Good article, Steve. There are a few things I could respond to, but I'll focus upon your second question. No, we don't track technical debt. We accumulate it, but we never track it. In fairness to my current employer, I have never worked any place where they track technical debt. Because of that I'm not sure what tracking technical debt would look like. Whatever it looks like, we don't do it.
As a corollary to this, I'll mention something related to it. I've mentioned before how much I dislike the commute I must normally go through, to work. They insist that I travel a long distance and long travel times, just so that I can work in my state's capital. This pandemic has, at least for me, revealed an interesting aspect and that's what it is like to run our applications near my home. I live near the largest city in my state, so naturally there are a lot of state employees that live and work here. I'm now seeing, firsthand, how slow our applications are. For example, I'm now working on an application which pulls down a little over 18,000 records every time it opens this one dialog window. It must do so; my boss requires that it do so. However, that query runs very slowly. I've timed it and found that it takes up to 30 second to retrieve that data and display it. 18K+ isn't that much, but this query is still slow. If you work at the headquarters in the capital, all such queries are instantaneous. But not so when you're 70 miles away. I'm hoping that seeing this for ourselves, will cause us to try and optimize the query.