How do you balance technical debt with project timelines and deliverables?

As a software tech lead, balancing technical debt with project timelines and deliverables is a critical part of my role. While technical debt can be a necessary part of software development, it is important to ensure that it does not become unmanageable or lead to a situation where the codebase becomes difficult to maintain or update.

To balance technical debt with project timelines and deliverables, I typically take the following approach:

Prioritize technical debt based on impact: I evaluate technical debt based on its impact on the project and the codebase. If a particular issue is causing significant problems or slowing down development, I prioritize it higher than other issues.

Plan technical debt into sprints: I work with the team to plan technical debt into sprints, ensuring that we have the time and resources to address the most critical issues.

Communicate with stakeholders: I keep stakeholders informed about technical debt and its impact on the project. This ensures that everyone is on the same page about the need to address technical debt, and that they understand how it may impact the timeline or deliverables.

Monitor progress: I monitor progress on technical debt, ensuring that we are making progress and that the technical debt is not becoming unmanageable.

Balance short-term and long-term goals: I balance short-term goals, such as delivering new features or meeting project timelines, with long-term goals, such as maintaining a healthy and sustainable codebase.

Ultimately, balancing technical debt with project timelines and deliverables requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. By prioritizing technical debt based on impact, planning it into sprints, communicating with stakeholders, monitoring progress, and balancing short-term and long-term goals, I believe that it is possible to maintain a healthy codebase while still meeting project deadlines and deliverables.