Dice Of Debt

NEWICONS-02Dice Of Debt is a simple game designed to illustrate the importance of dealing with technical debt. Software developers often decide to cut corners, because there is a temporary benefit from not being as thorough as they might be in designing, documenting, and testing the code. Technical debt grows over time, making it increasingly hard to write new code, or fix issues in the existing code. Because time pressures do not disappear, teams are often unwilling to address technical debt — in fact, they often continue adding to it.

In Dice Of Debt, the players are a software team that has to make decisions about technical debt. If they do nothing to improve their situation, technical debt will limit significantly their ability to create new software value. However, if they take steps to reduce technical debt, there is a short-term cost to pay. Corrective measures, such as reducing the complexity of the code as written, take time to put into place. The team will see benefits in the long term, freeing the team to be more productive. Therefore, the game is about the trade-offs between short-term sacrifice and long-term game.

Dice Of Debt is available for free. The designer collects and displays the results of games played. The Agile Alliance, a professional organization for software innovators, is making the game available in late 2015 as part of a package of materials designed to help people deal with technical debt.

For more information…
Home page for Dice Of Debt, including links to the free download version.
Wikipedia description of technical debt.
Agile Alliance page about technical debt.

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