When your development team runs out of time or funding in the late hours of any project, they end up making a compromise with the quality of the project and release defective codes which later leads to technical debt. The best practices of software craftsmanship are foregone, and your deliverables come out in the way in which you would have least expected. Tech debt occurs when there is no time to run tests on a project and is released for the users in the market and when codes are copied and pasted from previous ones without refactoring it properly. It is then that the requisites of a good code like script installation and technical standards are missing from the code.
Make Tech Debt Visible
It is better to make tech debt visible to your entire team who accepts compromises and is aware of what is going on with the code. You can make a big poster, write and tag stories which would enable everyone to see the debt items clearly. It must be shared across all your team members so that everyone is empowered to address these debt items. Make sure that they all can edit and augment all the debt items so that there are no barriers to documenting new items and address them. This would enable faster action and also the proper implementation of techniques.
Track Debt Items
It is also necessary to track debt items to resolution once the baseline for tech debt is captured and is made visible to all. It would enable better addressing of debt items by all the members of the team. You must also keep a regular track of a simple and quantitative metric system at the minimum and at a regular interval mentioning things like a total number of outstanding debt items as backlog each week. This is a useful way to track your team’s capability and skill in the development process, and you can be sure that there is a lack of alignment if at any point your team finds it necessary to add new tech items in the middle of their effort to close a particular debt item.
Group Your Debt Items
Just like you would do in a credit card debt settlement, you would need to re-prioritize and group the debt items for effective resolution constantly. When you update the debt metrics or at any interval, you must review the outstanding list of debt items and re-prioritize them to set new targets for the team. Take help of the inputs you received from your stakeholders and your customers and look into similar debt items by nature to increase the velocity of resolution.
Involve Other Teams
You can involve other teams as well to increase the velocity by sharing it with other teams which would result in collaborative solutions. Common mitigation can add consistency and also invoke friendly competitions among teams. It would also help in easy and faster communication with other teams and get some help from them as well whenever required. Lastly, do not forget to retrospect using a Release Level Retrospective so that mistakes are not repeated in the future.
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