ITWeb GRC 2024 – Choosing speed over quality equals tech debt

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 02 Feb 2024
What is technical debt and how to avoid it?
What is technical debt and how to avoid it?

Bella Sekhwela, an internal audit expert at Discovery Bank, warns that when it comes to software development, choosing speed over quality will accrue technical debt – a position that hinders the ability to compete and innovate.


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Sekhwela is scheduled to speak at the ITWeb Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) 2024 event on 20 February at The Forum in Bryanston.

She will discuss the impact of accrued technical debt on business operations and underscore the serious consequences that can arise when it is neglected.

“Technical debt is the measure of the cost of reworking a solution caused by choosing an easy yet limited solution. The most significant consequence of a complex technical debt is that it hinders a company’s ability to compete. It robs organisations of resources, time, energy, and the ability to innovate, adapt, and grow,” says Sekhwela.

How do companies get into this position? Sekhwela points out that companies, in their pursuit of expediency, accumulate technical debt by deferring or overlooking essential work, only to find themselves compelled to repay it later, facing potential repercussions.

“As a result, businesses eventually must pay with time, money, and resources, typically for choosing speed over quality,” she adds.

IT project management

Sekhwela says IT project management illustrates her point. 

“With companies that take a long time to try to deliver IT projects, eventually they either drop the project because it is no longer relevant or they want to be disruptive on another idea, so they just leave it there. Sometimes they just deprioritise a project for a good reason, or sometimes they deliver it so quickly that they forget to ‘polish it up’ and end up with a minimal viable product.”

This product is then rolled out quickly and may well be first to market, but that comes at a cost and that cost is technical debt.

“In many cases – especially in traditional companies – we find that the technical debt is the result of applications that are very old and developers spend time on trying to rectify the issues,” Sekhwela explains.

The longer debt builds up, the more costly it becomes to rectify. 

She plans to deep dive into what causes technical debt, what kind of scenarios continue to emerge and what is the best way for business leaders to deal with the issue effectively.

Follow the link below for more information and to register.:
ITWeb GRC 2024