The main reason to use Stepsize is to make better strategic decisions by prioritising the right debt at the right time.

In this guide, we describe how to use Stepsize to ensure you deliver your roadmap as fast as possible given the technical context you find yourself in.

Have you covered the basics?

This guide assumes that you're familiar the fundamental building blocks of Stepsize: debt reports and debt items.

If you aren't, we encourage you to check out our overview of debt reports and our overview of debt items before coming back to this guide.

We recommend combining the approaches described below to ensure you plan well.

Approach 1: Review the debt in Stepsize while you plan sprints

This is a simple & quick thing to do when you plan sprints — it'll quickly become second nature.

For each medium to large item in your sprint, take a quick peek at Stepsize.

Which parts of the codebase will we touch? Did we lose time modifying this code in the past? If so, why, and is there a reason to believe we'll lose time again?

If you think debt will slow you down once again, seriously consider whether you should pay back some of it. You don't need to fix it completely, but you'll be better off long term by chipping away at the debt each time you come in contact with it, rather than losing time again and again.

Check out this section on assessing the severity of debt items using filters.

Approach 2: Use our Jira integration to nudge you to consider tech debt

This creates a trigger to take a peek at Stepsize while you're planning, helping you cement this new habit.

Our Jira integration brings tech debt into your project management tool, where you're most likely to be when planning out work. This is very powerful to develop the habit of considering tech debt while you plan and asking yourself (as a team) the questions outlined in Approach 1.

Check out our guide on the Jira integration.

Approach 3: Communicate your roadmap to engineers and encourage them to create Proposals for optimal delivery

Depending on how you currently put together your roadmap, this will require more or less effort. But it's also the approach that promises to create the most value for the business.

As soon as your roadmap for the quarter has stabilised, you should communicate it to engineers and invite them to think about how tech debt will affect it.

They almost certainly will spot risk factors you're unaware of, and can use our Proposals feature to communicate in clear terms the impact the debt is likely to have and their suggested course of action to optimise delivery.