Technical Debt

Debt is a general term, which is generally, used to define, something owed, either physically or metamorphically. The use of term 'debt', may also be seen in the software engineering, and commonly known as Technical Debt. However, the Professionals engaged, in the software field, often misinterpret and misunderstood the technical debt, in terms of monetary and economic aspect. So, let's go through the concept of technical debt, to have its crystal clear understanding.

What is Technical Debt?

The term "technical debt", refers to the extra or additional efforts, required by the development team or an organization, at a later stage, after the product release, for the purpose of improving its quality, by applying code refactoring and other modifications, in it.

Technical Debt's Causes

A development team have two options, to carry out the development process, one is, to develop and follow well defined strategy and approach, including planning, documentation, compliance with the standards which may need considerable amount of time and efforts, and second option, involves, speedy and quick development, which may comprise of ad-hoc approach, absence of documentation work, shortcuts, etc., with a view to meet the specified deadlines. The second option, generally, works as the source, for the existence of a technical debt.

However, below stated, are some of the possible reasons, which may arise the situation of technical debt.

  • Time constraints/Deadlines associated, with a software project, which may pressurize, to deliver the software product, as soon as possible, ignoring necessary and important changes, to be considered and implemented.
  • Inadequate level of testing.
  • Lack of knowledge and expertise, possessed by the developer, to work on the programming code.
  • Ignorance or lack of documentation process, which works as a guide, to carry out the development process.
  • Lack of test suites or cases, to cover each and every aspect of a software product.
  • Last minute changes, introduced by the client or project manager, near the closure of deadlines.
  • Deferring the task of code refactoring, which may add on, more technical debts, as large number of code, would have been written, during the course of development.

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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Based on the above specified and other possible reasons, a technical debt may be categorized under four categories, namely Careless, Discreet, Deliberate and inadvertent.

How to manage these technical debts?

It may not be possible, to get rid of technical debts, completely. However, some necessary steps or technique may be taken, to control and restrict their productivity, during the course of time. Below given, are the three effective ways, which may help, in eliminating the existence of technical debts.

Software engineers/developers in Test (SEiT/SDiT)

As a software developer, is much aware of a software product structure, code, functionalities and technicalities, and also have the better understanding, of what needs to be tested and not to be tested, than a testing engineer, their involvement, may helps, in the execution of the testing process, in an effective manner.

Implementing the Agile practices

Agile methodology is widely known for incorporating dynamic requirements features, and subsequently enhancing the product quality after, each sprint. Thus, it may prove, to be a significant approach, which involves, maintenance of software releases, after each sprint, thereby, assists in reducing the technical debts.

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Test Automation

It is, also a vital approach that works in the direction of reducing the technical debts. Automating the whole process of software testing activity, includes automating the test case generation, execution, bug reporting, precisely and accurately, with the objective, to resolve or remove bug, in the same release or version, without leaving it for the later releases, which may, eventually helps in avoiding the situation of technical debt, to prevail.


In brief, it may be concluded that the technical debt, if not managed or tackled, appropriately, at a right time, the interest accumulated over the debt, during the course of time, along with the principal amount itself, i.e. technical debt, will be requiring, investment of huge amount of efforts, in the future, to be paid, off. Therefore, it would be better to invest in present, than to compromise with the future.

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