Chandler Moisen

Call it 'Product Debt'

May 06, 2020

Today I learned that we should call “technical debt” by another name: “product debt”.

While reading about shifting the framing of success as a developer I came across this provoking thought:

I always wondered why it isn’t called “product debt” because product took the credit to get a feature faster and must pay back by investing the time to clean up. Technology is the bank that gave credit.

The author of the article is arguing that as the modern development teams are driven by their backlogs and that success is defined as clearing the log. As such, developers who are under pressure to ship end up creating technical debt - a term the author states developers made up “because it sounds better than cutting corners and with the hope it is repaid.”

What I like about this change in name is that it places the onus of responsibility on product to find the time in the backlog to repay the debt.

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