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Understanding Tech Debt


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tech debt 101 for video game development

Published in: Software
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Understanding Tech Debt

  1. 1. Understanding Tech Debt for video game development Simon Koo
  2. 2. Accounting 101 ASSET Liability Equity (Capital) Example - Liability: Loans (+Interests), Bills, Notes, … - Equity: Savings, Real estates, Stocks, Bonds, …
  3. 3. Tech Debt 101 FEATURES (Deliverables) Tech Debt Systemized Foundations Example - Tech Debt: good for quick iterations such as Prototypes, Active developing features (low coverage tests) - Systemized: Scalable+Reliable features, Core Backends, High test coverages but more cost and time
  4. 4. Different POV from their backgrounds #1 FEATURES (Deliverables 150%) Tech Debt Systemized Foundations Mercenary-oriented team (goal oriented approach) - Contract engineers, Much relying on Outsourcing house, … - Generally great for quickly testing new ideas.
  5. 5. Different POV from their backgrounds #2 FEATURES (Deliverables 70%) Tech Debt Systemized Foundations Cadet-oriented team (system centric approach like Army Field Manual) - Academic researchers, Computer scientist, Well trained junior-mid engineers, … - Generally great for library or framework development
  6. 6. Different POV from their backgrounds #3 War Veteran-oriented team (flexibility oriented with ownership) - Engineers with full production or multiple shipping experience. Controlling the balance w/ ownership. - Generally suitable for game production, where time and cost are limited by time-to-market reasons. FEATURES (Deliverables 100%) Tech Debt Systemized Foundations Balance
  7. 7. DarkAge Initiative Refactoring Season - Rebalancing Process for paying off this debt when the debt is so high that it slows down the future work - With the ownership, leading this initiative is usually a good promotion opportunity generally in FAANG. FEATURES (Deliverables) Tech Debt Clearing debt scope Systemized Foundations AS-IS TO-BE DarkAge Initiative
  8. 8. Key Messages • Don't be afraid of the technology debt • Science and engineering are different. The biggest difference in terms of cost (time) Since we are engineers, it is our mission to find the most efficient way within the limits given. • In reality, there is no video game product without tech debt (if not an indie game or college project). It is meaningless to blame the debt, it's good to think about how to manage it with ownership. • Ownership is the key element for managing the balance • If you look only at the task given to you, you won't see the opportunity to improve. • Expectation: not just bringing out issues but driving opportunities