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Headwinds: Legacy Technology’s Invisible Drag

Like a beautiful sailboat covered in barnacles below the waterline, obsolescent legacy technology can reduce your company’s velocity, productivity and agility. Your technology investment needs to address modernizing your legacy technology as well as new products and features.

Technical Debt Matters

Sooner or later, technical debt will be a drag on your business. It’s expensive, it saps productivity, and it reduces business agility. The more you understand about the technical debt you have in your business, the more you can manage it.

Why do software products and systems become harder to evolve and less reliable over time? Small changes take longer than they should, create more problems than they resolve, and fail to keep up with the business and market needs. They can also become less reliable and behave unpredictably. Why? Technical Debt. At Ten Mile Square, we take a pragmatic approach to helping you reduce your technical debt.

Technical debt is the kind of concept that technologists can argue about at great length. It’s a metaphor that is useful for explaining deferred work that negatively impacts the performance of systems and products. Really, it’s a metaphor for three types of drag on your systems and products:

  • Deliberate Technical Debt – You intentionally choose to make compromises in the short-term that you know you will have to clean up later. For example, you may make technology selections based on what your team knows even though those selections cannot support your long-term scaling goals. These choices accumulate over time. Eventually, you will need to pay them down. If you don’t address the deliberate technical debt compromises in your backlog, they become folklore and eventually become inadvertent technical debt.
  • Inadvertent Technical Debt – Unintentional poor practices, technology choices, design and implementation driven by staff who did not know better. Simply put: mistakes. Inadvertent technical debt is a people problem.
  • Obsolescence – The entropy that accumulates over time due to the changes in the business and the progress of technology. The foundational components of your systems age until they are no longer supportable. New business requirements overtake old code. Technology choices are undermined as better technical options emerge. Security vulnerabilities are no longer patched.

The bottom line is, as technical debt accumulates, the deferred work becomes a drag on your ability to execute and create value for the business.

Ten Mile Square Can Help

We can help you address your technical debt by:

  • Assessing the scope of your technical debt, technology process gaps, and team gaps.
  • Prioritizing the technical debt remediation in line with your features backlog,
  • Providing technology leadership, process remediation and team coaching.
  • Applying hands-on technology modernization, infrastructure update and software development.

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Rick Garvin
07 Nov, 2017