Your development team may write less elegant, less efficient, or less thoroughly tested code to satisfy the project’s demands quickly. Occasionally, it’s a necessary trade-off to meet consumer demand or enter the market before a competition.
But these choices accrue technical debt over time. In the future, your team will need to “payback” for these flaws by rethinking, redesigning, or correcting particular system sections. According to a 2019 study, technical debt causes a 16% decrease in adjusted earnings.
If left unchecked, it has the potential to overwhelm and even impede future progress eventually. The longer technical debt remains unpaid, the more difficult it is to settle. You’re essentially building your entire infrastructure on an unstable foundation, and that’s a recipe for an eventual collapse in mobile app testing.
In this blog, we’ll cover what you need to know to improve your technical debt management and minimize it when possible.
What is Technical Debt?
The build-up of quick fixes or less-than-ideal solutions in software development, known as technical debt, can impede future development and raise expenses. It stands for the additional effort needed in action when a team decides to go with a quick and straightforward answer right away rather than a better, longer-term strategy.
Similar to bank debt, tech debt accrues interest over time:
- Program updates
- Greater need for maintenance
- Bug patches
- Protracted development procedures
What Factors Cause Tech Debt Buildup?
Every company uniquely accrues its IT debt. Keep in mind that not all debt is negative. It’s acceptable to take on a reasonable amount of tech debt to grow or accelerate your firm, just as you may occasionally need to borrow money to finance a business’s growth.
Engineering companies must comprehend how technical debt accrues to manage trade-offs effectively.
The following are some typical causes for its growth:
- Last-minute pressure. To fulfill delivery deadlines, developers may be forced to take shortcuts due to tight project timeframes or pressing expectations, which may result in less-than-ideal solutions.
- Need for more expertise. Novice software developers can write unmaintainable or inefficient code unintentionally.
- Modifying range. During development, needs can change, rendering well-designed code outdated or incompatible.
- Passive solutions. To solve urgent problems, developers occasionally apply temporary patches or short-term remedies to return to them later (which frequently never happens).
- Putting code quality aside. Bad code debt, which is challenging to read, comprehend, and maintain, can result from a failure to follow coding standards and best practices.
- Obsolete technology. Utilizing out-of-date or deprecated technologies can lead to technical debt since they are more challenging to maintain and work with modern systems.
- Inadequate examination. Future problems could arise from undetected defects or vulnerabilities brought on by inadequate or insufficient testing.
10 Ways To Reduce Technical Debt
Technical debt can be avoided, and in some cases, even necessary, but it must be managed well to keep it from negatively impacting the long-term software development process.
The following are some methods that your development teams can employ to control and lower your tech debt:
- Frequent code evaluations
Do routine code reviews to spot and resolve possible technical debt early in the development process. Code reviews facilitate knowledge sharing among team members, help identify problems, and guarantee adherence to code standards. Additionally, developers take more care when they know their code will be evaluated during the coding process.
- Automated testing
Use automated testing procedures to find bugs as soon as possible. This offers a safety net for refactoring and guarantees that modifications to the codebase don’t add more technical debt. Numerous development tools are available to speed up this procedure and guarantee high-quality code.
Refactoring is reorganizing legacy code to make it easier to maintain, comprehend, and expand upon while maintaining its exterior behavior. Set aside time to systematically and purposefully refactor code.
- Document debt
To raise awareness among stakeholders and team members, track and record technical debt. Ensure that everyone understands how technical debt affects development quality and pace so that everyone shares responsibility for finding a solution. One of the main issues is paying attention to tech debt. If you want to use it effectively, document it and include it frequently in your discussions about professional development.
- Align with business objectives.
Decide how best to handle technical debt based on your needs and business goals. In accordance with the company’s long-term goals and your product roadmap, decide which technical debt is most important to manage.
- Technology upgrades
Assess the software stack regularly and upgrade out-of-date technology to prevent technical debt from old or unsupported integrations.
- Modularity and design patterns
Promote the adoption of clean architecture and modular design patterns. Systems with good design are easier to maintain, facilitating the resolution of technical debt when it arises.
- Collective code ownership
Encourage a culture of collaborative code ownership, in which team members take ownership of the overall codebase’s quality and maintainability. This promotes accountability and teamwork in the management of technical debt.
- Avoid over-engineering
While it’s important to write code that can be maintained, don’t over-engineer solutions, as this can result in needless complexity and even technical debt.
- Measuring the technical debt
Assess and measure technical debt using metrics and tools. This can assist in tracking debt reduction progress over time and helping to create realistic targets.
Ways To Manage Technical Debt
Managing technical debt is integral to mobile app development, ensuring the codebase remains robust and adaptable to evolving needs. Technical debt accumulates when practical solutions are implemented, often leading to future complications. Adopting effective strategies to manage technical debt is crucial for maintaining code quality and fostering long-term sustainability.
