Fierce competition in the software market forces companies to release their product under tough time constraints. The competition makes companies reactive and they need to release new versions often. To achieve this need for speed, companies take shortcuts to reach deadlines. These shortcuts and resulting omitted quality are called technical debt. We investigated one middle-size Finnish software company with two independent product lines and interviewed 12 persons in different positions to understand the causes and effects of technical debt. We were also interested in specific strategies and practices for managing technical debt. The results showed that technical debt is mostly formed as a result of intentional decisions made during the project to reach deadlines. Customer satisfaction was identified as the main reason for taking technical debt in short-term but it turned to economic consequences and quality issues in the longer perspective. Interestingly, neither of the product lines had any specific management plan for reducing technical debt but several practices have been identified.
Jesse Yli-Huumo, Andrey Maglyas, Kari Smolander (Lappeenranta University of Technology): The Sources and Approaches to Management of Technical Debt: A Case Study of Two Product Lines in a Middle-Size Finnish Software Company
In the book Product-Focused Software Process Improvement
Editors: Jedlitschka, A., Kuvaja, P., Kuhrmann, M., Männistö, T., Münch, J., Raatikainen, M. (Eds.)
This book constitutes the refereed proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement, PROFES 2014, held in Helsinki, Finland, in December 2014. The 18 revised full papers presented together with 14 short papers were carefully reviewed and selected from 45 initial submissions. The papers are organized in topical sections on agile development, decision-making, development practices and issues, product planning, and project management.