Archive for September, 2009

* Managers and Technical Debt

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 by Dave Johnson. Filed under Business.


Managers love technical debt. It helps them to make it seem like they are doing a better job than they are. They can do this in a few ways.

First, by skipping tests and taking on other types of technical debt during development they come slightly closer to meeting tight timelines and releasing software that is not as good as it could have been, but good enough.

Second, when there are bugs found in the software the manager can blame the developers who were previously told to omit things like tests in an effort to get the software out sooner. Not only do the developers take the blame, but they are also forced to fix the bugs, often by working long hours outside of regular business.

The end result is that the software is closer to the quality it should have been in the first place, and the developers have done it in record time because they had to work evenings and weekends. And the manager, has not only released the software on time but he has also taken the credit for the heroic bug fixing effort.

That leaves the developers paying off the technical debt and looking for a new job where, hopefully, it won’t happen again.

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