- Regular Code Refactoring:
Regular code reworking is one of the main strategies for managing technical debt. To do this, the current code must be reorganized and optimized without changing its exterior behavior. Refactoring frequently helps developers reduce the overall load of technical debt by improving code readability, eliminating unnecessary parts, and fixing architectural problems.
- Prioritize and Plan:
Since not all technical debt is created equal, setting priorities is essential to managing it well. Technical debt must be evaluated and categorized by developers according to its significance and urgency. A well-defined plan for handling high-priority matters guarantees prudent resource allocation and prioritizes vital issues, thus averting more debt accumulation.
- Automated Testing:
Implementing thorough automated testing is a highly effective way to handle technological debt. Continuous integration and test-driven development (TDD) techniques aid in the early detection of problems in the development process, enabling developers to take proactive measures to fix them. Automated tests act as a safety net with every code change, keeping additional technical debt from being introduced.
- Adherence to Best Practices:
An early warning system against technical debt enforces coding standards and best practices. A more manageable codebase results from adhering to design patterns, maintaining appropriate documentation, and using consistent coding conventions. Throughout the development lifecycle, developers may lessen the chance of adding technical debt by fostering a culture of high-quality code.
- Incremental Feature Development:
Technical debt may be managed more efficiently when feature development is done incrementally. Rather than accruing debt by postponing essential enhancements, developers can incorporate incremental, controllable modifications into every version. This keeps the codebase updated and prevents a significant technical debt from building up that could become too much to handle.
- Regular Code Reviews:
Regular code reviews are essential for locating and resolving technical debt. Peer reviews provide an extra degree of quality control and promote information exchange within the team. Developers can identify possible debt through cooperative code quality evaluation and discuss how to fix it.
- Documentation and Knowledge Transfer:
Keeping thorough records is crucial for minimizing technical debt, particularly as team members expand or change. Good documentation facilitates knowledge transfer, ensuring new engineers can handle existing technical debt and comprehend the reasoning behind specific design decisions.
- Continuous Monitoring and Analysis:
Implementing tools for ongoing codebase monitoring and analysis facilitates the identification of possible technical debt hotspots. Code duplication, conformity to standards, and complexity can all be highlighted by automated code analysis techniques. Proactive debt management is possible when these metrics are routinely monitored.
Real-Life Examples Of Destructive Tech Debt
These are some actual instances of businesses that, as a result of improperly managing their technical debt, encountered difficulties (and even total annihilation):
- Myspace: Myspace struggled to keep up with the quickly changing social media scene and was heavily indebted. Because of the platform’s inefficient scalability, user experiences suffered, and performance was sluggish. Myspace’s demise was aided by user migration to rival platforms like Facebook.
- Nokia: Despite its early success in the smartphone market, Blackberry faced debt problems when it could not upgrade its hardware and operating system to match more modern smartphone platforms. The company lost market share due to its old-fashioned software design and small app ecosystem, which reduced its appeal.
- Boeing 737 Max: Serious technical debt problems with the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) software were encountered by the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Although the system was created to address stability issues with the new aircraft, two tragic crashes were caused by inadequate testing and documentation. This resulted in the plane being grounded worldwide, serious harm to Boeing’s brand, and the deaths of 346 people.
- Adobe Flash: As Adobe Flash became more vulnerable to security flaws and performance problems, it faced difficulties. The emergence of HTML5 and contemporary online standards rendered Flash obsolete, prompting Adobe to declare the software’s end-of-life and termination by the close of 2020.
Cloud-based testing platforms can also contribute to managing technical debt in mobile apps by providing a robust environment for comprehensive testing. Here are ways in which it can assist in addressing technical debt in mobile app development:
- Cross-Browser and Cross-Device Testing
- Automated Testing
- Parallel Testing
- Real User Simulation
- Performance Testing
- Continuous Testing
- Collaboration and Communication
- Rapid Debugging
- Comprehensive Test Coverage
- Integration with Issue Tracking Tools
By leveraging cloud testing platforms like LambdaTest, development teams can effectively manage technical debt in mobile apps by ensuring thorough testing, automation, and continuous application performance monitoring across diverse environments. This approach contributes to the overall stability and reliability of mobile applications.
LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform to run manual and automated tests at scale. The platform allows you to perform real-time and automation testing across 3000+ environments and real mobile devices.
Long-term performance and user pleasure in mobile apps depend critically on efficient technological debt management. Developers need to focus and consistently resolve technical debt because they realize that shortcuts and temporary solutions result in debt that needs to be paid back. A healthy codebase can be promoted by routinely reworking code, adhering to best practices, and strategically planning to lessen the effects of accumulated debt.
Adopting a proactive approach towards technical debt improves app performance and expedites subsequent development endeavors. By balancing innovation and code quality, developers can guarantee their mobile applications’ resilience, scalability, and adaptability to changing needs. In the end, paying off technical debt is a continuous process, and effectively navigating the dynamic world of mobile app development requires being proactive.