Information Technology

Gartner Glossary

Technical Debt

Technical debt is accrued work that is “owed” to an IT system, and it is a normal and unavoidable side effect of software engineering. Teams “borrow” against quality by making sacrifices, taking short cuts, or using workarounds to meet delivery deadlines. These sacrifices eventually cause the software to deviate from its prescribed nonfunctional requirements, and in the long-term, they can impact performance, scalability, resilience or similar characteristics of the system. Technical debt can also accrue when teams delay performing regular maintenance on the system. Eventually, technical debt can accrue into a critical mass where the software becomes unstable, and customers become dissatisfied. Delayed maintenance can also result in significantly higher support costs when the software or its infrastructure reaches “end-of-life.

Master your role, transform your business and tap into an unsurpassed peer network through our world-leading virtual and in-person conferences.

Gartner Webinars

Expert insights and strategies to address your priorities and solve your most pressing challenges.