Dominik Szymański
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Debt of Code: A Modern Tragedy

Debt of Code: A Modern Tragedy

Through the battle of technical debt we fought, Together as a team, we never forgot!

Dominik Szymański's photo
Dominik Szymański
·Apr 9, 2023·

8 min read

Introduction

Team Leader: A skilled and experienced engineering leader who understands the importance of addressing technical debt and is determined to convince business management to allocate time and resources for the task.

Developer 1: A passionate and detail-oriented developer who is committed to delivering high-quality software but has been frustrated by the technical debt that has accumulated over time.

Developer 2: A hard-working and dedicated developer who is always looking for ways to improve their skills and make meaningful contributions to the team.

Business Manager: A results-driven manager who is focused on the bottom line and is hesitant to allocate time and resources for technical debt when there are other pressing business needs. However, they are ultimately convinced by the team leader and recognize the importance of addressing technical debt for the long-term success of the company.

Act 1: A Developer's Dilemma

Team Leader: Hey guys, I wanted to talk to you about the technical debt that's been piling up.

Developer 1: Yeah, it's really starting to slow us down. We keep encountering the same bugs and issues over and over again.

Developer 2: And every time we try to fix something, we end up uncovering more problems.

Team Leader: I know, it's frustrating. But I've been trying to talk to the business managers about this, and they keep pushing us to focus on new features.

Developer 1: But if we don't address the technical debt, it's only going to get worse. It's like a never-ending cycle.

Developer 2: And it's making it much harder to develop new features. We're spending more time fixing problems than actually developing new code.

Team Leader: I completely understand your frustrations. And I've been trying to communicate this to the business managers, but they don't seem to understand the impact it's having on our development process.

Developer 1: Can we show them examples of other companies that have suffered due to technical debt?

Team Leader: That's a good idea. We can show them how technical debt can lead to major problems and even cause a company to fail.

Developer 2: And we can also show them how addressing technical debt can lead to faster development times, fewer bugs, and easier maintenance.

Team Leader: Yes, we need to find a way to communicate the importance of addressing technical debt in a way that they understand.

Developer 1: But what if they still don't listen? What if they keep pushing us to focus on new features?

Team Leader: We need to be persistent. We can't just give up and ignore the technical debt. We need to keep communicating the importance of addressing it, and we need to work together to find a solution that works for everyone.

Developer 2: I just hope they start listening soon. It's really starting to affect our work and morale.

Team Leader: I know, but we can't let our frustration get in the way of finding a solution. We need to keep fighting for what we know is right, and eventually, they will listen.

Stasimon

Developers:

Our code is clean, our logic sound,

But technical debt is all around.

We need to fix it, we need the time,

To make our software truly sublime.

Team Leader:

I hear your concerns, I know your pain,

But business managers are hard to train.

We'll make our case, we'll plead our cause,

And show them why it's worth the pause.

Together we'll fight, and together we'll win,

Our software's future we will begin,

With a solid foundation, a debt-free start,

And a product that truly sets us apart.

Act 2: A Clash of Priorities

Team Leader: Hi, I'd like to talk to you about the technical debt that our engineering team has accrued over the years.

Business Management: Technical debt? What is that exactly?

Team Leader: Technical debt refers to the cost of maintaining and fixing code that was not developed properly in the first place. It is a problem that accumulates over time if not addressed properly.

Business Management: Okay, I think I understand. But why is this such a big deal?

Team Leader: Well, technical debt can cause major problems down the road. For example, do you remember the fall of Knight Capital? They lost $440 million in a single day due to a technical glitch that was caused by unaddressed technical debt. And do you remember the software issue with the Patriots? It cost the lives of soldiers.

Business Management: Hmm, that is concerning. But what can we do about it?

Team Leader: We need to allocate some time for our engineering team to address the technical debt. If we don't, it will only get worse and the cost of fixing it will only increase.

Business Management: But we have other priorities that we need to focus on. We don't have the time or resources to address technical debt right now.

