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"Some problems with code are like financial debt. It’s OK to borrow against the future, as long as you pay it off.”

Ward Cunningham


Functional debt is a variation of technical debt, which refers to the cost of maintaining and repairing software systems that were developed using suboptimal solutions or shortcuts.

While functional consultants may not deal with code, they can still accrue functional debt by making decisions that have long-term consequences.

When functional consultant makes a decision to take an easy but limited solution instead of a better approach that would take longer this can be a "functional debt".

This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as time constraints, budget constraints, or a lack of
knowledge about the best approach.

In new implementations, for example, the pressure to meet deadlines may lead to the adoption of quick and easy solutions that may not be the most efficient or effective in the long run.

Functional debt is not always bad, as quick decisions are sometimes necessary to meet project deadlines. However, the more functional debt a system has, the more costly it becomes to maintain and upgrade.

Therefore, it is important to manage functional debt and pay it off when necessary.

One approach to managing functional debt is to:

  1. Introduce this terminology in your team.

  2. Record the debt in a debt registry.

  3. Always refactor. As developers refactor their code, functional consultants should always refactor their configuration to
    ensure that the system is optimized for efficiency and effectiveness.

In conclusion, functional debt is a concept that can have a significant impact on the success of a project and system quality.

By understanding and managing functional debt, functional consultants can help ensure that the system is optimized and efficient, which translates to a better quality and long-term cost savings.


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