Tech Debt Burndown

“Stop calling it technical debt” – Andy Ellis
With intros over, Nick asks Andy about metrics, and Andy immediately responds by saying “stop calling it technical debt”. Executives have an understanding of ‘debt’, and it’s not a bad word for them, it’s what fuels everything around them. This leads into discussion of when’s the right time to ship software. Something unfinished might feel too early, but how else do you get feedback from users?
“Risk is the net present value of bad things happening in the future”
We then get into Andy’s model of deferred risk, and how that can drive a conversation about what to do now, and what to put off until later. This eventually takes us to talking about Dungeons and Dragons alignment charts, and how it’s good to have a diverse team who bring a variety of viewpoints.
Andy then gets into how people want to quantify risk, but often that’s impossible. But there are ways to position risks in a visualisation, which can help people reason about the range of risks they’re dealing with. When it comes to assigning resources to the work on risk mitigation Andy runs through some approaches that have worked for him, which include ‘borrowing’ people to get things started then ‘giving them back’ to ensure that the effort is sustained. That brings us to our close, with Nick complaining about the knives in his house being dull, even though his son makes and sharpens knives…