Connect with us

Development

9 ways to reduce technical debt and increase software quality

Here are some of the most effective ways to reduce technical debt and increase software quality.

developer working on computer
Image: Unsplash

Imagine you are the CEO of a major software company. You’ve built your business on the premise that you deliver high-quality software products that meet your customer’s needs.

You’ve even done extensive research and identified your customer’s must-haves via a customer need analysis.

But lately, you’ve been struggling to keep up with the demands of your customers and maintain quality control. You know that if you don’t do something soon, you’ll start to lose customers to your competitors.

You could try to hire more developers to help you keep up with demand, but that would be expensive and wouldn’t necessarily solve the quality control issue. Alternatively, you could try to reduce the amount of technical debt in your codebase.

Reducing technical debt can be a difficult task, but it’s worth doing if you want to improve the quality of your software and avoid costly mistakes.

In this article, we’ll discuss nine ways that you can reduce technical debt and improve the quality of your software.

What is Technical Debt?

development
Image: Unsplash

Technical debt is a term used in software development to describe the consequences of making trade-offs in order to get something done quickly.

For example, if a developer took a shortcut in order to meet a deadline and the code needs to be rewritten later, that would create technical debt.

Technical debt can have negative consequences for a software project, such as increased complexity, lower quality, and longer delivery times. It can also lead to instability and even system failures.

The good news is that technical debt can be reduced or eliminated by taking steps such as creating good coding standards, using automated testing tools, and conducting regular reviews of code.

Why does Tech Debt happen?

When technical debt happens, it is important to identify the root cause in order to implement strategies to reduce or eliminate the debt. Below are a few of the most common causes that result in tech debt.

1) Inadequate Time Constraints

A lack of time can lead developers to take shortcuts which can create long-term consequences for the project.

Consider implementing an agile methodology including various metrics so that limits can be set and increased as projects develop over time.

2) Lack of Understanding of Complexity

If you’re new at a job and haven’t been trained in all aspects, there’s going to be some gaps in understanding what makes software development hard or complicated.

It’s essential for team members with more experience or knowledge about certain areas to take the time to mentor and help educate new team members.

3) Lack of Automated Testing

If code is not properly tested, it can lead to errors and increase the amount of technical debt. Automated testing tools can help to identify problems early and prevent them from becoming bigger issues down the road.

4) Emergencies and Urgent Fixes

In some cases, emergencies or urgent fixes can cause developers to make quick decisions that may not be the best in the long run.

If possible, try to schedule time for emergency fixes during normal working hours so that they don’t impact the rest of the project.

5) Poor Planning

If a project lacks adequate planning, it can lead to confusion about who is responsible for what and lead to a higher percentage of technical debt. Adequate planning can help to prevent these problems from occurring.

6) Lack of Communication

Lack of communication can also lead to misunderstandings and create an environment where tech debt can thrive.

Make sure that team members are adequately communicating with each other about changes, tasks, and issues

7) Poor Coding Standards

If coding standards are not followed, it can lead to confusion and inconsistency among developers, which can result in increased technical debt.

Establishing coding standards and enforcing them can help to mitigate this problem.

8) Inability to Prioritize Tasks

In some cases, the sheer number of tasks that need to be completed can cause developers to prioritize some tasks over others, which can lead to increased technical debt.

It is important to have a clear understanding of the priorities of the project and work accordingly.

9) Lack of Resources

If a team is understaffed or lacks the proper resources, it can lead to an increase in technical debt.

Make sure that you are adequately staffed and have all the necessary resources in order to complete your projects successfully.

Why is it important to reduce Technical Debt?

development coding
Image: StackSocial

Technical debt can have a negative impact on a software project, such as increased complexity, lower quality, and longer delivery times. It can also lead to instability and even system failures.

The good news is that technical debt can be reduced or eliminated by taking steps such as creating good coding standards, using automated testing tools, and conducting regular reviews of code.

Reducing technical debt can provide a number of benefits for a software project, including:

  • Increased Quality – By reducing or eliminating technical debt, you can increase the quality of the project. This can be accomplished by implementing better coding standards and using automated testing tools.
  • Faster Delivery Times – When there is less technical debt, the project is less complex and can be delivered more quickly.
  • Increased Stability – By reducing technical debt, you can make the project more stable and less likely to fail.
  • Improved Morale – A team that is successful in reducing or eliminating technical debt can experience improved morale and a sense of accomplishment.

How to measure existing Technical Debt?

Technical debt can be measured using TDR (Technical Debt Ratio).

It consists of a relationship between the total cost of the project and the budget for fixes. Anything under 5% is considered good enough, but the lower, the better.

Managing Technical Debt

Technical debt is a common problem for software development teams, and it can be difficult to know where to start when trying to reduce or eliminate it.

There are many different approaches that you can take in order to address technical debt, and the right approach will depend on your particular project’s needs.

