Technical Debt

What is it?

You can think of the concept of technical debt as penalty incurred by taking short-term shortcuts in programming. In short, it’s the hurdles or issues that can build up when programming rapidly, under budget or when switching between developers on a single project.

Technical debt for small businesses can cause crippling results when dealing with issues that arise. Hacked websites, security breaches in a POS system, or high cost of expansion are all signs of high technical debt.

Technical debt can be caused by many factors, including unclear working guidelines at the start of a project. Where Six Foot 3 can help is in a technical debt assessment. With a 30 minute free consultation, we can provide a detailed report that outlines issues your business, app or website may have in the face of technical debt and solutions you can implement.

If the above sounds like your situation, fill out this form and we can help!

  • Was your website hacked? Did your business part ways with your primary developer?

What kind of technical debt exists?

Developer Debt
When working with contractors or remote workers, website parameters can be unclear unless a solid scope of work is provided. Even if the work is completed, documentation and standard programming practices may not be used. A poorly constructed scope of work can result in a complex, inefficient system that would require additional time to develop extensions or improvements for in the future, primarily working with another developer.

Update Debt
If you are utilizing open source software for your website or application (e.g., WordPress, Magento, Prestashop, Ghost), those types of applications have updates that are required published often. If your store or website falls behind on these updates, it can make it difficult to update in the future. Security for your system would be compromised as most updates involve patching security flaws in the system, leaving your users vulnerable.

Data Debt
What kind of data is stored in your database and how is it stored? Are you collecting the right information about your application? In the case of a user-driven web-application, having the right kind of database setup is crucial for longevity with your user base. What happens when you bring a new product to market, and the existing, old database does not support the data required? A database rewrite and migration can be extremely expensive instead of iterative updates.

Relieving Technical Debt

Finding trusted partners – In development (or any part of your business process) having trusted partners ensures a reduction in technical debt. Hiring programmers that will create an efficient system for your needs with proper documentation will go along way to allow your business to expand.

Create a development log – Whether a Google Drive folder, Trello board or Word document, it is vital to create a straightforward narrative of the life of your application. By taking clear notes for each project (and having other parties contribute their involvement), you can create a timeline of changes to your application or website that any new team member can review and catch up with the rest.

Action Plan – Technical debt can build up slowly over time, and it is easy to put it off until another day. If you sit down with your technical partners and review the current system, immediately create an action plan that allows you to know where your business stands. An action plan gives you a 30,000-foot view of where your team is headed and allows you to set clear, actionable goals today to ensure the technical debt is reduced, eventually eliminating it.

If you are ready to get your business out of technical debt, contact us via the form below.

  • Was your website hacked? Did your business part ways with your primary developer?