mobile logo


Technical Debt’s Hidden Cousin: Dark Debt

When we build complex, software-based systems we are dealing in pure thought-stuff. Most of the time we cannot see, touch or hit (although sometimes we’d like to) the edifices we are constructing. Is it any wonder we love a good metaphor to help us navigate our daily jaunts into the ethereal?

Metaphors help us navigate the shadow-lands of software systems by giving us mental waypoints and handholds that keep us focussed on the right problem to solve at the right time. From virtual desktops to whiteboard designs, it’s metaphors that help us find our way when the challenges are at their most scurrilous and this is an article about just such a metaphor: Dark Debt.

To start exploring Dark Debt first we need to look at the flip side of the coin (to ashamedly use another metaphor to explain a metaphor … a meta-metaphor?) looking first at Dark Debt’s cousin: Technical Debt.