What is technical debt?

Ever heard a term technical debt? If not, here what wikipedia article says about it:

In software development, technical debt is the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy (limited) solution now instead of using a better approach that would take longer.

Guess what! This applies to practically everything you do. Said for humans: if you consciously decide to do shit work because you are too lazy, or whatever the reason, it is gonna find you and backfires to you (or somebody else).

The (curse of) house ownership

Every house owner know this - if you neglect your house’s maintenance, or you do not do it in time, it is going to hunt you down - the house will fall apart, the water is going to flow through your roof and the costs of fixing it in later stage will be much higher than if you fixed it correctly right away.

I have recently jumped into this train and became a house owner too. Is house ownership a curse? It depends on the type of the person you are. If you are DIY guy, you usually love your house and give it proper care and maintenance. But if you are the type of guy who does not enjoy the house maintenance, you (in my opinion) probably should not own it - you will be frustrated that the house is constantly breaking and need care (this includes lawn-mowing too) and the house will fall apart over time (especially older houses).

The complete equivalent exists in the software engineering field. If you write shitty and hacky code just for the sake of having it quick, you create technical debt of the application that will get you in the future. And if you neglect code maintenance or refactoring when the requirements for the existing code changes, the same thing happens over time - your software will collapse and the cost of fixing it will be much higher, if you addressed the problems in the code earlier.

Example technical debt

We planned just to do some minor improvements in the house before moving in, but we quickly found that this won’t be the case. What follows are some examples of the technical debt in the house we found after we got rid of bells and whistles.

Wooden roof construction beams and joists damaged by the wood-destroying insects. Instead of someone fixing it until it was damaged this much, they decided to hide it by thin layer of wood. After this layer was removed, this is what happened to the roof's beams over time.
Wooden floor beam damaged in the worst place, as it can collapse at any time. This was found after the old (also damaged) wooden floor was removed.
Structural cracks in the wall of the first floor after removing the old plaster, that was also damaged by humidity.
Big problem in the whole house is humidity in the walls. It has a big impact on the foundations of the building itself and also, it is a root cause of molds in the house which is not good for your health.

All the above examples will need to get fixed. I will try to document it and bring it here in future posts.


Please, love your real estate and give it the care it deserves! Since you are probably living in it for the majority of your life, treat it like your loved ones, because if you don’t, the technical debt is going to get ya!