Incorporating the business perspective into prioritizing technical debt is essential to contribute to decision making in industry. In this paper, we evolve and evaluate a business-driven approach for technical debt prioritization. The approach was evaluated during a five-months industrial case study with business and technical stakeholders’ active participation. The results show that the approach contributed to aligning business criteria between the business and technical stakeholders. We also observed a downward trend in the amount of technical debt that affects high-value business assets. Moreover, we identified eight business factors that affect the decision making related to the prioritization of technical debt. The study results suggest that the proposed business-driven technical debt prioritization approach can help teams to focus their efforts on paying off the business’ most relevant debt.
Tracy: A Business-Driven Technical Debt Prioritization Framework
Rodrigo Almeida, Christoph Treude, and Uirá Kulesza
In 2019 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), Sep 2019
Technical debt is a pervasive problem in software development. Software development teams have to prioritize debt items and determine whether they should address debt or develop new features at any point in time. This paper presents "Tracy", a framework for the prioritization of technical debt using a business-driven approach built on top of business processes. The current stage of the proposed framework is at the beginning of the third phase of Design Science Research, which is usually divided into the phases of exploration, engineering, and evaluation. The exploration and engineering phases involved the participation of 49 professionals from 12 different groups of three companies. The initial evaluation shows that the presented framework is coherent in its structure and that its results contribute to business-driven decision making on technical debt prioritization.
Aligning Technical Debt Prioritization with Business Objectives: A Multiple-Case Study
Rodrigo Almeida, Uirá Kulesza, Christoph Treude, D’angellys Cavalcanti Feitosa, and Aliandro Higino Guedes Lima
In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), Sep 2018
Technical debt (TD) is a metaphor to describe the trade-off between short-term workarounds and long-term goals in software development. Despite being widely used to explain technical issues in business terms, industry and academia still lack a proper way to manage technical debt while explicitly considering business priorities. In this paper, we report on a multiple-case study of how two big software development companies handle technical debt items, and we show how taking the business perspective into account can improve the decision making for the prioritization of technical debt. We also propose a first step toward an approach that uses business process management (BPM) to manage technical debt. We interviewed a set of IT business stakeholders, and we collected and analyzed different sets of technical debt items, comparing how these items would be prioritized using a purely technical versus a business-oriented approach. We found that the use of business process management to support technical debt management makes the technical debt prioritization decision process more aligned with business expectations. We also found evidence that the business process management approach can help technical debt management achieve business objectives.