8 tips for reducing technical debt (without killing operations)

Cutting corners is all well and good until a development project hurtles into a reliability and financial black hole. Here’s how to avoid the perils of technical debt.

8 tips for reducing technical debt (without killing operations)
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Completing an IT software project quickly without incurring some level of technical debt is challenging. When a project is developed and deployed in a rush, quality often suffers and the venture must inevitably be revisited to repair compatibility problems, security gaps, performance issues and various other budget-draining headaches.

Yet even when an important project is held hostage to a tight timetable, technical debt can be reduced to an acceptable level, leading to a reasonable tradeoff of time versus quality versus cost. Here are eight ways to reduce or eliminate technical debt with few, if any, adverse effects.

1. Align operations and business teams

One way to reduce your likelihood of incurring technical debt is to include both IT operations and business teams in project planning. "This gives operations a voice in the planning process and allows for trade-offs in terms of time-to-market versus maintenance costs," says Matt Seu, a principal at financial services advisory firm Actualize Consulting.

"Make specific decisions in iteration planning that identifies when technical debt will occur and in what time-frame it must be burned off," he suggests. "Managing technical debt in this manner will eliminate the risk as the project ends."

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