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Managing Technical Debt: A Guide for Software Developers


Technical debt is a real problem for software developers. If you take on too much of it, your code will become unmaintainable, and you may need to start over from scratch. However, if you deal with technical debt carefully and gradually, it can be an effective way to get more done in less time and ensure that your application works well in the long term.

In this guide, we’ll look at why technical debt happens, how to identify it and how best to handle it when faced with an insurmountable amount of work—all so that you can keep building great software!

Why is technical debt so bad?

Technical debt is a way of borrowing against your future. It can be a good thing, but it can also cause problems. For example, when using “quick and dirty” hacks to get around dependency resolution issues, you may spend more time cleaning up those hacks than the value they provide in their current form. And suppose you compare this to the much simpler and more maintainable option of using an external dependency manager, like the Cargo registry by JFrog. In that case, you may find that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Technical debt doesn’t just affect developers; it affects everyone on the team who needs to work with that code base. Suppose there is an issue with how some code works under the hood (and there usually is). In that case, it will take longer for new developers to learn how everything fits together and therefore take longer to ramp up on projects where technical debt exists.

Similarly, if there are bugs in production that are only happening because of technical debt, then it will take longer for the team to fix them. And if issues happen regularly, it may be time to reevaluate whether or not you’re making enough progress on your project to justify its existence.

Why does technical debt happen in the first place?

Technical debt can happen for many reasons. Perhaps you’re working on a project that needs to be completed as soon as possible, and you decide to cut some corners to get it done faster. Alternatively, maybe your company’s budget is tight, and there aren’t enough resources (people or money) available now. Whatever the reason, technical debt is often caused by a lack of time or resources.

In other cases, technical debt might not come about because of a lack of resources; instead, it might be due to poor planning on behalf of developers and managers. This technical debt can occur when teams decide how to build software without thinking through all their options—or worse yet if they don’t have time/money available for research before making those decisions!

What is a good way to deal with technical debt?

When dealing with technical debt, it is essential to be aware of the consequences. As a software developer, you should consider how much time and effort is required to complete a feature or fix an issue. If it takes longer than expected, the codebase may have some technical debt that needs fixing.

Moreover, you must ensure that your process includes a plan for handling technical debt. It’s also essential to have a process by which issues are resolved once they arise—for example, if someone reports a bug in your codebase but doesn’t provide enough information about what they were doing when they ran into it (e.g., no screenshots), then don’t waste time trying to replicate the issue before actually investigating what went wrong! In short, ensure there’s an established way to deal with technical debt so that everyone on your team understands their role in resolving these problems quickly and efficiently.

Since technical debt is a byproduct of building software, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to eliminate it. However, you must take steps toward minimizing its effects on your project—for example, by automating as much as possible so that manual tasks are easier to handle and can be done consistently.

Technical debt is an unavoidable part of software development. If you don’t plan for it, the issue can snowball into a huge problem that affects your bottom line and reputation. Make sure your team knows how to address technical debt quickly to keep their codebase clean and maintainable long-term.

The best way to deal with it is to keep an eye on your codebase and keep it clean and well-managed. Don’t be afraid to refactor or rewrite parts of your code if they become too complex or intricate for others on your team to work with.


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