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Technical or tech debt, also called code debt, is a build-now-fix-later approach involving a collection of shortcuts to expedite the software development process. Although these quick cuts could be beneficial in the short run, they frequently lead to additional issues in the long run. 

Technical debt increases the complexity of the project, necessitates more work, and it might take a longer time in the future to maintain or modify the product. In short, tech debt can have a significant impact on the financial health of an organization.

Needless to say, CEOs and founders should spot tech debt and take steps to minimize it wherever possible. But how to reduce tech debt? To help you, we have covered all the insights related to tech debt in this blog post. Read on.                   

Need to Reduce Tech Debt

Technical debt, or “tech debt,” can be considered a loan that a software project assumes when developers opt for a simple but less effective solution over a more effective but time-consuming one. Tech debt must also be repaid, just like financial debt, and must be decreased for several crucial reasons.

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Development Velocity

Tech debt acts as a speed bump, slowing down the development team. Instead of developing new ideas, developers spend more time addressing old problems.

You may ensure continued development velocity by decreasing tech debt. Teams may concentrate on creating fresh features and enhancing old ones, resulting in a quicker time to market and a competitive edge.

Improved Code Quality

Software development shortcuts and fast solutions frequently lead to tech debt. These shortcuts can eventually result in clumsy, ineffective code. Developers can tidy up the codebase and make it more legible, maintainable, and organized by lowering tech debt. Higher code quality results from this, making adding new features and fixing problems simpler.

Enhanced Team Morale

Managing a codebase with a lot of technical debt can frustrate developers. It may slow down their speed, produce more bugs, and hinder teamwork. Developers can work more productively with less tech debt, which improves teamwork and job satisfaction.

Cost Savings

Although it may seem contradictory, lowering tech debt can ultimately result in cost savings. Increased maintenance expenditures are a common side effect of tech debt since improving or addressing problems becomes more difficult. Companies can prevent these rising expenses and more effectively deploy resources by addressing tech debt early on.

Mitigation of Business Risks

Tech debt can put a business at a significant risk. Outdated or improperly maintained software can have security flaws, compliance problems, and downtime. A business can lower the likelihood of these issues by lowering its tech debt, ensuring its technology is secure and dependable.

Better User Experience

Tech debt can have a detrimental effect on the user experience. It may result in less innovation or advancement, slower performance, and more accidents. By addressing tech debt, you can deliver a smoother and more responsive experience to the user and keep them engaged. Businesses can turn to software and technology consulting services to build a product that delivers a better user experience. Since these service providers work with global clients, they have unmatched experience in delivering customized solutions.

Causes of Tech Debt

Here are some primary factors that contribute to tech debt, which may be divided into four categories:

Why Does Tech Debt Occur

  • Business Causes

The dynamic business environment and corporate goals greatly impact product development. You may need to shorten deadlines or reduce costs to achieve certain goals. Of course, technical debt could come from this.

For example, shifting goals and product strategy affect the product development plan. It is occasionally necessary to adapt technical solutions only partially or to remove specific technologies due to changing priority projects, which could lead to significant technical debt.

  • Development Causes         

There could be a buildup of bugs in the code during the development stage. The product’s requirements, core attributes, and top priorities may change throughout development. Sometimes, it doesn’t need to be fixed immediately, but causes technical debt.

The development team’s error could result in cruft building up. The predetermined targets are not accomplished due to rising TD, thus exacerbating the situation.  

The rapid development of new technologies makes it challenging for teams to adopt them swiftly. However, older software also needs updates.

  • Development Team Causes

Technical debt can accumulate for several reasons, occasionally when development teams are overly cautious. The main reason is not a worker’s poor performance. TD typically rises because the development team needs to scale up. After all, it lacks particular specialists or specialized knowledge.

Sometimes, it’s necessary to distribute the workload properly and use the developer’s skills better. The software development team omits them in favor of quicker product delivery since they simply need more time to implement more complex and effective solutions.

  • Resource Causes

When they are short on time, developers occasionally look for workable alternatives. In other cases, the group requires more data and materials to decide which technological solution is ideal. So, temporary substitution provides you more time to develop a better plan.

However, each product has distinctive qualities. Therefore, TD may have a variety of causes. It is essential to take this into account while coming up with a technical debt reduction strategy.

