Time has a significant impact on projects. You need to get to market. You need to respond to change quickly, but also remain responsive over time, which makes it critical to build maintainable systems. Add to that competition and the technology landscape, plus the cost of delay, and the cost of change can become quite high. According to Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant John Heintz, the increasing cost of change leads to a slowing down of customer responsiveness.: “One of the primary reasons that we slow down is because it gets harder and harder to change things. If the cost of change in our systems goes up, then at some point we become less responsive, and Read more
Posts Tagged 'technical debt'
What strategies do you apply to modernizing a product code base? What results do you get with those strategies? This Advisor takes a retrospective look at a past project, both to describe the strategies my colleagues and I used to rearchitect the product and to validate the effectiveness of those strategies with two technical debt assessments via Cutter’s Technical Debt Assessment and Valuation practice. The six strategies we used are presented here. The two assessments are used to evaluate the measured impact on the system from the team’s efforts and compare it to the actual time spent modernizing the code. This is the story of the DeLorean system, a client’s longtime production setup. (While not Read more
Technical debt is like the family secret that no one wants to talk about. Everyone knows that it exists, it’s awful, and it makes life miserable for everyone affected by it. However, people are often unable or unwilling to confront it. The simplest explanation of technical debt is the increasing burden created with each decision to cut corners when coding software. The greater the pressure to deliver software, the greater incentive to cut corners. The more corners cut in the past, the harder it is to deliver new software value in the future. Technical debt imposes significant business costs. In an era of digital transformation, organizations respond more slowly to threats and opportunities. What little Read more
[For some related posts about application lifecycle management, click here and here. For my video series on ALM, click here.] Software teams are usually very responsive either to their own organization or the customer; it’s harder to find a team that is good at responding to cues from both. For example, I’ve known teams within corporate IT that are so enmeshed with their customer that the business, for all practical purposes, manages and runs them. I’ve also seen teams in software companies that are primed to respond every time an executive clears her throat, but far less responsive to customer issues. In part, these behaviors are the result of corporate culture: for example, in vertically-oriented Read more
Presuming the economic forecast provided by the Beaulieu brothers holds and we have a growth expansion through 2017 with a hard recession in 2018, I predict the following: Companies will continue to build up technical debt at a dizzying pace to stay competitive In 2018, those with cash and an elegant code base will be able to charge lower prices due to their response efficiencies In 2019, companies dependent on software will not be purchased (too much financial and technical debt) – they will just go out of business. The keys are to focus on competitive advantage, reduce technical and financial debt, and be ready to outcompete on price, delivery and customer expectations. In other Read more
In a few months, the Affordable Care Act enrollment system will finally be working well, millions of people will have enrolled, and the debate will return to the basic policy and political question of whether the whole program is good for the U.S. or not. By 2015, the IT profession as a whole, government procurement services, and the contractors will forget the lessons of the October-November fiasco and will largely or completely return to the same practices as before: unrealistic deadlines, lack of testing, big waterfall lifecycle models, tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear practices, etc. Why am I being so pessimistic? Because we’ve been here before. The Y2K effort consumed a lot of resources, and contrary to many people, Read more
Welcome to the seventh-anniversary edition of my enterprise architect’s New Year’s resolutions. I hope it will give you food for thought and some inspiration for architectural growth in 2012. Understand business analytics. The past few years have seen dramatic increases in the capabilities of business intelligence systems, accompanied by decreases in costs, to the point where most organizations can easily afford to take advantage of business analytics. The problem is that the information that these systems need to analyze is not readily available. While this is not a trivial problem to solve, it does present a major opportunity for enterprise architecture. When we provide management or decision makers with information that they don’t currently have Read more