Monday, October 5, 2009

Technical Debt a.k.a. Torpedo in the Water

What can be more dangerous than having a armed torpedo coming fully ahead to your ship? Short answer: not knowing that the torpedo is coming and just feel the blast and have only an split second to realize that you, your ship and your crew are domed.

You could mitigate this by having some good active and passive radars that at least tell you that at torpedo is on seeking mode and looking for your ship. Of course knowing what is coming is times better than being taken by surprise.

During the Sprint we have a very good indicator-you can call it information radiator if you want-for knowing than something really bad is coming. This indicator is the technical debt which in its simplest definition is just unfinished work. But let me elaborate on this definition a little more, technical debt is:
  1. Schedule work that has not been even started
  2. Schedule work that has not been implemented
  3. Implemented work that has not been tested
  4. Tested code that failed to pass all test, bugs were encountered
  5. Work with bugs for which fixes were provided but rejected
  6. Retest work that is still in progress, consequently there's still uncertain that fixes actually work
  7. Unplanned work that has been discovered in the Sprint but that has not been completed-maybe not even started
  8. And the worst of all, undiscovered work that has not been considered but that will be necessary-armed and locked torpedo
Technical debt, like torpedoes, is lethal unless you know that it exist and is coming towards you. If you detect a torpedo in the water, you can still save your ship-and your life of course-if you launch counter-measures. The sooner you act, the more chances that you have to save your boat, sounds similar to technical debt?

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