annual losses.
3. Opportunity loss
A non-quantifiable implication of technical debt is opportunity loss, aka loss of revenue and customers.
Just like the sand accumulating in an hourglass, 60% of organizations said that their technical debt has compounded over the last three years. And rise in technical debt gradually robs organizations of their ability to adapt, innovate, and scale. Hence, projects plagued with technical debt are often late when it comes to releasing new features, and miss to grab emerging market opportunities or gain first-mover advantage.
This triggers a domino effect, where customer churn is high, as your competitors gain an unfair advantage over you and are better positioned to attract new customers. Not just that, they also improve existing customer loyalty with continuous value delivery and delight customers with breakthrough innovations, new features, and experiences.
4. Talent loss
A non-empirical cost implication of technical debt is talent loss, aka employee churn or turnover. The frustrating experience of maintaining and fixing the legacy code can take a toll on your developer’s well-being, and may even cause burnout. Just like customers, unhappy employees too may bid adieu to your organization and look out for better opportunities. This could be a cost-intensive affair for you, as on average it takes an average employer USD 4000/- and 24 days to replace an employee. The costs could be much higher if you are on the lookout for people with exquisite skills in outdated or less popular technologies like embedded systems programming.
Put a Check on the TCO
Gartner says, “Through 2023, I&O leaders who actively manage and reduce technical debt will achieve at least 50% faster service delivery times to the business”.
Besides, as discussed above, inadvertent ignorance of the looming cost of technical debt could clog your growth gears and bring your organization to a screeching halt. So, engage in periodic/continuous code reviews, look out for code smells, and track performance-related engineering KPIs like cycle time, code churn, deployment frequency, change failure rate, mean time to restore, etcetera to spot inefficiencies in your SDLC process that could be an outcome of accruing tech debt.
Tackling Technical Debt with Hatica
Make use of Hatica, an engineering analytics platform to track the aforementioned metrics alongside 13070+ other engineering metrics to gain a comprehensive insight into your SDLC process efficacy. Also, ensure that you follow and implement emerging software development paradigms like CI/CD, Automation testing, Serverless, APIs, Microservices architecture, DevOps, GitOps, and Agile practices to command the TCO for all acquired and owned software.
Poor customer experience, dwindling brand value, high churn, loss of revenue, increased errors, bugs, and crashes, your technical infrastructure degrading to a monolithic architecture, worsening engineering metrics, and critical security vulnerabilities can all negatively influence your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). TCO is the net expenses associated with acquiring/owning, operating, maintaining/supporting, customizing, upgrading, and replacing/abandoning a technology solution. And tech debt can significantly impact the TCO for any software application your organization uses. For sustainable momentum, you must aim to minimize the TCO, which in turn requires you to proactively acknowledge, monitor, and address your technical debt.
Keep investing in awesome developer experience, and zero tech debt!
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