Don’t use “technical debt” as an excuse to build bad products

Karolina Szczur makes some excellent points about using “technical debt” as an excuse for subpar products in The Technical Debt Myth:

Technical debt becomes a convenient blanket statement entailing frustrations, rushed decision-making, lack of process or architecture, and tedious maintenance tasks — the get-out-of-jail-free card for delivering a subpar experience.

It’s crucial to understand that as software and design grows older, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re dealing with debt. We must look deeper under the surface to find the root cause of bottlenecks we’re facing. Only when we carefully assess the symptoms can we find solutions to building products that last.

While we’re on the topic, the most useful article I’ve read on technical debt is Henrik Kniberg’s Good and Bad Technical Debt (and how TDD helps) from way back in 2013. He discusses good debt, bad debt, and the importance of having a “debt ceiling”. Highly recommended post, and still very relevant.