Technical Debt
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2. Tracking and Managing
By Michael "Doc" Norton, 48m

In this second episode on Technical Debt, we take a look at how we identify and track debt. We start with Prudent Technical Debt, which is relatively easy to manage. We talk about ways to make sure Prudent Technical Debt gets included in planning and how to tie it to business value.

We'll then look at Reckless Technical Debt. Here, we consider how Deliberate Reckless Technical Debt can become Inadvertent Reckless Technical Debt as a team changes their beliefs without changing their behaviors.

Identifying and tracking Reckless Technical Debt can be a challenge. To help us figure out ways to identify Reckless Technical Debt in our code, we take a look at the SOLID Principles and The 4 Rules of Simple Design. We use these concepts to help us identify any useful static analysis metrics. Finally, we briefly discuss the proper outlook for use of metrics.

At the end of this episode, you should have a better sense of why Prudent Technical Debt is far less risky than Reckless Technical Debt and have a few tools for thinking about and tracking your Technical Debt.

1. Technical Debt
By Michael "Doc" Norton, 35m

Technical Debt—this phrase might not mean what you think it means. It most certainly didn't originally mean what it commonly means today.

In this series, we discuss technical debt in depth: what it is, why we use the debt metaphor, how we track it, and what we should do about it and when.

We'll talk about the origins of the metaphor and how the metaphor changed over time. We'll take a look at ways of identifying technical debt from AB & Multivariate testing to Complexity, Coverage, Duplication, and Coupling. We'll discuss when to pay down a debt and when to leave it well enough alone by combining our quality metrics along with information on churn and utilization. And we'll discuss techniques that can help when we decide to pay down the debt such as code profiling and the mikado method.

In this first episode on Technical Debt, we take an in-depth look at the history of the metaphor. We'll see how the original definition presumed clean code and how, over time, the metaphor came to be synonymous with messy code.

We'll learn about the Technical Debt Quadrant and look at how it helps us better understand Technical Debt and provides us some beneficial distinctions between types of Technical Debt.

In this episode, we also discuss alternatives to the metaphor and explore what it might look like if other industries had adopted similar metaphors.

All of this leads to a better understanding of the phrase "Technical Debt" and sets the stage for our future conversations.