Tuesday, September 03, 2013

2013-09-03 Tuesday - Technical Debt Conjecture

Recent observations and reflections prompted me to ponder this thought:
A Technical Debt Conjecture
For a given non-trivial project,
Given [z] budgeted sprints,
for [m] developers,
Where for sufficiently large [m],
[n] items of technical debt (or defects) are introduced - as the total for all [commits | builds],
which will subsequently require [x] additional sprints to fix.

One wonders if there are lower limits for [z], [m], [n] that would allow for approximations of [x]?

One wonders what recurring ratios of m:n might occur with some predictable frequency across different organizations, and if those ratios might vary to a greater (or lesser) degree if further considered within the specific vertical context of a given industry?

One wonders if these values are the same for on-shore vs. off-shore vs. hybrid project teams?

One wonders if there is a predictable relationship between m:n and x?

One wonders how the duration [t] of a given project might affect the trend line and predictability of these factors - and if there might be clustering of values around certain frequencies of [t]?

One wonders, given the planned / budgeted value for [z] - at one sufficiently large size of [x] do most organizations kill a project?

One wonders, what ratio of z:x does a project qualify for the 'death march' designation?

One wonders what minimum ratio of m:n should be sufficient, as a monitored metric, to serve as an indicator to management that one or more of the following might apply?

  • Requirements may not be [sufficiently | clearly] defined or finalized
  • One or more developers may need to be removed from a project team

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