Growing Technical Wealth

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Is your codebase becoming a big ball of mud? Does overwhelming Technical Debt compromise your business objectives? These are symptoms that your product codebase might have outgrown your current Agile/Scrum software development approaches.

Codebase obsolescence is hardly rare. Any company you can think of has probably scrapped and completely rewritten at least one of their product codebases, sometimes even more than once. Sadly, rewritten codebases typically possess as much technical debt as the ones that were thrown away. Such “non-durable code” negates the enormous investments made in software development and testing salaries.

In just a few years, it’s likely that most of the source code currently being developed in your company will be labeled as Technical Debt and discarded by your own software developers. Through my interactions with hundreds of senior software leaders, I’ve noticed a pattern: After 3+ years of Agile/Scrum sprints, companies almost invariably face a steep decline in agility. While Agile and Scrum offered substantial improvements over legacy Waterfall methods in the early 2000s, it seems most Agile/Scrum teams lose the benefits of agility within just 2-3 years of product development. Even with multiple sprints to tame it, unresolved Technical Debt persists as an unstoppable headwind against sustained agility.

Let me assure you this doesn’t have to be a losing battle. The significant investments you’ve made in your codebase don’t have to lead you toward technical bankruptcy. This book introduces what I’ve coined the “Technical Wealth methodology”—a fundamentally different approach to software development that I’ve practiced with my teams since I became an Engineering VP in 2006. The Technical Wealth methodology has empowered my software engineering teams to achieve the holy grail of software engineering: Code Reuse in the Large. We leverage millions of lines of well-crafted, pre-existing code in each new development project. The result? A productivity boost of 2x to 20x and very little time spent fixing defects.

The Technical Wealth approach has also proven to extend the career longevity of our software engineers. As shown year after year in the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, most software careers fade into oblivion once developers hit their mid-30s. I will show you how the Technical Wealth methodology can help your software developers improve with age, much like fine French wines.

The Technical Wealth methodology is not a one-size-fits-all solution. But for teams seeking long-term agility and a solid, reusable codebase, it’s an option worth evaluating. By incorporating the principles and techniques I’ve described, you could catalyze a transformative shift in your development workflows and positively impact the careers of your engineering team.