WSJ – How to calculate technical debt

To inform non-IT executives of the specific costs and risks posed by aging infrastructure and applications, CIOs are beginning to quantify their IT organizations’ technical debt.

As business leaders have grown more involved in IT investment decisions, many CIOs have found it increasingly difficult to obtain funding for infrastructure and application maintenance. Consequently, some CIOs are turning to the concept of technical debt to bolster their business cases for IT maintenance investments.

Technical debt refers to the accumulated costs and long-term consequences of using poor coding techniques, making quality/time trade-offs, delaying routine maintenance, and employing other suboptimal IT practices in the enterprise. Those kinds of quick fixes may lower costs in the short term or keep software development and implementation projects on schedule, but they can also cause serious problems down the road if left unaddressed. Specifically, they may lead to application outages, security vulnerabilities, and increased maintenance costs.

While the concept of technical debt was originally coined to address quick and dirty coding practices, it is now being applied to other IT disciplines including infrastructure, architecture, integration, and processes, according to Mike Habeck, a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Technology Strategy & Architecture practice.

More of the Wall Street Journal article from Deloitte

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