Technical debt log

The technical debt log is valuable organizational artifact that should be visible especially to senior management. Please see next table for example.

The previous log doesn’t include attribution to any person. Instead it describes objectively the business situation which caused the creation of the technical debt.

For me the technical debt log should be under biweekly management review. It’s part of the organization sanity checking for its management and quality practices. Technical debt forms the real liabilities of the organization which are not commonly addressed in their financial statement.

Technical debt log is one input for product road-map  because it can create the need for future projects for architecture enhancement. This log helps to understand the business value of architecture enhancement instead of limiting the business value to new features only.

The technical debt log can be proponent to drive process improvement on where is the highest return for the buck for process change. It is interesting to see how the business situations are repeatable indicating common pattern in our business practices. This is the essence of change management driven by real data of liabilities.

Situation

Decision

Impact

Cost implication

Total cost-to-date

Est. cost to do it right first time

Debt removal plan

We had to meet the deadline of 11/5/2009 become the client wanted to release the service before the competition.

De-scoped the customization functionality for power users configuration.

For every product roll-out we need to customize the functionality ourselves. Moreover, we receive “x” service requests from each client in average monthly to do some feature configuration.

The ticketing system shows that we spend in average 20 hours per month per existing client for configuratbility. Also, the level of configuring the features for new clients is 120 hours.

5400 hours at rate of $80/hr = $432,000

200 hrs = $16,000 with 3 weeks extension

NA. This due to having various interfaces and dependencies which we still need to assess the risks. There are other costs related to making changes also in other related products.

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