When you are in software development and engineering business for a long time, you will see that tech debt is pervasive and inevitable in such kind of business. Tech debts occur when you borrow time so that you can avoid paying the debt at present and pay it off later. Usually, a considerable amount of interest is associated along with it if you pay it off later. For example, when you find that you have designed a code with a flaw in your product but still work it out and release it within the time deadline; you are incurring technical debt knowingly.
Please Come Back
There has to be some price to pay for such decision of yours because you are taking the hit considering the cost of not delivering the code on time is much more than the cost of reworking on the defective code. This may or may not be true, and it all depends on your attitude, your commitment to pay it off diligently in the later stages. You have to stick to your promise made that you would come back to it and pay off the debt by fixing it. If you ignore and procrastinate it for a long time, it would accumulate and a time would come when you would have to pay a lot of interest.
Tech Debt And Financial Debt
Tech debt is not unlike financial debt as the extra amount that you have to pay along with the principal amount borrowed while repaying your financial debt is the interest on your borrowing. It is also significantly same in the case of technical debt. You may argue that financial debt is very pragmatic, common and rational in business as long as there is some value created from the cash borrowed. Even if it exceeds the capital, it is considered to be feasible as long as your business is benefited.
Challenge Is Much Greater
Technical debt also has the similar pattern but incurring tech debt is often associated with much greater challenge. It is due to the reason that you cannot calculate the rate of interest of tech debt and it cannot be predicted accurately either which is not the case with financial debts. You know the amount you have to pay accurately and plan the best way to consolidate credit card debt but how would you know the amount of interest you have to pay eventually when you take a shortcut this week to save 100 hours of work after two or three years.
Affects In The Future
Tech debt affects in due course of time and not instantly. It is this random forgiveness which makes it pervasive. You have to decide what are the chances that your debt would not be called for before you anticipated and did not have enough resources to pay off? If you think that you can take shortcuts and incur debt as it is your successor who would have to pay it off, the net effect of tech debt would cause more people’s involvement and cost you even more.