Hit That Technical Debt, Now
It probably comes as no surprise many are facing furloughs and lay-offs. If you are in an affected industry, but work in their IT departments or otherwise support tech for some entity, you may have dodged the first wave. The remote work exodus generated a Iot of work.
This work is likely slowing down,so Now what? Will the IT department be the next place to make cuts? Salaries are large, so cuts are tempting. Tech leadership needs to get organized to ward off these cuts. Spend a bit of time thinking about the business’ technical debt to ward these off.
Tech does not need to MAKE WORK for itself. It is always there. It is the 21st century. There is so much technical debt in every organization with any history or size, the work is just waiting to be done. The pandemic and the related slowdown now brings opportunity. Tech brings value when properly applied.
For example, there may be a big software update you have been putting off. Now is the time to put that project together. Have it all organized and ready to go. If it is a core software package to your business model it is an ideal bit of technical debt to address.
The update will be big. It will touch a lot of basic business functions. Heavy testing in the your development environment would make a lot of sense...if you have such a thing. If not you still will engage the business. It will spin up QA work and testing for line workers. This will surface IT efforts to the business as well.
Here are some other ideas...
1. A specific project for database patches perhaps? - SQL Server patches, MongoDB update?
2. A specific project for system/security patches - Big patches to web servers or other equipment which may need to be down for awhile.
3. A specific project for the application/security patches - Mostly these would be specific to the business model and software packages being used, but I feel confident there are patches there.
4. Maybe “security” patches we pull out of there too - Maybe it turns out a lot of the work patching and upgrading relates to security so specific project for that too.
I would throw them on the table as possible entries to your IT Technical Debt list. Flesh them out, prioritize and put milestone dates on the path forward. Make sure these are projects are "shovel-ready" if not actually in progress. Tech can really deliver visible value here during a little bit of a slowdown. It is more visible if we surface the work we do in digestible chunks the “business” can understand.
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