Steve Freeman, author of ‘Growing Object Oriented Software, Guided by Tests’ (Addison-Wesley), was a pioneer of agile software development in the UK. He is currently is a distinguished consultant with Zuhlke Engineering Limited.
A Bluffer’s Guide to Technical Debt for other people
We need to explain Technical Debt to people who are not technical, partly so that they can make better choices because they understand the real trade-offs, and partly to so that we understand it better too. Some of the tension between trying to get product out and developing something you can live with is an essential feature of trying to do anything new, but some is the result of a mismatch of understanding between Product and Development. The metaphor of debt does not really convey the risks that arise from poor technical quality. Instead, I will introduce some other metaphors for looking at technical risk that we think match the problem more effectively, and propose some strategies to help product and development teams approach a solution.