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Manage Your Technical Debt

Make the case to manage technical debt in terms of business impact.

  • All organizations, of all sizes, have some amount of technical debt, but very few systematically track, manage, and communicate it.
  • Deferred project work is pushed over to operations, sometimes with little visibility or hand-off, where it gets deprioritized and lost.
  • IT doesn’t have the resources or authority to make needed changes to address the impact of tech debt and can’t make the case for improvement without good data on the problem.
  • Efforts to track technical debt get stuck in the weeds, don’t connect technical issues to business impact, and run out of steam.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Technical debt is a type of technical risk, which in turn is business risk. The business, not IT, must make the decision to accept or mitigate risk – but IT must help the business make an informed decision.
  • There are two ways to keep your technical debt at a manageable level – effectively, to mitigate risk: either stop introducing new debt or start paying back what you already have.

Impact and Result

  • Define and identify your technical debt. Focus on tech debt you think you can actually fix.
  • Conduct a streamlined and targeted business impact analysis to prioritize tech debt based on its ongoing business impact.
  • Identify options to better manage technical debt and present your findings to business decision makers.

Manage Your Technical Debt

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to understand the business case to manage technical debt, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Identify your technical debt

Define, identify, and organize your technical debt in preparation for the technical debt impact analysis.

2. Measure your technical debt

Conduct a technical debt business impact analysis.

3. Manage your technical debt

Identify options to resolve technical debt and summarize the challenge and potential solutions for business decision makers.


Onsite Workshop: Manage Your Technical Debt

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define and Identify Technical Debt

The Purpose

Create a working definition of technical debt and identify the technical debt in your environment.

Key Benefits Achieved

List your technical debt.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Develop a working definition for technical debt.

1.2

Discuss your organization’s technical debt risk.

  • Goals, opportunities, and constraints related to tech debt management
1.3

Identify 5-10 high-impact technical debts to structure the impact analysis.

  • A list of technical debt

Module 2: Measure Technical Debt

The Purpose

Conduct a more-objective assessment of the business impact of technical debt.

Key Benefits Achieved

Identify the most-critical technical debt in your environment, in terms of business risk.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Review and modify business impact scoring scales.

  • Business impact scoring scales
2.2

Identify reasonable scenarios to structure the impact analysis.

  • Scenarios to support the impact analysis
2.3

Apply the scoring scale to identify the business impact of each technical debt.

  • Technical debt impact analysis

Module 3: Build a Roadmap to Manage Technical Debt

The Purpose

Leverage the technical debt impact analysis to identify, compare, and quantify projects that fix technical debt and projects that prevent it.

Key Benefits Achieved

Create your plan to manage technical debt.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Brainstorm projects and action items to manage and pay back critical technical debt. Prioritize projects and action items to build a roadmap.

  • Technical debt management roadmap
3.2

Identify three possible courses of action to pay back each critical technical debt.

  • Technical debt executive summary
3.3

Identify immediate next steps to manage remaining tech debt and limit the introduction of new tech debt.

  • Immediate next steps to manage technical debt

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Make the case to manage technical debt in terms of business impact.

Talk to an Analyst

Our analyst calls are focused on helping our members use the research we produce, and our experts will guide you to successful project completion.

Book an Analyst Call on This Topic

You can start as early as tomorrow morning. Our analysts will explain the process during your first call.

Get Advice From a Subject Matter Expert

Each call will focus on explaining the material and helping you to plan your project, interpret and analyze the results of each project step, and set the direction for your next project step.

Author(s)

Andrew Sharp

Contributors

  • Craig Mueller, Global Director, IT Infrastructure & Operations, HUSCO International
  • Four anonymous contributors
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