In November 2021 I shared my experience with technical debt and how you can make it work for you, without losing control. Below you can find my abstract. Check the full program of XPDay BeNeLux here.


Abstract of my talk

In software development, technical debt is the cost of rework you need to do, in order to keep a system functional in the long run. It could either be the result of taking shortcuts, which pile up code that you need to come back to later; or, it could also be the result of changing requirements – for example, you have more users than you expected, and now you have performance issues.

However, even though technical debt is often seen as negative, it not always a bad thing: The shortcuts you take now might speed up your development, and give you a first-mover advantage.

Like with financial debt, technical debt can create leverage – but only if you balance acquiring debt with paying debt, and only if you make conscious decisions about your debt. Having both too much, and too little technical debt can slow you down!

For example, not having any technical debt probably means that you’re over engineering or doing premature optimisation, slowing down how quickly you ship new features. Similarly, too much technical debt results in stability issues, reduces your speed of delivery, and means you have a lot of code to rework later on.

I have created a game to make it easy for engineers to discuss this topic with stakeholders. This game aims to help you understand how to leverage technical debt to your benefit, so you build a successful business. You’ll also learn that too much technical debt might give you success in the short term, but makes you loose in the long term. You need to figure out how to strike a balance! 🙂

After the presentation, the game will be explained and it can be download from github where it is available under a creative commons licence. By the time of the XP Days event, there will be a web page as well.