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Masterclass: Reducing Technical Debt

Masterclass: Reducing Technical Debt with Michael C. Feathers

About the Author

Michael C. Feathers

Michael C. Feathers

Michael Feathers is the founder and Director of R7K Research & Conveyance, a company specializing in software and organization design.

Want to get more out of your legacy systems: more performance, functionality, reliability, and manageability? Learn how Technical Debt is a catch-all term that we use for entropy in software development. 

Systems grow, become unruly, and difficult to work with. When this happens, we often know that we can do better, but it is hard to take concrete actions which help us get a strong a sense of control over the evolution of an entire code base.

Michael Feathers will outline what he has learned about making big changes in large software projects. Learn techniques along the continuum of team-coordinated refactoring, rewriting, and advanced team practice to maximize the potential of your existing code base.

This course contains material beyond what Michael outlined in his classic book Working Effectively in Legacy Code and is more focused on large scale change.


For managers and developers with knowledge of software development.


Learning Objectives

Learn how to:

  • Identify various types of technical debt
  • Assess the amount of technical debt in your codebase
  • Develop design plans for large-scale refactoring and debt mitigation
  • Alter team and organizational process to make refactoring a first-class practice


While there is no actual coding in this course, delegates will need to have knowledge of reading code, and must feel comfortable working with code samples (provided in C#, C++ and Java) to illustrate refactoring techniques, and running the resultant code through the relevant test suite.

Bring your own hardware

Delegates are required to bring their own laptop to this course with a Text Editor (similar to TextMate, vi, or emacs) and an IDE suitable for coding in C#, C++ or Java as preferred.

A full installation guide for the course software will be provided with your joining instructions.

Course Content

Topics covered include:

  • A Pragmatic Definition of Technical Debt
  • Design Decision Cards
  • Feature Probes
  • Scratch Refactoring
  • Design Direction Tagging
  • Limited WIP Refactoring
  • Design Quality Trend Analysis
  • Systematic Refactoring/Rewriting

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