Team Leader: I understand that, but we need to prioritize this issue. If we don't, it will only become more costly and time-consuming to fix down the road. It's like a car that needs an oil change. If you don't change the oil regularly, the engine will eventually break down and it will be much more expensive to fix.

Business Management: Okay, that makes sense. But we've been hearing about technical debt for a while now, and we haven't seen any major problems yet. Why should we allocate resources to address it now?

Team Leader: The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to fix. And even if we haven't seen any major problems yet, technical debt is still affecting our development times, causing more bugs, and making maintenance more difficult. We need to address this issue before it causes major problems.

Business Management: I understand your point, but how can we be sure that addressing technical debt will actually save us time and money in the long run?

Team Leader: There have been many studies that have shown that addressing technical debt can lead to faster development times, fewer bugs, and easier maintenance. And as I mentioned before, if we don't address this issue now, it will only become more costly and time-consuming to fix down the road.

Business Management: Okay, I see your point. But can we allocate less time to this issue? 20% of our engineering team's time seems like a lot.

Team Leader: We need to allocate enough time to address the issue properly. 20% is an estimate, but we can work together to come up with a more specific plan that will allow us to address the issue while still meeting our other priorities.

Business Management: Alright, I can see that this is an important issue that we need to address. Let's work together to come up with a plan that will allow us to allocate enough resources to address technical debt while still meeting our other priorities.

Team Leader: Thank you. I think this is a critical issue that we need to address sooner rather than later. By addressing technical debt, we can prevent major problems down the road and stay competitive in the market.

Stasimon

Business Manager:

I hear your plea, I understand,

The importance of addressing technical debt in our land.

Our company's future is on the line,

And technical debt will only cause us to decline.

Team Leader:

I appreciate your willingness to hear,

Our concerns, our issues, our need to steer,

Our software in the right direction,

With technical debt-free as our main connection.

Business Manager:

I trust your expertise, your knowledge, your skills,

To address our technical debt with minimal spills.

Our company's future is bright, and it's all thanks to you,

The team that's strong, that's dedicated and true.

Act 3: The Triumph of common sense

Team Leader: Hey guys, I just wanted to say how proud I am of all of us. We've really made a difference by addressing our technical debt.

Developer 1: Yeah, things have been so much smoother since we've been able to tackle those lingering issues.

Developer 2: And we're able to develop new features so much faster now that we're not constantly fixing bugs.

Business Manager: And it's not just the development team that's noticed. Our customers have been happier with the product and we've seen an increase in sales.

Team Leader: Exactly. Addressing technical debt was the right thing to do, and it's really paid off.

Developer 1: I'm just glad we were able to make such a big impact.

Developer 2: And it's really made me feel more fulfilled in my work. It's nice to see the positive impact of what we do.

Business Manager: I completely agree. It's clear that addressing technical debt was a smart business decision.

Team Leader: Well, we need to make sure that we don't fall back into old habits. We need to keep addressing technical debt as it comes up and make sure that we're always improving our processes.

Developer 1: Sounds good to me. I think we're all on the same page now.

Developer 2: Yeah, we couldn't have done it without your leadership.

Business Manager: And we couldn't have done it without your hard work and dedication. Thanks for making such a big difference for our company.

Team Leader: It was my pleasure. Let's keep making a difference together.

Stasimon

Team Leader:

The burden lifted, the path now clear,

Our hard work paid off, with no more fear.

With technical debt finally slain,

We're ready for whatever comes our way again.

Developer 1:

The code is cleaner, the bugs all gone,

Our product's better, it won't be long.

Before our customers start to see

The benefits of our technical debt victory.

Developer 2:

I feel fulfilled, I feel alive,

Our work no longer seems like a strife.

With technical debt in the past,

We can move forward and grow at last.

Business Manager:

Our profits rising, our customers pleased,

Our future secure, our growth increased.

With technical debt defeated at last,

Our company's future has been cast.

Everyone:

Together we fought, and together we won,

With technical debt gone, our work is fun.

Let's keep this momentum, let's keep this pace,

And secure our future for the whole human race.

 
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