29029Re: Backlog of technical tasks?
- May 1, 2008--- In email@example.com, "MacKilby" <mckilby@...> wrote:
>I'd like to re-iterate what George has said. He has managed to eloquently say the words
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Jim Schiel" <schiel@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Bottom line -- technical debt is no different than anything else
> on the
> > > backlog. Don't treat it like a second class citizen -- it's always
> going to
> > > be there and everyone should get used to it being there.
> > >
> Agreed... and now let me share more of the story that prompted the
> When I implied a large technical debt, I was thinking of those
> companies that had legacy code bases to deal with. One group I know
> solved that problem of dealing with legacy debt by incorporating the
> "payment plan" into the backlog. That is, because they had a large
> technical debt with their legacy codebase, the team and PO agreed that
> they would try to include a certain percentage of technical debt
> stories in each sprint until debt was paid down below a certain
> threshold and they made this team ground rule visible. So not only
> did they make their commitment to the debt visible in the backlog, but
> they also made the payment plan toward improved quality visible to
> stakeholders by keeping the groundrules visible.
> So I agree that technical debt should be balanced with other factors
> the PO must consider and that balancing should be made visible through
> the project backlog and the methods to prioritize the backlog.
that I've been struggling for especially when he says: "I've always found it possible to
refactor and pay down technical debt in the course of adding new features. As you touch
legacy code, you leave it a little cleaner and easier to use than it was before."
I very much like the analogy of a sales tax (aka GST, VAT etc) rather than a mortgage
repayment analogy. When I buy a coffee at Starbucks is cost me about $3.50 and then I
have to add on a 9.5% sales tax.
I pay this tax at the same time as I purchase the coffee. I don't wait until the end of the
year and pay all my sales taxes separately. It's all part of my spending. And so, I feel it
should be with technical debt ... something that the team always needs to do and should
not be considered separate from their day to day activities.
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