Technical Debt Edge Cases

Is Technical Debt always bad?

Everybody talks about Technical Debt. Most of the time it’s always considered to be A. Bad. Thing.

Nobody talks about when it might not be a bad thing, or when some folks think Technical Debt exists and it doesn’t.

Technical Debt is a term invented by Ward Cunningham to explain what happens when we not keep our codebase in alignment with how we understand the problem.

Ward Cunningham Explains Technical Debt

Note that Ward is talking about something along the lines of hacking your code to get it to work even when it doesn’t reflect the way things work in the real world. Over time, Technical Debt has come to just mean hacking your code. As Ward points out at the end of the video, code that isn’t clean is more difficult to adjust later, which keeps it from being in alignment with your understanding.

So if you’re looking at your code and you don’t know why it works, or if you’re looking at your code and it’s so poorly constructed that others can’t immediately find the alignment between the code and the problem? You’ve got technical debt.

For all intents and purposes, history lesson aside, if you’re talking Technical Debt today, you’re talking about code that isn’t clean.

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April 4, 2016

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