Technical Debt Is Now Costing Us $3.61 Per Line Of Code

A series of blog posts by Jonathan Bloom from CAST software summarized the company’s report on technical debt. Among the key findings:

CAST now estimates technical debt to cost companies $3.61 per line of code.

35% of those items considered to be technical debt were severe enough to adversely affect support of the system studied, potentially resulting in security, performance or uptime issues.

Outsourced and in-house developed applications didn’t show any difference in structure quality. The same was true for onshore and offshore applications.

Java EE applications were the most prevalent among those studied and received significantly lower performance scores as well as carrying greater technical debt than other languages.

Established development methods such as agile and waterfall scored significantly better in structural quality than custom methods, while waterfall scored the highest in transferability and changeability.

COBOL applications scored the highest in security, while .NET applications received the lowest security scores.

Modularity of systems may contribute to lower quality and reduced performance.

Government systems tend to be the lowest in maintainability.

The more frequently the code is released the higher the technical debt.

This is the second year that CAST has produced the report. This year’s data was compiled from 160 different companies from a hodgepodge of industries. The total number of systems studied was 745, representing a combined 365 million lines of code.

Analysts at Gartner have also exposed and cited the growing problem of technical debt in organizations. David Norton wrote a blog post likening the problem to a time bomb that can be ignored for a period of time, but at some point it will cause serious harm to the affected organization.

CAST and other thought leaders on technical debt suggest that organizations should be accounting for technical debt as part of their capital budgets. Israel Gat’s approach for monetizing technical debt was covered by InfoQ in 2010.

full article on infoq

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