Estimating The Cost Of Technical Debt And Measuring It

The first step towards re mediating tech debt is to identify, admit and understand it and also believe that it is impacting the software project in a negative manner. When you do this, you know that you need to take some measures which will enable its proper functioning and produce the desired results. The next challenge that you face is to measure the cost of the debt along with the size of it. When you have done this, now is the time to decide whether or not you should pay it off and if so then in what way. All this require strategic planning and calculation and most importantly, time.

Requires Methodical Approach

When you want to measure tech debt and calculate the cost of it, you will require some methodical approaches. There are several methods to assess the quality of any software that is based on the principle of lifecycle expectations. It describes how the source tool has been used when compared with a given set of quality indices. Such indices include portability, reusability, efficiency maintainability, reliability, security, changeability, and testability. This way you can ascertain a remediation value to the product in question. Such value can be measured regarding days for each and every instance of violation of the code for anyone of the quality indices. This will help you to assign a cost for remediation of tech debt in the said product.

Use Of Automated Tools

To identify and also measure the technical symptoms of tech debt quantitatively you can use automated tools and other concepts such as code smell. To know more on code smells click here. However, there is a need for broader measures as well. The effectiveness of human identification of tech debt as compared with the ability of the automated tool based analytics has always been questioned. It is always believed that the tool based analysis is far more effective. It was also found that the analytics of human identification did not match with the tool based analysis against a specific metric. This highlighted the idea that all tech debt should not be treated equally.

Theory Based Approach

There is also some theory based approach to tech debt analysis and identification. Such theory includes experimental reports of the decision-making process and a test theory which can be sued to guide the process for assessment in the future. Such assessment of tech debt with the help of meaningful taxonomy with the addition to the financial cost is helpful in a great way for tech debt identification and management as well.

Questions To Answer

It is better to ask a few questions when it comes to the determination of dimension, visibility, and explanation of tech debt. You should know the extent to which there is accurate and shared understanding of the size and scope of tech debt. Other questions like what is the difference in the potential value of the code in the ideal and current state, the current pain, the rate of software decay, is it good enough, is it deliberate or inadvertently acquired and whether it is localized or widespread are also helpful.

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