Technical debt is best understood as the work remaining before a job can be considered complete. It is one of the worst bottlenecks when it comes to creating value with software and the ability to deal with it is often the difference between a great business and closing the shop. The Mikado Method is a process which systematically eliminates technical debt. It gets its name from a simple game known as "pick-up sticks." Starting with a jumbled pile of sticks, the goal is to remove the Mikado, or Emperor, stick without disturbing the others. Players carefully remove sticks one at a time, leaving the rest of the heap intact, slowly exposing the Mikado. The game is a great metaphor for eliminating technical debt--carefully extracting each intertwined dependency until successfully resolving the central issue.
"The Mikado Method" describes a pragmatic and straightforward method to plan and perform non-trivial technical improvements on an existing software system. Step by step, readers will identify the scope and nature of technical debt, map the key dependencies, and determine the safest way to approach the "Mikado"--the goal. A natural byproduct of this process is the Mikado Graph, a minimalistic, relevant, just-in-time roadmap and information radiator that reflects deep understanding of how the system works.
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