Technical debt - the eventuality that app development teams want to avoid. It’s a symptom of a variety of issues that could be affecting your development project, from a lack of resources to a lack of developers, amongst other things.
In short, technical debt is assumed in order to meet deadlines. Sometimes it’s beneficial, a sort of ‘interest payment’ that you will eventually have to pay back. However, in most cases, it’s worth avoiding because of how it can impact an enterprise business in reducing the ‘big costs’ and in affecting the strategic process.
So what is technical debt? And why does it create such an impact on enterprise businesses?
Technical Debt: The Facts
There are several interpretations of what technical debt is, however the Software Technology Journal has a very succinct, academic definition:
“Technical debt describes the consequences of software development actions that intentionally or unintentionally prioritize client value and/or project constraints such as delivery deadlines, over more technical implementation, and design considerations…”
The term was originally coined by software developer, Ward Cunningham. It describes how early coding choices - taken to expedite the completion of projects - could lead to greater costs in the future related to dealing with the shortcomings of those early decisions.
The Problem with ‘Interest Payments’
We spoke about technical debt being an ‘interest payment’. It’s akin to using duct tape to fix a table leg. Yes, it’s a quick fix, but a fix like that will probably require fixing again relatively soon. It’s much better to properly fix the table leg then and there, so that it's ready for future use. That ‘interest’ is the technical debt, something you have to ‘pay for’ overtime.
Technical debt is a very real pain for enterprise businesses. During a project they prioritize delivery over infallible coding, all to get the project off the workbench and out of the door at the end of the day.
A quick delivery may result in code that doesn’t allow for changing our updating further down the line, meaning developers might have to go back to the drawing board. They may have to spend large amounts of time on updating code or revisiting projects they assumed were completed.
Creating technical debt means you end up paying a higher cost down the line, meaning it’s not a cost-efficient approach to app development.
But that’s not all. Here are the other impacts an enterprise business might be faced with.
Technical Debt and Poor Performance
We understand that productivity and performance are pretty crucial for enterprise businesses. You need to complete projects on time in order to satisfy the needs of stakeholders and secure that all-important ROI.
However, acting with haste can create problems. An app that doesn’t perform well will only require more and more fixes. Plus, technical debt can be compounded. When systems crash because of high volume or ineffective code it can affect the efficacy of other systems they’re related to, causing more than one problem that needs to be fixed, adding to your debt.
Similar to poor performance will be the inevitable bottlenecks caused for your productivity. Technical debt negatively affects your ability to get projects fully completed as they constantly need to be revisited. This means other projects get pushed back, app development is slowed and your developers are wasting time on work that should have been finished.
For example, taking the time to implement code properly might take three weeks of work, but doing it hastily will take one. However, that code is more likely to fail, meaning two months later you’re having to come back to the project, disrupting other work. Additionally, this will affect the speed and success of the production-test-release cycle that enterprise businesses rely on to consistently provide for the needs of customers.
There’s also a chance that those issues won’t be solved properly upon returning to them, especially if development teams are up against the wall in terms of time. Latent issues are always harder to fix, as the developer would have to understand the problem all over again, rather than the ‘quick fixes’ being stopped on the initial pull request and peer review.
Overall, any limitations imposed on productivity will result in negative ROI and a potential loss in profit.
Impact on Innovation
Any business relies on innovation for growth and future impact upon competitive markets. One of the biggest issues of technical debt is how it denies the ability to innovate.
When technical debt compounds and gets out of control, development teams spend all of their time and energy dealing with problems that didn’t need to exist in the first place. Instead of innovating on new features, ideas and updates, they’re left stuck on problems caused by an ill-prepared app rollout.
So what’s the solution?
The Low-Code Solution to Technical Debt
The solution to technical debt is to not create it in the first place. However, this seems difficult and in some cases, impossible. How do enterprise businesses ensure good code is developed within the limited timeframes they’re working within?
A popular answer is Low-Code, a visual app development solution that automates coding, allowing projects to be developed quickly with no issues of faulty code. Developers can focus on real problem solving rather than writing thousands of lines of command code.
Low-Code simplifies the coding process, but still allows for the design complexities and niche developments that can only be achieved through high-level hand-code. Low-Code has been used by many different enterprise companies, from Emirates to Louis Vuitton to L’Oreal amongst many others.
Low-Code is a much simpler process than traditional coding. And there’s no doubting the top-level advantages:
- Development speed: Apps can be built for multiple platforms simultaneously. They can be finished and demonstrated to management or stakeholders in days. This can drastically reduce the chance of technical debt ever occurring.
- Reduced operational costs: With Low-Code, there’s no need for hiring specialist external developers if in-house staff aren’t qualified for a specific project. Operational costs per project are also reduced due to a quicker time to market.
- Visual site builder: Being given the ability to get stuck into the user interface quicker allows for much earlier changes in the development, meaning you can create a better UX, faster.
- Easy deployment: Low-Code development platforms allow for a single-click deployment.
- Ease of integration: Low-Code has inherent usability guaranteed by it’s integration capabilities. Similarly, there’s an ease of integration to legacy APIs or tech stacks.
- ROI: Low-Code integrates security, data and cross-platform support. Not only that, these features are easily customisable.
Low-Code offers a good middle ground between speed and flexibility. It can be the perfect implementation for enterprise business applications, with development teams being able to quickly roll out projects in record time.
To explore the kinds of Low-Code development platforms that enterprise businesses can onboard, download our comparison guide.
The Low-Code Comparison Guide for Enterprise Businesses
To discover what are the best Low-Code development platforms on the market today, the platforms that can help you completely erase technical debt from your development processes, download our comparison guide.
We compare and contrast five of the top-performing, most popular platforms to show just how Low-Code can work for enterprise businesses.
Click the button below to begin your download.