Technical Debt Analogies

Everyone should know what technical debt is, and everyone loves analogies. What better way to explain technical debt, then?

  • Technical debt is not something you fall into, it’s a purposeful assumption of debt. You don’t fall into technical debt, just like you don’t trip and end up with a mortgage on a house – you make the decision to buy a property on credit and go through the effort of ending up with a lot of debt.
  • Technical debt often has a grace period, but it eventually needs to be paid off. It can be like a student loan, you get 6 months after you graduate before you start to owe money.
  • Technical debt’s interest payments increase if you put off paying them. When you don’t pay your minimum payment on your credit card, you get hit with a late fee and your APR skyrockets. Same thing.
  • Rewriting your application to avoid technical debt is like bundling your mortage in a mortgage-backed security and selling it to someone else in your company. The debt didn’t go away and you get to avoid it, but you hurt the economy a little bit. And in the end, you probably end up with another mortgage (technical debt) anyway.

Have I missed any other good ones?

One thought on “Technical Debt Analogies

  1. Pingback: November Goal: Pay down Puppet Tech Debt Part 1 | rnelson0

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