IT Best Practices

Eliminate Technical Debt to Enable a Nimble IT Organization

Technical debt is a bit like hoarding. If you fill code or a house with too much junk that nobody actually needs, eventually somebody is going to complain that the program is not working right or that your house has become a raccoon sanctuary. Accenture Strategy’s Mazen Baroudi shares information in a slideshow for IT Business Edge about how to ditch the debt.

Garbage Day

Application sprawl is never something to celebrate. What you need to strive for is enterprise architecture governance. Otherwise, when you combine maintenance, development, and licensing and multiply that by integration costs, it is like slamming together pieces of Play-Doh and calling the hideous multi-colored block on your desk a finished work of art. Such unnecessary complexity also increases basic overhead costs, like electricity. And of course, one more source of technical debt is the fact that some people are trying to apply outdated skills and legacy operating models to modern problems.

How do we change course away from such problems? Begin by defining metrics, setting a baseline, and tracking the metrics regularly:

Be sure to include metrics that have business context as the selected metrics will influence the ongoing efforts. For instance, track the number of days it takes to fix code or measure the percentage of code that meets the organization’s compliance standards. Tools exist to help manage code coverage, quality and complexity. Processes, such as application portfolio management, can also be redesigned to facilitate application debt reduction.

CIOs should empower the IT management team to oversee IT architectural planning in order to promote agile decision-making. Along the way, you just have to remember to “reshape, retool, re-task, and retrain” as necessary, so that nothing is ever left in a state of “good enough for now.”

You can view the original slideshow here:

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