Application Development


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The note on your technical debt came due, without notice.

Broken Mobile AppA Client in Distress — We received a call early on a Tuesday, "What the heck did you guys do? The iOS app is crashing left and right. None of our customers can use it. You guys need to fix it ASAP!" We responded like a well-trained physician in an emergency situation, using our best bedside manner. Our Project Manager reassured the client, "We'll get to the bottom of the issue and put resources on task immediately." He shared a few details to help ease their mind, "Aside from evaluating the source code, and the slight modification we rolled out successfully last week, we haven't made any changes to the iOS app." The client, while under a great deal of stress said, "Well, you must have done something, because it was working fine yesterday."

Empathy: A Core Value — Given the nature of Application Remediation and Modernization services, we sometimes have to bear the brunt of a client's initial reaction to a problem and earn their trust. That’s okay. We understand. Empathy is one of our core values. We care deeply about our clients' well-being. Rather than taking a defensive posture, we reassured the client and were on-task quickly to correct the problem. After all, resolving unexpected issues is one of the services we provide. Thank goodness they didn't have to search for a qualified vendor and negotiate a contract. Their app would have been down for weeks.

Payment Due on Technical — We recently on-boarded the client and began work to improve their iOS, Android and IoT applications. The apps were originally developed by a third party. The client had no documentation, only a list of bugs and enhancements they wanted to address. During the initial assessment we discovered a lot of code that would need to be refactored over time. We documented what we found in a backlog and continued planning a product roadmap. In the meantime, Apple rolled out iOS 12.2 and the app crashed. It turns out the previous developer used several outdated components to reduce their effort, incurring technical debt in order to meet time and budgetary constraints. Ultimately, the note came due and had to be paid in the form of development time and cost. It took us a few days to diagnose and correct the problem. It all worked out in the end, but it certainly came at a cost.

Managing Technical Debt — Technical debt is not necessarily bad. Just like financial debt, it can be leveraged in a successful manner for the benefit of your business. The key is to manage it carefully. A high-performing team will inform you when a short-term solution will result in technical debt and develop a plan for refactoring code in a future iteration of work to minimize risk. This is part of our routine at Red Hawk. Now our client is in a much better place strategically, and financially, as a result of our Application Remediation and Modernization services.


Red Hawk Technologies provides Application Development, Remediation and Modernization services to mid-market clientele to create and support custom web and mobile applications. Red Hawk's unique business model allows them to provide best-in-class services at a fraction of the cost when compared to hiring and managing full-time development staff. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us.