Beyond the wall of issues – Focus to drive velocity

As we iterate faster in Agile cycles, we tend to choose locally optimal solutions. E.g:- We use an algorithm which has poor performance so that we can deliver the feature to customer early.  These choices lead to a build-up of technical debt in software; reduces our velocity in future iterations and we deliver less business value to customers. Counter-intuitively, we become less agile.  So how can we prevent technical debt from growing? First you stop it getting worse – stop the leak, and then manage it down – clear up the flood. Making this concrete, debt gets manifested as code analysis issues, missing tests, flaky and overlapping tests, tangled dependencies and so on. The problem is that as tools get switched on to manifest that debt, the developer is faced with a wall of issues – the flood, that is just too overwhelming to deal with. So to take control of the debt, those existing issues need to be hidden so developers get visibility into the new ones that they introduce, and fix them. Then they can stop the leak. To clear up the flood, there are a number of strategies that can be employed, from clearing up as you go, e.g. when you change a method or file clear the debt out of that, to a more planful approach choosing to clean up specific components or particular kinds of debt, using e.g. the SQALE pyramid as a guide.
In this talk, I will walk you through best practices in setting up a system to measure and understand your technical debt.  After that, I will show you a real-life example of the “Wall of Issues” and show how to focus and manage it down.

Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Introduction to Technical Debt
  • Water Leak Metaphor
  • Strategies for managing Technical Debt
  • Case Study: Dealing with the Wall of Issues

Learning Outcome

  • Understand Technical Debt
  • Learn tools to manage Technical Debt
  • Build a more effective & agile team

Target Audience

Developers, Leads, Managers

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Srinath Chandrasekharan
    By Srinath Chandrasekharan  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply


    Please add slides and video's of your earlier presentations to help us evaulate you.

    Also the audience would have an idea of technical debt ingenral. Would you be giving something additional. If yes, can you please update your proposal with the specifics.




  • Ravi Kumar
    By Ravi Kumar  ~  4 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Mathew,

    The topics is more appropriate for "Agile in the trenches" track. Can you please move it out there?






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    Mathew Aniyan - Data @ the core of Enterprise Agile

    Mathew Aniyan
    Mathew Aniyan
    Sr. Program Manager
    schedule 4 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins

    Agile adopts an empirical approach to software development. One of the key aspects of a successful Agile Implementation is how quickly we can react to change. For this, we need to ensure that data flows seamlessly from customer to the Agile team. This data should form a critical part of our decision making.

    • Is the customer successful in using our product or service?
    • Which features are customer most interested in?
    • Where are the friction points in usage?
    • Where are the failures happening in our product?
    • How is the customer engaging with our product over time?

    and many more similar questions.

    In this talk, I discuss best practices in data collection, analysis and visualization and how data can make your Agile process and thereby your business more effective.