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Technical Debt: Is it really what you think it is?

Junilu Lacar
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Joined: Feb 26, 2001
Posts: 4456
    
    6

I'm preparing to be on a panel discussion about Technical Debt at SPLASH 2013.

I'm planning to write a series of articles exploring different aspects of Technical Debt. In this first installment, I look at Ward Cunningham's original meaning. Comments welcome. Thanks.

Not All Debts Are Equal (Part 1)


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Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective
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Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30352
    
150

Going into technical debt is not so much a problem as it is a conscious choice and commitment. At least that's the way it should be.

While I agree that's the way it should be, reality doesn't match that statement. I feel like there is a lot hidden in this one "should."

Great article by the way. I really like the analogy to real debt.


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Junilu Lacar
Bartender

Joined: Feb 26, 2001
Posts: 4456
    
    6

Thanks, Jeanne. I know what you're saying, which is why I plan on looking at other meanings and analogies people have attached to the term. I'm willing to bet that there are many people--perhaps even a majority--who immediately think of messy code, poor designs, and any suboptimal technical choice as being "technical debt", just as I had before I started researching this. I think it's useful to have a term for these kinds of deficiencies in a program but I also think it's beneficial to maintain the original metaphor's integrity because we can use it to our advantage, given the right mindset.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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