How can we register the technical debt in Scrum?

2018-07-16 16:09:20

Scrum enphasis that all the team must know the technical debt of the product. But actually sometimes this debt is not tangible as a simple to do list. Should we register it as another task in the product backlog to review in another sprint, or put it in some document related to this product, so the team can actually know what tasks should be treated later in the development.

I'm not seeing a good way to keep this debt in developer team minds, that can be forgettable later.

The standard Scrum answer would be to ask the team what they think. Scrum Teams are supposed to be self-organizing, which means that they can choose how to best complete their work. The team should be able to identify the management of technical debt as a problem and then come up with ideas.

However, in the real world, sometimes, the team may not be experienced or savvy enough to see these problems before they are too late. Good coaching from someone who has experienced these problems before can

  • The standard Scrum answer would be to ask the team what they think. Scrum Teams are supposed to be self-organizing, which means that they can choose how to best complete their work. The team should be able to identify the management of technical debt as a problem and then come up with ideas.

    However, in the real world, sometimes, the team may not be experienced or savvy enough to see these problems before they are too late. Good coaching from someone who has experienced these problems before can help with guiding the team to ask the right questions and think about certain problems before they become problems.

    I would have no objections if the team would want to keep technical debt work tracked in the Product Backlog. I think that this is probably the right thing to do - it can be reviewed with the rest of the Product Backlog. If there are dependencies between technical debt and features (such as resolving the technical debt would lead to a higher quality feature being delivered in

    2018-07-16 16:54:21
  • Scrum Exposes Technical Debt Through Velocity

    As a general rule, technical debt increases the cost of future work on the product. So, even if you don't explicitly keep track of the debt, it will typically show as a drag on your velocity over time.

    Technical debt will probably also impact your team's estimates of Product Backlog Items (PBIs) during Sprint Planning, as crufty code (and debt-ridden products in general) are intuitively higher-effort.

    Making Technical Debt Explicit

    Even though Scrum implicitly exposes technical debt through velocity, and also reflects it within PBI estimations, it's often better to track the debt explicitly on the Product Backlog. Some reasons to do this include:

    Clarifying what work needs to be done within the project to pay down the debt.

    Enabling the Product Owner to make trade-offs in prioritization between technical debt and new features.

    Providing stakeholders transparency into the hidden costs of the product's development.

    Keeping the project

    2018-07-16 17:46:10
  • Yes, technical debt will, at the end of the day, end up in your task tracking system in one way or another.

    An obvious way:

    Joe implements feature X, and notices that there is problem Y in component Z.

    Joe proceeds, as planned in the sprint planning, to do what he must do, but immediately registers a new task "fix Y in Z" in the backlog. Maybe he marks it with a tag "technical debt" if you have such a mechanism in your system.

    During the next sprint planning, Joe either recalls that issue and asks the Product Owner to include it into the comming sprint; arguing why it is good etc.

    Alternatively/additionally, the team + Product Owner could come to the conclusion that each sprint will invest some amount of time into fixing such "debt" issues, so Joe does not need to argue as much.

    Also, over time, it usually becomes pretty obvious to team members, even in the planning phase, where the actual debt is. Sure, there some insidious debt which increases very slowly, but some things are

    2018-07-16 17:47:38