This question already has an answer here:
Here is the classic scenario; Dev team build a prototype. Business mgmt like it and put it into production. Dev team now have to continue to deliver new features whilst at the same time pay the technical debt accrued when the code base was a prototype.
My question is this (forgive me, it's rather open ended); how can the value of the refactoring work be quantified in commercial terms?
As developers we can clearly understand and communicate the value in technical terms, such a the removal of code duplication, the simplification of an object model and so on. But this means little to an executive focussed on the commercial elements. What will mean something to this executive is the dev. team being able to deliver requirements at faster velocity. Just making this statement without any metrics that clearly quantify return on investment (increased velocity in return for resource allocated to refactoring) carries little weight.
I'm interested to hear from anyone who has had experience, positive or negative, in relation to the above.
----------------- EDIT ----------------
Thanks for the responses so far, all of which I think are good. What I want to develop is a metric that proves (or disproves!) all of these statements. A report that ties velocity to refactoring and shows a positive effect.