Technical Debt First Steps
Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Identifying problems and gaining control of your maintenance load
Aug. 31, 2021
4 - 7 p.m. Coordinated Universal Time
This event has ended.
Getting out of tech debt can feel like a Sisyphean task. After weeks of work, the success case is to have the app working the way it used to. It’s not uncommon for organizations to declare code bankruptcy and rewrite working systems from the ground up. How do we end up in this situation? How do we measure it? And how do we alleviate, or even better, prevent such a situation?
Join expert Chelsea Troy to explore tech debt and its impact on an organization. You’ll learn how this debt builds up, how to measure it, and how to zero in on areas of greatest need—identifying high-leverage code changes and prioritizing them over renovations. You’ll also explore the skills that tech teams use to prevent and reduce tech debt so you can apply them in your own organization.
What you’ll learn and how you can apply it
By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:
- How tech debt impacts a team
- Why code bases accumulate tech debt over time
- What can be done to prevent tech debt
And you’ll be able to:
- Quantify tech debt and predict how fast it will accumulate in a code base
- Prioritize high-leverage code changes over renovations
- Coach and incentivize skills that reduce tech debt accumulation
- Make a case for taking the time to reduce tech debt
This live event is for you because…
- You’re an engineer, engineering manager, or director who wants to understand and reduce tech debt.
- You work with engineers or manage large projects and want the code to work, and keep working, without burning out the team.
- Experience leading technical teams or working with a code base that’s becoming hard to maintain (useful but not required)
- Read Managing Technical Debt: Reducing Friction in Software Development (book)
- Explore Technical Debt: A Master Class (video course)
The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing.
What is tech debt? (10 minutes)
- Presentation: Misconceptions about tech debt
How much tech debt are we in? (60 minutes)
- Presentation: What’s maintenance load?
- Group discussion: What’s the highest and lowest maintenance load accumulation rate you’ve seen?
- Hands-on exercise: Determine the practices that distinguish one team from another
Controlling maintenance load (45 minutes)
- Presentation: Software stewardship skills
- Hands-on exercises: Determine what good software stewardship looks like; measure the need for good stewardship
Prioritizing high-leverage code changes (40 minutes)
- Presentation: Data—what’s taking a long time or causing frustration?; how to spot proposed renovations
- Hands-on exercise: Prioritize proposed changes
Reducing maintenance load (15 minutes)
- Presentation: Make features earn their keep and equip engineers to suggest streamlining options
Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)
Chelsea Troy teaches Python programming and mobile software development in the computer science master’s program at the University of Chicago and writes code on projects like the Zooniverse citizen science mobile app and the NASA Landsat Image Processing Pipeline. She looks for clients who are saving the planet, advancing basic scientific research, or providing resources to underserved communities. She’s also been known to take projects in mobile development, web development, and machine learning. Chelsea streams some programming sessions to her YouTube channel, where you can watch her code and narrate in real time—and then she turns these recordings into educational materials. She’s also a wide-ranging blogger at Chelseatroy.com.