Some examples might help to clarify the differences between the principal of financial debts and the MPrin of a technical debt. The examples to come in the next four posts are designed to illustrate the unique properties of MPrins of technical debts.
- Changes internally within the enterprise
- External environmental changes that directly affect existing assets
- Changes in the competitive environment
- Insights and changes in perception that lead to changes in objectives
- Existing technical debt
- Deferring decisions about almost anything
By contrast, we incur financial debt only as a result of decisions to incur financial debt.
The examples sketched below illustrate some of these phenomena. They’re described more completely described posts indicated.
This example illustrates how technical debt can develop as a result of unanticipated insight regarding a marketing opportunity for a new product line. It shows how technical debt can arise independent of any decision made within the enterprise, and without any changes to assets of any kind. More: “MPrin in a development project”
Platform component upgrades
We’ve already provided an example of technical debt arising from a platform upgrade. In this example, we show how deferring a platform upgrade creates new complications not present in the previous example, by illustrating how total MPrin can increase after the debt is incurred. More: “MPrin in platform component upgrades”
Standards or regulatory changes
Changes in standards or regulations, whether internal, industry-wide, or governmental, can create technical debt. In some cases, the enterprise might not even be aware of the new debt. More: “MPrin when standards or regulations change”
Missing or incompletely implemented capability
When a capability is incompletely implemented, it’s clear that the part left undone constitutes technical debt. What is less clear is what happens when the capability implementation is halted or rescinded. Trying to avoid new technical debt can actually be the cause of new technical debt, albeit of a different kind. More: “MPrin for missing or incompletely implemented capability”
Whether or not any similar scenarios have happened in your organization, these discussions are helpful for gaining insight into what kinds of technical debt policies can assist your organization in managing its technical debt. Let me know if you have experience with situations in which problems can be traced, even if only in part, to treating technical debt as if it were financial debt.