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This chapter is from the book

Your Own Story About Technical Debt?

Now that we have given you a taste of the various flavors of technical debt, maybe you can identify with some of the stories: “Oh, yes, we have some of this here, too!” or “Now this thing we suffer from has a name: technical debt!” You could add your own development (or horror) story here. Over the past few years, the authors of this book have heard similar stories from dozens of companies. These organizations became mired in technical debt from different paths, with different concerns and different consequences. We have heard enough of these stories to classify them into awareness levels about technical debt:

  • Level 1: Some companies have told us they had never heard the term or the concept technical debt, but it was not difficult for them to see that part of their problem is some form of technical debt.

  • Level 2: Some companies have heard of the concept, have seen blog posts on the topic, and can provide examples of their technical debt, but they do not know how to move from understanding the concept of technical debt to operationally managing it in their organization.

  • Level 3: In some organizations, development teams are aware that they have incurred technical debt, but they do not know how to get the management or business side of the company to acknowledge its existence or do anything about it.

  • Level 4: Some organizations know how to make technical debt visible, and they have some limited team-level strategies to better manage it, but they lack analytical tools to help them decide what to do about technical debt and which part of it to address first.

  • Level 5: We have not heard from many organizations that respond, “Thank you, all the technical debt is under control.” If this describes your organization, we would love to hear from you about your successful software product.

This feels a bit like the levels of a “TDMM”—Technical Debt Maturity Model—doesn’t it? Regardless of the level you feel you’re at, this book has something for you.

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