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Tackling Technical Debt Series Part 4: Reducing Technical Debt with Automation

Over the past three blog posts, we’ve explored the different kinds of technical debt, how to use technical debt strategically to meet business goals, and how to prioritize technical debt for resolution. Let’s now look at how one of DevOps’ fundamental principles, automation, can help your team pay back technical debt faster while avoiding new debt.

Preventing Technical Debt

Software teams incur technical debt at multiple points along the software development process.

If it’s a business decision to implement a “shortcut,” then it should be tracked in the feature backlog. Automation tools can help you estimate the effort to fix backlog tasks.

During development, bugs in the code can appear as your team implements new features or fixes old bugs. Automated code analysis and automated testing will identify the bugs earlier in the process to avoid incurring technical debt in a shipped product.

Automated builds, continuous integration and continuous deployment will identify conflicts between new code and the production branch. These automated checkpoints help development and test teams avoid pushing bad code that will add to the technical debt backlog.

Improved Productivity Cycles

Your development team may have inherited technical debt with an existing project. Automated provisioning, testing, integration, and builds will help identify critical technical debt, but how does automation help pay back debt more quickly?

In DevOps, automation helps development teams create more stable environments and reduce development cycles by reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks. DevOps teams can repurpose some of those productivity gains to address the backlog and reduce technical debt.

Tools

ReleaseTEAM can help your organization implement the right DevOps automation tools for every step of the software development lifecycle. More importantly, ReleaseTEAM can help your teams adopt the DevOps processes and culture that are required for success.

This is Part 4 in a 4-part series on Managing Technical Debt.

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