Organizations are always looking for ways to be more productive. Yet one of the biggest obstacles to productivity — technical debt — is also one of the hardest to see coming. To avoid technical debt, companies need to understand its causes and develop a plan to manage it in the future.

If your software or applications no longer work the way users expect, old code stops you from implementing new solutions, or it’s difficult to implement new features or move to new versions, you probably have technical debt. Essentially, it’s technical debt that prevents organizations from taking advantage of improved technology and adapting quickly to business changes.

Technical debt happens when organizations use data-heavy solutions that are fast to deploy but, like financial debt, lead to more costs in the future. People typically don’t think about technical debt while it’s accumulating. It’s not until it shows up in the form of extra work that they realize they have a problem. At that point, the application’s technical load has become unmanageable and the platform has stopped working at peak performance.

Even when people do think about technical debt, what they know is just the tip of the iceberg – they don’t see the full scope of the problem until they run right into it. One way to prevent this system breakdown is to proactively manage technical debt.


Contain technical debt with these strategies:


  1. Clearly segregate tasks between IT and business leaders. We recommend establishing and enforcing a strong governance model between your IT and business teams. You should also perform periodic reviews so you can clean up things like reports, dashboards, public folders, and profiles to avoid debt buildup.
  1. Avoid code-based customizations. Buying instead of building is less expensive and easier to maintain in the long run. You can find more than 6,000 already-built applications on AppExchange. If you still need to build your own application, be sure to have a plan for retiring it. Make it modular and put notes in the code so your engineers can retire the application when the time comes.
  1. Consistently share new knowledge and best practices with your teams. One way to do this is to establish a center of excellence (COE) for development. Your COE can promote the use of agile methodologies, help developers avoid design antipatterns, and ensure good development and testing standards.
  1. Work with Salesforce Architects to break through internal barriers.Salesforce Architects understand how to navigate the complexity of modern businesses and the Salesforce Platform. They can help you build consensus and create a game plan that improves productivity at the platform level.


Manage technical debt to get the most out of Salesforce


Technical debt is a reality for all software teams. The key is to keep it from spiraling out of control — and that takes planning. Cloud Services helps customers get the most out of Salesforce, and our Architects who can help you keep your technical debt under control. We’ve helped some top enterprises eliminate as many 14 Salesforce orgs, reduce legacy code debt by 60%, deploy Salesforce projects faster, and save as much as $800,000 annually in maintenance costs.

Check out our on-demand webinar to see how Salesforce Architects transformed the way Riverbed Technology handles technical debt.

If you’re ready to connect with a Salesforce Architect who can help your organization overcome the burden of technical debt, contact your account executive. For more information about Salesforce Architects, visit our website.

About the Author

Srin Tangirala is the Vice President of Salesforce’s Innovation and Transformation Services. He has been helping customers achieve business value for over 20 years. At Salesforce, he’s also responsible for a community of 500 Architects serving our customers worldwide.