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The WyCash Portfolio Management System (Cunningham, 1992)

The WyCash Portfolio Management System (, 1992)



  • Author: Ward Cunningham
  • Full Title: The WyCash Portfolio Management System
  • Category: #articles
  • Document Note: First known reference to the term "technical debt"
  • Summary: The WyCash Portfolio Management System focuses on cash markets where various entities invest substantial amounts. Cash securities vary widely and are often negotiated between issuers and buyers with new types frequently introduced. Wyatt Software developed WyCASH+ using object technology to efficiently handle market diversity and changes. The system's incremental growth approach, consolidation of mature sections, and responsiveness to customer needs are highlighted as key elements. The document also discusses pitfalls like failing to consolidate leading to a program becoming unmanageable, emphasizing the importance of repaying technical debt promptly in software development.
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  • OOPSLA '92 Experience Report Ward Cunningham (View Highlight)

  • Although immature code may work fine and be completely acceptable to the customer, excess quantities will make a program unmasterable, leading to extreme specialization of programmers and finally an inflexible product. Shipping first time code is like going into debt. A little debt speeds development so long as it is paid back promptly with a rewrite. Objects make the cost of this transaction tolerable. The danger occurs when the debt is not repaid. Every minute spent on not-quite-right code counts as interest on that debt. Entire engineering organizations can be brought to a stand-still under the debt load of an unconsolidated implementation (View Highlight)

    • Note: First known reference to "technical debt"