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Legacy Code: Sunk Cost or Opportunity?

Yesterday I presented a lightning talk at the CTOCraft conference on the subject of legacy and tech debt.

I argued that tech debt and legacy are actually the same things and that legacy is felt immediately and everywhere in your system when you deploy new code.

With this conceit, I aim to stop the practice of paying down tech debt in cycles or as good habits to talk about only occasionally.

Good habits should be natural, they should flow around everything we do. Making legacy and tech debt seem to be ‘the past’ or ‘mistakes we made’ seems to assume that there is a future where we don’t make any decisions about the future of our platform. To me that is nonsense.

If you accept that tech debt and legacy are always happening then it’s possible to create an environment where we are always making sure we minimise its effects.

That should be the engineering culture that we aspire to.

You can download my slides from this talk here and I hope to share the video soon.