Also Read: Software Version Upgrades: Best Practices for a Smooth Transition

Types of Tech Debt

Tech debt comes in several forms, each of which can accumulate over time and have negative effects. Let’s examine these several types in more detail:

Classifying Tech Debt

Infrastructure Debt: The infrastructure serves as the framework for running software. Infrastructure debt develops when the underlying networks, servers, databases, and systems aren’t adequately updated or maintained.

It may result in poor application performance, system disruptions, and trouble growing it to handle expansion. The underlying technology has to be updated and optimized to address infrastructure debt.

Software Debt: Software debt concerns the caliber of the actual code. Software debt builds up when programmers scrimp on best practices or take quickcuts. It may appear as difficult-to-maintain code, frequent defects, and challenges in implementing new functionality.

Like how interest in financial debt builds up over time, managing software debt is more difficult as a project expands. Developers must frequently rewrite code, address problems, and follow coding standards to reduce software debt.

Security Debt: Security debt develops when security considerations are not given enough attention during software development. As a result, there may be openings for hostile actors to exploit vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Neglecting security can lead to data breaches, unauthorized access, and reputational harm for an organization as technology develops and new threats appear. Developers must follow security best practices, carry out routine security audits, and swiftly fix any vulnerabilities found to control security debt.

Documentation Debt: When software projects don’t have adequate and current documentation, it’s called documentation debt. Understanding the software’s architecture, APIs, and usage guidelines requires knowledge of its documentation.

It is difficult for developers to properly onboard new team members, solve problems, or maintain the product when the documentation is deficient or outdated. Documentation debt must be paid off by producing detailed documentation that advances with the software.

7 Simple Strategies to Reduce Tech Debt

Technical debt management is essential for a wholesome and effective software development process. Here are the 7 simple strategies for lowering tech debt and raising the caliber and maintainability of your program.

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Embrace Automated Testing

Modern ISVs software development practices aren’t complete without automated testing, a tried-and-true approach to finding bugs in the code as soon as feasible. Automated tests with thorough coverage can serve as a regression suite, informing engineers when previously functional components stop working.

The benefits of automated testing, especially unit testing, are endless. It can increase quality independently and as the foundation for additional quality-improving techniques like code restructuring.

Adopt Code Review Practices

Code reviews are fantastic, and you should perform them. 

To clarify, a code review process means a procedure wherein modifications are only approved for inclusion in the mainline following an asynchronous review in which one or more engineers assess the code and provide feedback.

Reviews now frequently occur as part of the pull request process, and have several benefits:

  • Code reviews are ideal forums for debate and education; frequently, even the reviewer learns something.
  • Collective ownership is made possible by the ease with which specific classes and modules are known to others.
  • An unbiased reviewer can spot issues the original author missed.

Adopt Pair Programming/Mob Programming

Pair programming, or mob programming involving more than two engineers, is a practice many teams use as an alternative to code reviews. Some even claim this is the only method for a team to build high-quality software successfully. Here are several advantages to pair/mob programming:

  • Extremely brief feedback cycles. Your pair is present and can provide rapid feedback.
  • Simple design and test-driven development, emphasizing small stages and simple design, can help you stay on track and avoid over-engineering.
  • Knowledge and experience-sharing programming promote the sharing of expertise, information, productivity suggestions, and more in a way comparable to code reviews but more immediate. It is advantageous to share knowledge between team members with different experience levels.

Create a Culture of Constant Refactoring

Refactoring is making changes to your code without altering what it does. It is a crucial component of agile development approaches like extreme programming and other contemporary software development tenets.

To ensure you’re routinely paying down technical debt, LinearB keeps track of how much work your team puts into new work, refactoring, and rework.

Your code will become simpler to maintain, comprehend, and update if you regularly refactor it. Refactoring eliminates duplication and other problems, reducing the complexity of the code. Refactoring, though, carries some risk. You are, after all, altering code that is already functional.

Track and Improve the Right Metrics

Engineering metrics are crucial, but teams frequently become distracted by the incorrect ones. Your organization can acknowledge, track, and pay off its technical debts if it uses the right metrics and continuously improves them. However, which metrics are accurate?

