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Selling the Business Case for Architectural Debt Reduction

May 2017 Presentation
Eltjo Poort (CGI)

Eltjo Poort presents failure and success stories from CGI's architects in three golden rules to help sell your business case for architectural debt reduction.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

This presentation was created for a conference series or symposium and does not necessarily reflect the positions and views of the Software Engineering Institute.

Abstract

This presentation was part of the Ninth International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt, held in conjunction with the 18th International XP Conference (XP 2017) in Cologne, Germany.

Reducing technical debt that manifests itself in code quality issues is now common practice in most organizations. Architectural debt, however, which cannot be measured in the code, is a different story. Reducing architectural technical debt requires specific investments and is often a hard sell. Technical debt reduction is always an "under the hood" improvement, an enabler that adds business value only indirectly—and not by adding cool new stuff, but by cleaning up a mess that somehow came into being. It is not enough to make organizations understand architectural debt: they need to be pushed into timely action. The key to selling the business case for architectural debt reduction is anticipation: start managing stakeholder expectations in time, use economic arguments, and architect your time dimension. I will present failure and success stories from CGI's architects and gather lessons learned in three golden rules to help sell your business case for architectural debt reduction.