How DevOps Helps Businesses in Addressing Technical Debt?
Technical debt is incurred when organizations choose an easy and faster solution to solve a business problem in the short run instead of using a better overall solution that would take longer. In the DevOps lexicon, technical debt boils down to the sub-optimal decisions that development teams have taken during the software development process and fail to come back to address them.
As scores of enterprises embark on their DevOps journey, an urgent need to improve the overall technical debt has emerged.
Some of the sources of technical debt are inadequate code, obsolete architecture, subpar infrastructure, and lax development processes. The undesired accumulation of cruft results in friction in the development process, making it challenging to update or add code until development progress stalls.
Like financial debt, technical debt is daunting and haunts an organization unless they’re cognizant of it and have a plan to ax it.
Also Read: DevOps Transformation: Approach, Best Practices and Business Benefits
How DevOps Teams Accumulate Technical Debt
A DevOps team incurs technical debt due to various factors. For instance, when developers prorogue software development activity so that they can accomplish other activities. Typically, the plan to complete the deferred activity never goes the intended way. The postponed activity might be as simple as optimizing a piece of code or updating design document. However, once deferred, the activity loses steam.
Like monetary debt, the technical debt incurs interest, which comes in the form of extra effort the DevOps team needs to invest in refactoring or re-implementing the code or activity. Over time, the debt dilates, and organizations eventually end up paying the debt in full and with compounded interest of sorts.
4 DevOps Practices to Reduce Technical Debt
Technical debt is not only about paying past debts, but also about averting present and future debts. Organizations ought to have control over their current technical debt and the cultural habits that contribute to it. They must inculcate the technical debt ‘awareness’ into their journey.
Let’s dive into some crucial DevOps practices that organizations must adopt to address the technical dept challenge:
1) Motivate DevOps Teams
One of the ideal solutions to solving technical debt is motivating DevOps teams that manage the entire lifecycle of software development from ‘development to deployment.’ As these teams face the challenge of technical debt every day, the management must actively promote and reward this team for rooting out technical debt.
Assessing the level of technical debt is the first and the foremost step the DevOps teams must take. Once the team determines the debt, the managers need to carve out sprints to rework the debt-induced cruft. It is wise to loop in an outside expert like Veritis to help you evaluate your projects and get an assessment of the entire technical debt.
Further, managers must motivate the team to avoid accumulating more debt in new product development. A team can avoid new debt by following a ‘pay as you go’ model and making sure that the project is completed in its true sense.
2) Leverage DevOps Automation
Automation is the heart and soul of any DevOps approach. Leverage DevOps automation to offset current technical debt while avoiding future debt. Automating routine, error-prone, time-intensive processes can enable your staff to focus their valuable time on relieving technical debt. As the debt is axed, you can realize the higher quality and more stable code or project.
3) Use Containers
The lightweight and portability features of containers not only simplify application development and deployment but also bring many business benefits. Orchestration tools, like Kubernetes, automate the container lifecycle in production. This aspect enables your teams to focus on higher-value tasks, like re-designing applications to reduce technical debt. Moreover, containers are enablers of and an excellent fit for microservices, which are small and independent. This makes it easy for DevOps teams to identify and trim technical debt.
4) Build API-Centric Models
Encourage your DevOps teams to develop and exploit APIs with well-defined, versioned interfaces, for it is the best way to avert technical debt. APIs establishes a loose coupling between applications, so DevOps teams can make changes quickly without impacting the existing structure. This makes it easier to dole out new products and features faster, with less risk and technical debt.
Also Read: DevOps Security: An Overview of Challenges and Best Practices
Organizations ought to address technical debt to have a successful journey. This requires management to make ‘reducing technical debt’ a priority. Appreciate the employees taking the initiative for the same. Running towards technical debt rather than away from it will set you up for the success of DevOps. Reach out to us to help you realize your business goals by reducing the technical debt that is bogging down your organization down.
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