Here is a list of five recommendations:

  • Defect escape rate
  • Lead time
  • Cycle time
  • Cumulative flow
  • Deployments per day

Understand and Treat the Root Cause

The hardest thing on this list is unquestionably this one. Every practice we’ve listed thus far is significant and highly efficient. Even when establishing a spotless new team and codebase, you should adopt them.

However, they do exist at the tactical level. The symptoms are addressed. Technical debts and quality concerns must be addressed more deeply to identify their underlying causes. And the organizational root cause is typical.

  • Wide-ranging promises are made to clients by the sales department, which subsequently puts pressure on the development team.
  • It does happen that management forbids engineers from implementing best engineering practices like testing, code review, and source control.
  • Everything is always urgent due to a lack of prioritization, which forces engineers to frequently transition between contexts, increasing the overall cognitive burden of software development.

Listen to Your Team

Finally, pay attention to your engineers if you want to raise the caliber of your application! Since they are the ones who created the program, they have a thorough understanding of its flaws and what can be done to make it better. Listen to what your engineers say, and consider implementing their recommendations. Most engineers are intelligent, compassionate individuals who genuinely value producing high-quality work.

Tools Help to Measure Tech Debt

When calculating technical debt, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The ideal strategy is to try out various tools until you find the ones that function the best for you. The following software options need your attention:

Bug Tracking Software: It enables testers and developers to use a particular piece of software to solve and organize bugs. A bug tracking system is a centralized location that houses all of the project’s test coverage data. Some of the best bug-tracking tools are Monday.com, SpiraTeam, BugHerd, Smartsheet, and Jira.

Code Analysis Tools: These tools make it possible to assess code quality without actually running it. They help developers quickly fix functional issues and other vulnerabilities by detecting them. Some of the best code analysis tools are SonarQube, Checkmarx SAST, Synopsis Coverity, and Snyk Code.

Application Performance Monitoring Tools: These tools support software developers in ensuring that it functions as intended. They can test the entire software system or only specific components like the database, containers, logs, and network. Traceview, Dotcom-Monitor, eG Innovations, and Datadog are top application performance monitoring tools.

How can PixelCrayons Help in Reducing Tech Debt?

PixelCrayons plays a pivotal role in reducing tech debt for businesses in several ways. Our team of knowledgeable developers and engineers can assist in locating any technical debt that is currently present in a company’s software systems. We conduct thorough code audits to identify problems that must be fixed immediately.

We specialize in implementing best practices in custom software development services, such as automated testing, code reviews, and continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD). We provide expertise and commitment to industry standards that can significantly reduce tech debt, leading to more robust, maintainable, and scalable software systems for their clients.

Final Words

Technical debt is a common problem in software development, impacting functionality and security. To minimize it, categorize and prioritize it properly. Create a gradual plan focusing on critical product quality, performance, and security areas.

Effective communication and teamwork are key to managing technical debt. Involve all teams in selecting and prioritizing debt reduction plans. It ensures clarity and collaboration. If you need help, reach out to software product development services.


How can I identify tech debt in my software development project?

Identifying tech debt in a software development project involves looking for signs that your code might need improvements. If you notice parts of your code that are hard to understand, have many bugs, or slow down your system, these could indicate tech debt.

Also, if you find yourself taking shortcuts to finish tasks quickly, that can add up to tech debt over time. Regularly reviewing your code and talking with your team about challenges they face can help you spot tech debt early.

What techniques help manage technical debts?

There are several techniques to manage technical debt. One important way is to prioritize it along with other tasks. Like you’d pay off a debt, you can fix parts of your code with the most debt first.

Using automated testing and code reviews can prevent new tech debt from building up. Refactoring – which is like tidying up your code – is another technique. Setting aside time to fix and improve your code regularly is a good strategy, too.

How to identify tech debt in my software development project?

To identify tech debt, take a close look at your code and see if there are parts that are hard to understand or maintain. If you find areas where you took shortcuts that might cause issues later, that’s tech debt. Bugs that keep returning or slowing down your software can also be signs of tech debt.

If you notice that adding new features takes longer, tech debt might be the reason. Hire professional software developers regularly checking in with your team, and being open to feedback can help you find tech debt that needs attention.

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