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2016-05-04 10:31:15+02:00

Standard for Managing and Fixing Technical Debt

Seems an official specification for measuring and managing technical debt is in works. I found myself waiting with a mix of fascination and horror, and then realized those emotions were caused by me being a strong proponent of my Simple Standard for Managing and Fixing Technical Debt (SSfMaFTD for those of you fond of hashtags or alphabet soup).

It has clearly come the time to share this standard with the world.

Simple Standard for Managing and Fixing Technical Debt

  1. Do not code anything risky or messy (aka technical debt).
  2. If you create any technical debt, note down what and, most importantly, why.
  3. Fix all the technical debt you can1.
  4. Eliminate the root causes of technical debt whenever feasible.

Proposed implementation of SSfMaFTD

  1. Do not code anything risky or messy (aka technical debt).
  2. If you create any technical debt, write into TECHNICALDEBT.md what and, most importantly, why.
  3. Comment technical debt in code with a code comment "TECHNICALDEBT".
  4. Fix all the technical debt you can1.
  5. Check the notes and code comments in your retrospectives.
  6. Pay attention to the common causes that lead to technical debt and strive to eliminate them.
  7. If your technical debt went down since the previous retro, celebrate that!

Something more verbose?

If you want something more verbose, the slide set on Identifying and Managing Technical Debt can let you know a lot more on identifying different types of technical debt and understanding why keeping it under control is important.


  1. What you can fix is up for your project to decide. Usually it's the combination of whatever you can get fixed without manager interference and BIG refactorings with a clear ROI. 

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