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29029Re: Backlog of technical tasks?

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  • Kane Mar
    May 1, 2008
      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "MacKilby" <mckilby@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "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
      > question.
      >
      > 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.

      I'd like to re-iterate what George has said. He has managed to eloquently say the words
      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.

      Best regards,
      Kane Mar
      b: http://KaneMar.com
      b: http://SeattleScrum.org
      w: http://www.Danube.com
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