Is technical debt ALWAYS bad?

It’s a question we’ve touched on a lot in earlier blog posts. Whether you’re a scale-up CTO or tackling legacy issues at an enterprise insurance organisation, managing technical debt is a challenge.   

One model we often refer to is Martin Fowler’s technical debt quadrant.

It takes a simple approach to interrogate the complex matter of technical debt:

  1. “Did we incur this technical debt deliberately or inadvertently?”
  2. “Was that decision prudent or reckless?”

These two questions give you the four quadrants of technical debt:

A quadrant graph showing the alignment between deliberate, inadvertent, reckless, and prudent technical debt.

Let’s take each quadrant in turn and consider the role of DevOps in managing the inherent risk.

Deliberate & Reckless

In this quadrant, you know you are making a design choice that will inevitably create technical debt.

Have you considered the long term impact of this decision? Are you tracking the technical debt level as it’s incurred? Do you have a plan (and future budget) for…


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