A surprising number of quality, scalability, and load problems have been occurring on an application I currently support that I did not originally write. Thankfully I have new projects that I have been doing from the ground up to retain some semblance of my sanity.
The original team consisted of 20 some developers (most of them with outdated skill sets), no business requirement documents or quality assurance testers, and poorly managed from the very beginning in a waterfall fashion. The early days of production were an embarrassing nightmare that involved patching brittle procedural-like code with even more brittle fixes. Features were added later that were sledgehammered into a datamodel that was never meant to support them and it is not uncommon to see the same code duplicated 10 times over and to see resources not being safely closed and ORM queries that fetch tens of thousands of entities just to throw out all but a handful.
It is just me now and everytime there is a new problem that crops out I rewrite a module to better standards and make it MUCH more stable but Management needs a proper explanation as to why all of this is occurring.
They seem shocked and perplexed at the notion that this application is of poor quality and drowning in technical debt. Fortunately they understand the concept of technical debt and support me in my quest to eradicate it and they are very supportive and appreciative of me, but I feel as if I just keep blaming the original team (who all left to ruin another project in a different division).
The bottom line is that I don't want to be "That Guy" who always complains about the developers on the project before him. I have seen this attitude before from people in my career who I personally felt were being ignorant and not considering the circumstances and design influences that encouraged things to be the way that they were.
Usually I see this attitude of blaming the previous team for poor design and implementation from idealistic junior developers who have not had the life experiences that more senior members have had and benefitted from.
Do you feel that there is a better way, perhaps softer way of doing of reporting these kinds of problems to management without stepping on the reputation of the person/team before you?