Here are some of the most important steps that you can take to reduce or eliminate technical debt:

1. Create a coding standards document

One of the best ways to reduce technical debt is to create a coding standards document.

This document can help to ensure that all developers are using the same coding standards, which can help to prevent confusion and inconsistency.

Having a coding standards document can also help to improve the overall quality of the project.

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when creating a coding standards document:

  • The document should be clear and easy to understand.
  • The standards should be realistic and achievable.
  • The document should be updated as the project progresses.
  • The standards should be enforced.

2. Use automated testing tools

One of the best ways to reduce technical debt is to use automated testing tools. These tools can help to improve the quality of the project by identifying and correcting errors in the code.

Testing tools can also help to speed up the development process by identifying problems early on in the cycle.

Jamie Opalchuk, Founder & CEO of HostPapa says that “I characterise test-driven development as a software development methodology based on rapid iteration.

The process is simple. An automated test that defines the planned enhancement or addition of a function is created first. 

The developer will then construct the bare minimum code required to pass the previously created test. Finally, the code will be optimized. Rinse and lather.

The technique ensures that the code is regularly checked. (And certainly not after the fact.) Using TDD, you may reduce technical debt by writing code in smaller chunks that are less likely to need rework.”

3. Conduct regular code reviews for all project members

One way to reduce technical debt and increase software quality is to conduct regular code reviews for all project members. This helps to ensure that all code meets established standards, is well-written, and is error-free.

By catching errors and potential coding problems early on, you can avoid costly and time-consuming fixes down the road. Additionally, code reviews help to foster a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility among team members.

4. Establish deadlines for urgent fixes

When it comes to software development, it’s always best to address urgent issues as soon as possible. This helps to minimize the amount of technical debt that accumulates and ultimately leads to a higher quality product.

Establishing deadlines for urgent fixes also helps to keep team members focused and motivated. By knowing exactly what needs to be done and by when they’ll be less likely to procrastinate and more likely to produce quality work.

5. Make sure there are clear lines of communication among team members about changes, tasks, and other issues

Poor communication is often a leading cause of project failures. This is especially true when it comes to software development, where changes and tasks can often be complex and difficult to manage.

Make sure that there are clear lines of communication among team members so that everyone is always kept in the loop. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

6. Prioritize tasks based on their importance

Software development is a fluid process that requires adapting and trying new approaches as the need arises.

A good rule of thumb to hold true when working on your next project is to prioritize tasks based on their importance. Ask yourself, “What would happen if this task wasn’t completed?”

If the answer is “not much,” then it most likely isn’t super important and should be postponed in favor of more urgent fixes or projects.

On the other hand, if you have no idea what will happen if a specific project isn’t completed then you’re likely dealing with a high-priority task that needs to be done right away.

This way you can feel confident in making decisions and choosing tasks without having any doubts about where you stand and what the future might bring.

7. Make use of staff augmentation if you’re understaffed

One of the best ways to reduce technical debt and increase software quality is by using staff augmentation. Staff augmentation is the process of hiring temporary or contract workers to help with specific tasks or projects.

This can be a great solution for companies that are understaffed or have a high workload. By using staff augmentation, you can quickly and easily get the help you need without having to hire new employees.

This can save you time and money, and it also allows you to avoid the hassle of recruiting and interviewing new candidates.

Staff augmentation is a great way to improve your team’s productivity and efficiency. It also gives team members the opportunity to learn new skills and expand their knowledge.

And, finally, it helps to reduce the amount of technical debt that accumulates over time.

A dedicated team is one thing. A dedicated augmented team is another.

8. Make sure you have the necessary resources in order to complete your project successfully

write about why you should Make sure you have the necessary resources in order to complete your project successfully.

One of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your project is to make sure you have the necessary resources in place. This includes everything from manpower and funding to tools and equipment.

If you don’t have the necessary resources, you’ll likely find yourself struggling to meet deadlines and produce quality work. This can lead to frustration among team members and a higher amount of technical debt.

Make sure you have the resources you need in order to complete your project successfully. This will help to ensure a smooth and successful outcome.

9. Create a project plan and stick to it

Creating a project plan is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your project. Having a plan allows you to visualize the entire project from start to finish, and it also helps to keep everyone on track.

A good project plan should include:

  • The name and description of the project
  • The goals of the project
  • The team responsible for completing the project
  • The resources required for the completion of the project
  • The timeline for completion of the project
  • Any risks or potential problems that could occur

By having a clear and concise project plan, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Plus, it’s a great way to track your progress and make sure you’re on schedule.

Conclusion

In conclusion, here are some of the most effective ways to reduce technical debt and increase software quality.

Prioritize tasks based on their importance, make sure you have the necessary resources in place, create a project plan and stick to it.

These principles will help you manage your team more effectively so that they can complete projects successfully.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

Comments

More in Development