Prioritizing Technical Debt: 3 Ways Debt is Incurred and How to Address Change

technical debt

Technical debt is a concept to apply value to the time, effort, and money necessary to ensure an organization has the necessary technology in place to meet the demands of its business. Technical debt can come in different shapes and sizes. Much like financial debt, not all technical debt is bad, but it does incur interest and grows over time. It’s important to assess what debt you have and where it came from, and how and when to prioritize addressing your technical debt.

There are multiple variables that play into the equation of making a technical decision, and technical debt can be incurred in three ways.

Deliberate Decision

Cost is often of primary concern, and for good reason. Decisions happen within a certain context and it’s not always feasible to get the perfect solution. The decided trade-offs incur deliberate decision technical debt. For example, your fundraising solution met your primary concerns, but does not give you a 360-degree view of your constituents across program management, engagement, and fundraising.  

Accidental Choices

Sometimes mistakes are made and a poor solution may have been chosen. What seemed like a good idea at the time turns into accidental choice technical debt. For example, you’re in a new leadership role in the organization, and the CRM that you inherited isn’t getting the job done.

Time Lapse

Other times, the perfect solution is implemented, but over time the environment changes and the solution no longer meets requirements – creating time lapse technical debt. The value and security of data looks much different today than it did five years ago. With today’s growing threats it’s necessary that your CRM has robust data access permissions, supports multi-factor authentication, and lives in a secure environment.

Prioritizing Technical Debt

How do you go about prioritizing technical debt? Here are three easy steps:

  1. Identify the Source

    Assess and identify the sources of technical debt

  2. Uncover Tools

    Discuss tools that your organization needs

  3. Develop a Wishlist

    Create a wishlist of ideal solutions

Following these steps will help your organization budget and prioritize what needs to be addressed. As the disparity grows between current and necessary solutions, so does the technical debt, making these discussions and assessments essential.


The Candoris team of trusted pathfinders is ready to assist organizations in implementing solutions that modernize infrastructure, elevate security, and supercharge productivity.

About the author

Chief Technology Officer

Sam has an impeccable track record in the IT field. He has managed internal development teams and completed projects for major health systems, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Sam graduated from Penn State University with a BS in computer engineering and has an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.