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May 15, 2023

Reducing Tech Debt While Still Innovating

Bill May

Reducing Tech Debt While Still Innovating article

Being in digital for more than two decades, I have found that one of the hardest things to manage is your tech debt. You might be asking yourself, what is tech debt? As your brand grows, you will start branching out to other digital platforms; websites, integrations, mobile applications, etc. When you release these, the next version of what these digital properties are built on is already being developed, and very soon, they’ll all need to be updated. For example, the average shelf-life of a website is 3 years. Now, you have multiple properties which all need attention which equals debt, tech debt.

Here at Creative Energy, we have a dedicated digital team with UI/UX professionals, full-stack developers, native mobile application developers, and SEO/SEM experts. This also means we have a full stack of technologies in use, and one of the biggest struggles is reducing tech debt while still innovating. 

Here are some tips to reduce tech debt:

  • Tech debt is often caused by a lack of information about users’ needs. Be sure to have your research about who your audience is, where they are, and how to speak to them. 
  • As much as possible, remove the pressure to release in lieu of quality.
  • Allow budget and time for refactoring. As pressures of deadlines increase, developers can sometimes be pushed to “just make it work so we can go live”. When this happens developers may not implement best practices. Allowing time and budget to refactor code, which doesn’t change the appearance of the project—it allows the developer to go back and implement the best practices.
  • Embrace the ignorant. As your progress advances, recruit someone who is ignorant of the project to do some unit testing. We all get tunnel vision and see how it’s supposed to work which may not be the way a user sees it. Doing this can reduce post-launch mad dash updates.
  • Knowledge exchange. Just because one developer is familiar with the project, don’t always give that person tasks related to that project. Instead, assign them to a person who isn’t familiar with the project so they have an opportunity to become familiar. Now, you have more staff who can handle requests during vacation times, or if they decide to leave.
  • Listen to your development team. They have a really good grasp of what’s wrong with any of your digital properties and what could be done to improve them.

Reduce Tech Debt or You Could Lose Real Money

Tech debt can make your team go slower in the future. It can also result in more bugs being introduced, which makes adding new feature requests harder, and it also demotivates your development team.

Sure, tech debt might be a metaphor, but the money you can lose because of it is very real. 

Tech debt will never completely go away, but if you keep up with the evolving technologies by making sure you maintain all of your digital properties regularly, preferably monthly, and follow these tips, you can keep your tech debt to a minimum.

Don’t have time or the resources to reduce or manage your tech debt? Contact us, and let us help you get out of debt.