Opportunities to manage technical debt within financial services companies
In a previous blog post, I discussed how the wise adoption and management of technical debt was a potential competitive differentiator and a key strategic element. Company imperative for financial services companies. In contrast, with technical debt consuming 41% of enterprise IT budgets, for some companies, ignoring technical debt can pose an existential threat. In this article, I wanted to incorporate a few additional perspectives that industry professionals might find helpful when considering how to manage technical debt within their business.
Distinguishing between technical debt and self-harm
Technical debt is the accumulation of consequences that arise from the commission or omission of decisions within an organization. This gives different types of technical debt which can be modeled as a quadrant with cautious/reckless and deliberate/inadvertent axes. Clearly, companies should focus their activities on prudent technical debt that was deliberately adopted to tactically meet business imperatives or inadvertently adopted due to the learning process inherent in doing something new (“if we knew then what we know now, we would have done differently”). This form of technical debt is undoubtedly inevitable and unavoidable.
Deliberately omitting or ignoring vital processes such as adequate testing or solid solution design is reckless and avoidable. Life is hard enough for companies that manage technical debt prudently, without committing these unnecessary acts of self-harm.
The impact on people
Companies must recognize the impact of technical debt not only on the company, but on its employees. For teams with a high psychological disposition toward creative development and solution building, regressive excursions of development activities to resolve technical debt can take a heavy toll on the dynamics of those teams and the satisfaction of the individuals within them. . To ensure that technical challenges do not turn into significant talent challenges, companies should carefully plan regressive activity and, if possible, align that activity with team members who are more psychologically geared towards it.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
One of the biggest problems with technical debt is its lack of visibility within the company. Project managers are acutely aware of its scale and location, but often this is not communicated to the business. It’s often easier to trumpet that a project is delivered on time and on budget, without providing the fine print detailing how much the project has borrowed going forward to get there. And if communication is one thing, measurement is another. Most established metrics for technical debt are strongly aligned with the software development process (e.g., number of open issues, code turnover rate, etc.) and are significantly detached from their overall business impact. Parameters such as the technical debt ratio or the absolute debt (effort required to pay it back) are undoubtedly more relevant for the company. Regardless of the parameters adopted, an open culture that encourages their communication is fundamental to an effective management strategy.
Extend the analysis to the treatment of debt
Technical debt invariably refers to the drag on a company’s progress caused by inadequacies in technical systems. However, an equivalent concept applies to the process landscape of a business that is invariably served by these technical systems. Tactical prerogatives and the passage of time are also detrimental to processes within business operating models. Process Mining technologies are effective in identifying and quantifying process performance degradation in terms of performance and compliance metrics, to which remediation effort estimates can be attributed. This provides a consistent view of overall technical debt within the context of a company’s overall business design.
Don’t just measure it, use it
Quantifying debt only makes sense if companies can use this information to guide strategic decisions about its management. Embedding these metrics into low-level artifacts such as APIs and applications that reside in enterprise architecture (EA) tools creates an additional dimension of context that can guide strategic decisions. First, it helps map the minefield of technical debt within the organization, allowing new initiatives to avoid building solutions on shaky, indebted foundations. Second, by using EA tools, it is possible to understand where and how technical debt is accumulating in strategic organizational capabilities. This creates an evidence-based approach to enable companies to prioritize technical debt mitigation and focus investments where they have maximum impact within the context of a company’s business plan.
It’s not a debt if you don’t have to pay it back
Another benefit of integrating metrics into EA tools is understanding where technical debt resides in the context of overall IT portfolio planning and decisions to maintain, retire, rehost or re-architect IT systems. ‘a company. Because technical debt is closely tied to system development, companies can make more effective decisions about what development they undertake and what development they delegate. Specifically, how they can retire from indebted systems and use the capital that would have been used to mitigate technical debt, and invest it instead in low-code solutions and managed services such as SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service).
Put it into action
With technical debt consuming the largest share of enterprise IT budgets and being the biggest impediment to innovation, technical debt management is an ongoing issue. Company challenge that companies face. A significant competitive advantage is a realistic outcome for companies that can integrate a variety of cultural and technological approaches to excel in technical debt management.