As a company that regularly designs and develops MVPs of various kinds, we have already shared some perspectives on this promising approach to product development processes. However, everything has its flaws. MVP is no exception. That is why we have decided to dedicate a couple of posts to the obvious shortcomings of the MVP-based approach. We would also like to tell how they should be dealt with. The first one is all about technical debt.
What is Tech Debt?
The Evercode Lab is an experienced team. Correspondingly, we normally strive to keep technical debt under control as an inevitable part of MVP development. After all, a minimum viable product, a priori, means a ‘version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort’.
As such, it supposes limited functionalities based on a minimum required architecture. MVPs just cannot exist otherwise. They need to be developed and deployed ASAP. And that’s the crux. At this stage, incurring some technical debt is a necessary evil.
Basically, as academics may define it, technical debt is a range of unavailable tech “compromises that can yield short-term benefit but may hurt the long-term health” of your software solution. Or as Techopedia puts it, it is the “extra development work” required “when code that is easy to implement in the short run is used instead of applying the best overall solution.”
As you can see, MVP almost automatically means a certain amount of debt: this entire approach is all about compromising things with short-term goals prioritized.
How to Deal with Technical Debt?
We would like to reiterate that technical debt is a constant factor of everyday life for your startup or SMEs. It cannot be eliminated and must be tolerated to some extent. At the same time, it does not mean it can be ignored. Quite the contrary, you need to control and manage it. How can it be possible?
Well, there are some helpful hints here.
Calculate Technical Debt via TDR
TDR stands for Technical Debt Ratio. There is no shortage of tools to measure the overall quality of your code. On top of that, some of them can help you with other important estimates. Among other things, they can provide you with relevant TDR figures. The latter is the ratio of the expenses needed to improve and refine your code in the future to the cost of writing high-quality code right now.
Monitor all the changes added by your developers and prioritize code reviews
This point is a logical continuation of the previous recommendation. Somehow you should track every new step your team members take. We do not mean you should keep such records manually: there are many tools that can monitor the process automatically. Duecode is a good option in this respect as well.
No matter what your current workload is, run regular code checks after every (important) iteration. Your approach to code reviews might differ depending on your methodology. However, the following best practices are normally recommended.
– Apply checklists
– Limit the number of lines of codes you review. Academics do not recommend ‘scanning’ more than 400 lines
– As for the time required to perform a decent review, the best space of time to spend on it is around one hour
What should you search for? To name a few problems, they may include bugs, security gaps, the workability of your functionalities, your compliance with the applicable standards, and the readability of your code.
Plan your sprints accordingly
Quite often, building an MVP resembles a race against time. As an outcome, many teams end up beyond reasonable limits, overwork themselves, set unfeasible tasks, overwork themselves, and make blunders. At the same time, the best way to correct a mistake is to avoid making it. Do not try to fulfill monumental tasks.
These simple measures can help you reduce your technical debt and keep it under control. They are not as painstaking and time-consuming as thorough code refactoring and testing which would make it possible for your MVP to keep the pace. Simultaneously, they are sufficient not to allow your technical debt to accrue seriously.
Finally, we recommend you contact a reliable software outsourcing company with many MVPs developed and delivered, such as Evercode Lab. We know how to handle such issues and help you. Our mission is to write high-quality code for the MVPs we work on, so we apply the latest and most efficient techniques to prevent problems before they arrive. Including technical debt.
That is why our main recommendation is to contact us and entrust your MVP project to us.