Technical Debt - It's There

Nobody likes to admit it, but sometimes you know it's there. This site provides tools and
resources to help you identify, define, and manage your technical debt.

Technical Debt in the Headlines

“Of 3,555 projects from 2003 to 2012 that had labor costs of at least $10 million, only 6.4% were successful,” says the Standish Group.

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“Denver Airport Saw the Future. It Didn’t Work,” reports New York Times. After estimated losses of $500M per month due to a delayed opening, massive problems plagued the Denver Airport automated baggage handling system, resulting in jammed baggage carts and mutilated and lost bags.

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“Healthcare.gov website ‘didn’t have a chance in hell’ … failure rate for software development projects is high, particularly large ones like Healthcare.gov,” says Standish Group.

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“U.S. Air Force pulls plug on ERP project after blowing through $1 billion but failing to create ‘any significant military capability,’ reports ComputerWorld.

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“California scraps massive courts software project after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the effort, which would have modernized the state’s court system software,” reports ComputerWorld.

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Aerospace and energy system components manufacturer Woodward said its third-quarter profit and revenue had taken a significant hit ($30M) partly due to “ERP system-related issues that have been addressed.”

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“’Antiquated’ software leaves Long Beach, California out of $17.6 million in uncollected parking fines.”

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“Oracle software glitch leads to financial aid frenzy,” reports CIO.
Issues with a $15M Oracle PeopleSoft system at Washington State University caused widespread delays in financial aid disbursements.

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“Jollibee #ChickenSad: A Costly IT Problem,” reports GMA News.
Philippine Jollibee Foods Corporation announced that a major IT system change was to blame for the lack of the popular “Chickenjoy,” forcing 72 of its stores to close and potential losses of $4M per day.

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“Opal card commuters overcharged and readers fail as software problems plague the $1.2b ticketing system,” reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Financial Costs of Low Success Rates: “… a recent review estimated that a phenomenal US$150 billion per annum was attributable to wastage arising from IT project failures in the Unites States, with a further US$140 billion in the European Union.”

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“Delay in software launch frustrates city,” reports Argus Leader. After one year, $1.2M system to link city databases is still not operational.

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Dont Rewrite

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Tools

Analyze Your Code

Find out where the technical debt lives in your codebase with our free online tool. Developed by systems engineers and researchers at MIT and Harvard, Code MRI provides a snapshot of your code. You’ll get insight into bugs and spaghetti code/”furballs” quickly and easily.
 Try It Now  

Webinar

Cost of Complexity

In this webinar, Dan Sturtevant talks about measuring architectural complexity across a large commercial software codebase as well as the different risks incurred by the firm that developed and maintained it.
 Watch It Now  

Research

Hidden Structure

Professors Alan MacCormack and Carliss Baldwin describe complexity analysis methods in this Harvard Business School working paper, “Hidden Structure: Using Network Methods to Map System Architecture.”
 Read Paper  

Insight

Evolution of The Firefox Codebase

Evolution of the Firefox Codebase presents a set of metrics for all releases of Firefox that are indicative of quality and allows one to inspect them through one of several views. By looking at changes in these metrics, one can see the evolution of the Firefox codebase over time.
  Read More   

“Shipping first time code is like going into debt. A little debt speeds development so long as it is paid back promptly with a rewrite… The danger occurs when the debt is not repaid. Every minute spent on not-quite-right code counts as interest on that debt. “ – Ward Cunningham, 1992

“You have a piece of functionality that you need to add to your system. You see two ways to do it, one is quick to do but is messy – you are sure that it will make further changes harder in the future. …doing things the quick and dirty way sets us up with a technical debt…”- Martin Fowler 

Technical Debt on Twitter

#argh need to patch up the old @kutchannel a little bit while I put the finishing touches on its replacement #TechnicalDebt Retweeted by .g

#argh need to patch up the old @kutchannel a little bit while I put the finishing touches on its replacement #TechnicalDebt

Will legacy IT systems be the undoing of the banking sector? #banking #technicaldebt #innovation #mobile lnkd.in/dgZwGHN

A lot of what the experts tell you to do only works on codebases written by experts. #legacycode #technicaldebt #unmitigatedclusterfuck

OH "Then it's debt you don't need to pay off…" "The best kind of debt" #TechnicalDebt

An article EVERY team member of a tech business should read: what is #technicaldebt and how to deal with it: buff.ly/XS3ZCj Retweeted by Jules

An article EVERY team member of a tech business should read: what is #technicaldebt and how to deal with it: buff.ly/XS3ZCj Retweeted by David Mountain

technical-debt.com is a free service provided by Carliss Baldwin, Alan MacCormack, Dan Sturtevant, and  Silverthread Inc.

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