Ways To Escape The Black H*** Of Technical Debt

Traditional software programs will have phase-based approach to the development. Those are feature development, alpha, beta and even golden master. Each release is going, to begin with the phase where new features are always built and ideally, the residual issues left over from last released are well-addressed. The development cycle has already reached “alpha” whenever each feature is well implemented and meant ready for testing. Beta hits whenever enough bugs have been fixed for enabling customer feedback.

But, whenever the team is all set and busy to fix enough bugs for reaching beta, new bugs will appear. It is mostly a chronic case of whack a mole. Once you fix one bug, two pops up from nowhere and the number keeps on growing. At the final stage, the release hits golden master milestone whenever it has zero open bugs. You can achieve zero open bugs by fixing some of the know issues and then deferring the rest to next release.

Remember that constantly trying to procrastinate on bugs which need to be fixed is always a dangerous way to make software. As the bug count starts to grow, tackling it becomes daunting, which can often result in vicious death spiral of the technical debt. Just to make the matter worse, schedules might get derailed as coding around bugs slows down the development procedure. On the other hand, customers might experience death by just a thousand cuts caused by some of the un-fixed defects. Some of those will leave you. But, you have one better way and to learn more from nationaldebtrelief.com/, you just have to click the link.

Reducing the technical debt through the form of agile:

Agile helps in baking quality into iterative development approach so that the team can always maintain consistent level quality, one after another release. If the feature is not up to snuff, it will not ship. It is quite hard for people to believe this norm for sure. But you have a trick for that. You can define or redefine the current definition of “done.”

  • For the traditional teams, “done” means good for the QA to start. The problem with that kind of definition is that bugs will creep in early during the release cycle and will continue to just creep in. So, by time when the QA gets ready for the release, the developers will not move on to next feature or story until the present item is within customers’ hands.
  • For speeding up the things a bit, they are always going to use some techniques like automated testing, feature some branching workflows, and even continuous integration throughout the current development cycle. Preventing the addition of technical debt is what will allow the development period to be agile in long run.
  • The master, main or branch of code base should always be ready to just ship. That is going to be the number one priority. There are multiple new features, which will begin their lives on task branch comprises of code for the feature and some automated tests.
  • Once the feature gets completed and the automated tests pass, the branch can then be well merged into master. As the quality bar remains fixed always and fixed quite high, technical debt will always stay under control.
  • For most of the organizations, this is going to be a huge cultural change. With the agile in place, focus away from the schedules and then move towards demonstrable and high quality software. The product owner is going to be empowered to focus team on valuable work primarily and then reduce scope of release in place of compromising on quality. If the bugs keep on lingering for it, it becomes more painful to fix.

Taming the debt of the team:

In case you are currently working with legacy code, chances are high that you have inherited some technical debt without even knowing. There are some topics, which might help you to tame present debt and enable team to focus on fun stuff like new of the feature development and more.

You have to define it:

Sometimes, product managers and developers disagree about what actually comprises of technical debt. So, it is time to put the controversy behind. Technical debt is mainly difference between what was actually promised and finally what was delivered.It might include any technical shortcuts, which are made to match the delivery deadlines.

  • There is always a temptation on development side for just characterizing architectural work as the current technical debt. It might or may not, based on the nature of change. Then, on the other hand, you have product management, which might feel more urgency around creating some new features than just slow performance or fixing bugs.
  • For avoiding either side to be jaded about the other plan, everyone has to understand distinction between technical debt, the new features involved and the desired architectural change in the current code base. Clearer communication between the product management and development is major in prioritizing backlog and also evolving code base.

Beware of the current testing tasks and sprints:

You need to fight the urge of compromising definition of done by just adding separate testing task to original story of the user. It is way too easy to just defer them and just invites technical debt. If you fail to add testing as part of original bug fix or story, then the original bug fix won’t take place. You need to maintain strict definition of done in program and ensure that it adds complete automated testing. Nothing is going to sap the agility of the team more than buggy code base and a manual testing.

Automate the bugs away:

Whenever someone discovers bugs in software, it is mandatory to take time for adding automated test for demonstrating it. Once you fixed the bug, rerun test for ensuring that it passes. It happens to be the core of the test driven development and a promising time honored methodology for maintaining proper quality in the field of agile development.

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