Argument could be made that many of the factors considered here are not strictly speaking, technical debt. Even so, they can have the same impact. They deserve to be addressed because with awareness you can plan for or avoid them. Inevitable technical debt examples are typically a consequence of changes in technology, law, and the market. It can also be the result of social and political shifts, as well as changes in a client’s business direction. You have little control over these kinds of changes, but they often have a very real and sometimes very large impact on your work.
Just recently, Apple and Google Play stopped supporting 32-bit apps. Throughout 2018 and 2019, most developers stopped support for 32-bit OS’s as over 90% of Windows users either had or could upgrade to a 64-bit version. New laws, like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) generated a lot of extra work, with enough advanced notice that most software developers were easily able to include it in their work plans. Then
there’s the on-off-on-off-again-and-finally-done Brexit which will impact EU and UK software developers needing to comply with European and British standards.
One of the next major changes for software developers already in progress involves the roll-out of 5G networks and whether you choose to make use of Huawei components or not. For that matter, though possibly behind us, issues like the US-China trade war can also have an impact on technical debt, especially when developing companion apps and software for IoT devices.
Changes in the cost or availability of a chip can lead to changes in the architecture of a device and corresponding code of software components. Hardware and device software developed in parallel are predisposed to frequent changes in requirements during initial prototyping. The discovery of security vulnerabilities or release of newer chips with much higher performance can also prompt changes at any point. A company initially deciding to use Huawei components finds the US and European countries (i.e. NATO) or key customers blocking them and reversing course is another example.