Bug-, feature- and technical debt

I our project we’ve been fixing a lot of old bugs lately, and one would think that some of our debt should decrease.

Unfortunately, the “feature debt” increases correspondingly, since the amount of time we spend on fixing bugs (“paying bug debt”) results in less time spent on implementing new functionality.

Also, the bug fixes does not necessarily decrease our technical debt, depending on the type of “fix”.

What I feel is that there are several types of debt in a project, and the are all eating the same resources.

This would in my eyes be just one more reason for keeping your debt under control (close to zero), whether it is bug-, feature- or technical debt. Test early, test all, test automatically is my advice.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jelena
    Sep 12, 2008 @ 16:05:56

    I agree. In my experience it is very hard in some cases, bordering the impossible, to pay of your previous debts.

    Assuming that one himself has the same attitude as you do in keeping his system unpolluted, or as little polluted as possible, those debts that are too large to decrease, ever, usually already existed when one took over the system maintenance/future improvements. It was built some time ago, by someone who did not test nearly enough, or not at all.

    I think that all those debts of a system, follow the same rules as the deformation curve of a material (system) suffering stress (debt).

    At first you are in area of elastic deformation, meaning that you can come back where you started, if you apply the force to counteract the deformation. Unfortunately, after some point, that is just impossible, and the material is in area of plastic deformation.

    BTW, after plastic deformation, you know what comes next, if you apply more pressure?

    Fracture.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Elastic-, plastic- and fracture characteristics of code « Daniel Brolund’s Weblog

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