Spaghetti Code: From Chaos to Clarity

What is Spaghetti Code? It might just be the culprit behind your major frustrations with tech.

Feeling the pressure of a glitchy, frustrating, or slow project? You’re not alone. Many fintech founders and CTOs experience the same troubles when working on their products. Issues that seem to pile up and cause and overwhelming sense of chaos.

Some common issues are:

  • Frequent lagging or crashing
  • Unrealized new features
  • User confusion
  • Faulty push updates
  • Skyrocketing costs
  • Constantly firefighting problems

Take, for example, a fintech startup that recently launched its app. Users are excited about the new features, but unfortunately they’re met with constant crashes and lagging issues. This not only damages the startup’s reputation, but also strains its resources as the team scrambles to find and fix the issues.

So what’s going on? 

Spaghetti Syndrome Strikes

These symptoms may indicate that you’re suffering from spaghetti syndrome. Originating from the term “spaghetti code,” this condition refers to a messy and entangled codebase that drains time and resources to untangle and make sense of.

Imagine a digital banking app facing a sudden increase in negative user feedback due to a faulty push update. The development team is now forced to backtrack, attempting to understand the tangled code that led to this issue while also keeping up with the demands of the users.

The 8 Culprits Behind Spaghetti Syndrome

So, how do you get spaghetti syndrome? There are several common reasons:

Skipping User Experience Design

One reason may be that you didn’t design the user experience or services before you started coding. Diving headfirst into coding without a solid plan can lead to a disorganized codebase, making it challenging to address issues or add new features later on.

Consider a fintech company that began developing a peer-to-peer payment platform without first outlining the user experience. As a result, they faced challenges in integrating crucial features, leading to a convoluted codebase that left users frustrated.

Failing to Ask “Why”

Another reason for spaghetti syndrome is failing to ask “why” to clarify requirements, resulting in last-minute rework. This can be costly and time-consuming, as you must redo work that could have been avoided with proper communication.

For instance, a small fintech startup is working on an AI-based investment tool. The team didn’t ask why certain features were requested, so they ended up changing their approach multiple times, creating a jumbled mess of code that delayed the project significantly.


Sometimes, over-engineering your app due to the hype around a particular technology or architecture approach can lead to spaghetti syndrome. While it’s essential to stay updated with industry trends, it’s crucial not to let the hype dictate your product’s foundation.

A digital wallet company decided to implement a new and trendy technology to their platform without thoroughly assessing its suitability. This led to a complex codebase that was difficult to maintain and troubleshoot, causing delays in their product development.

Abstraction Gone Wrong

Beginning to abstract your codebase without proper planning can result in code that no one can understand. While abstraction is useful in simplifying code, doing it haphazardly can make it even more challenging to maintain and debug.

In one poignant example, a financial management app’s development team attempted to abstract their codebase but ended up making it so complex that even they couldn’t understand it. This led to countless hours spent deciphering the code, ultimately delaying the app’s release.

Skipping Code Review and Testing

Failing to review and test code before it goes into production is another common cause of spaghetti syndrome. Without proper testing, bugs and issues can slip through, making it more challenging to maintain and update the code later on.

A mobile banking app, in its haste to release new features, didn’t review and test its code properly. This resulted in a bug-ridden app that left users frustrated and the development team scrambling to identify and resolve the issues, significantly affecting the app’s growth and reputation

Inappropriate Technology Choice

Building your product using technologies you’re familiar with, instead of those that are best suited for the job, can contribute to spaghetti syndrome. It’s essential to choose the right tools for your product, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

A fintech company decided to use a technology they were well-versed in for their new online trading platform. However, it turned out to be inadequate for handling the high volume of transactions and real-time data processing, leading to a chaotic codebase that was difficult to scale and maintain.

Hoarding Old Code

Never throwing away old code can lead to a bloated and confusing codebase. Sometimes, the best commit is the one that removes unnecessary lines of code, streamlining your product and making it more manageable.

One online lending platform had been building on the same codebase for years, never removing any old or redundant code. This inevitably led to a cumbersome and convoluted codebase that was not only challenging to navigate but also hindered the platform’s ability to evolve and adapt to changing market demands.

Overusing Third-Party Libraries

Relying too heavily on third-party libraries to save a few lines of code can also contribute to spaghetti syndrome. While these libraries can be helpful, they need to be maintained and can introduce additional complexity to your codebase. Relying too heavily on third-party libraries to save a few lines of code can also contribute to spaghetti syndrome. While these libraries can be helpful, they need to be maintained and can introduce additional complexity to your codebase.

For example, a fintech startup developing a budgeting app opted to use numerous third-party libraries to expedite the development process. However, the reliance on these libraries created a tangled web of dependencies that made the app challenging to maintain and update, ultimately stalling the startup’s progress.

Get Untangled

The struggles of spaghetti syndrome are all too real for fintech founders and CTOs, but recognizing the common culprits behind this condition can help you avoid it. By carefully planning your user experience, asking the right questions, being cautious with abstraction, choosing appropriate technologies, and maintaining a clean codebase, you can overcome spaghetti syndrome and build a successful, scalable fintech product.

And if you need a guide through the chaos, we are here to help.

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