The Cost of Technical Debt in Software Development

Cutting Development Costs?

Have you been in one of those meetings and seen teams who:

Cut corners to meet deadlines?

Find solutions to save costs without looking at the long-term impact.

It can all lead to debt.  Financial and technical.

While it might seem like a quick fix, the long-term impact of technical debt can be costly and detrimental to your projects, your business and even worse, your customers.

What exactly is Technical Debt & What are the Costs?

Technical debt refers to the long-term costs and potential risks associated with taking shortcuts or using inferior solutions in software development to achieve short-term goals. It can result in increased maintenance effort, reduced code quality, and challenges in scaling or enhancing the system in the future.

Increased Maintenance Costs

Over time, quick fixes and poorly written code accumulate, making the codebase harder to manage.

Developers spend more time understanding and fixing issues, leading to higher maintenance costs.

Reduced Productivity

As technical debt grows, developers spend more time dealing with legacy issues rather than building new features.

This slows down the development process and hampers innovation.

Lower Quality and Performance

Accumulated debt can lead to bugs, performance issues, and system failures.

Ensuring high quality becomes increasingly challenging as the codebase deteriorates.

Decreased Agility

High technical debt limits your ability to respond quickly to market changes or new opportunities.

Implementing changes becomes more complex and time-consuming, reducing your competitive edge.

Frustrated Developers

Working with a tangled and messy codebase can lead to developer frustration and burnout.

High technical debt environments can lead to higher turnover rates, affecting team morale and continuity.

Hidden Costs

Technical debt isn’t always visible until it manifests as a significant problem.

These hidden costs can disrupt project timelines and budgets unexpectedly.

At Purple Crane, we ensure that Technical Debt doesn’t ever become an issue for business owners.


How can you prevent Technical Debt? 

Regular Refactoring

Periodically review and clean up your codebase.

Refactor code to improve readability, maintainability, and performance.

Implementing Best Practices

Follow coding standards and best practices consistently.

Invest in automated testing and continuous integration to catch issues early.

Prioritising Debt Repayment

Treat technical debt like financial debt; prioritise repayment in your development roadmap.

Allocate time and resources to address technical debt in each sprint or release cycle.

Collaboration and Communication

Foster a culture of transparency and collaboration teamed with healthy peer reviews.

Ensure all stakeholders understand the implications of technical debt and the importance of addressing it.

Investing in Training

Equip development team with the skills and knowledge to write clean, maintainable code.

Encourage knowledge sharing and ensure a continuous cycle of training and development takes place.


A well maintained, healthy codebase that improves productivity and delivers a high-quality is the mark of solid sustainable software.

When you commission your next software project, use this list as a prompt!

To probe and to ask questions.  The last thing you need is to be saddled with technical debt.  Or just speak to us.

We don’t skirt around difficult questions.

A long-term, sustainable solution is what we always strive for.

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