How to define and spend your tech debt budget

  • Define a technical debt budget - the maximum debt you can take on without affecting the business bottom line or your customers. If your tech debt balance sheet is in the red, take the time to pay back some of it; if it is in the green, take more risks to try and beat competitors.
  • Identify areas in the codebase where you will want to pay back your tech debt immediately - usually where debt gets in the way of the company‚Äôs current objectives. Examples are weak file ownerships and those with low cohesion and high coupling. Prioritize files that check all three boxes.
  • If it is not critical or is too complicated or does not need to be improved in the next few months, acknowledge it as debt and let it be.
  • Decide what you will work on this sprint, month or quarter and see what part of your tech debt overlaps with that roadmap.
  • From the list of files, thus, see which files are going to be needed for the roadmap ahead. Target these for refactoring.

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