Almost all communication between developers and non-technical colleagues or clients is done through a set of metaphors. Some of them (the construction metaphor, for example) are actively harmful, but others are potentially very useful.
The idea of technical debt is one of these but, as with any metaphor, it’s important to understand where the limits of its applicability are. For these metaphors to be useful, they need to be used accurately.
There’s a pronounced tendency within the agency world to appropriate technical terms and then to use them incorrectly (‘operating system’ is the trope du jour), presumably in order to appear more technically knowledgeable but, to anyone who knows what these things really mean, the effect is just to reveal the metaphor abuser as a bullshitter.
Abused in this way, useful terms gradually become stripped of their meaning and replacements have to be found. I worry that this is happening with the term ‘technical debt’. Hopefully, this post will help to clarify its meaning.