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Technical Debt: Towards a Crisper Definition, Report on the 4th International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt

September 2013 Article
Philippe Kruchten, Robert Nord, Ipek Ozkaya, Davide Falessi (Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering)

This article reports on the Fourth International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt, where participants defined technical debt and the limits of the metaphor.




This article was published by ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, Volume 38, Issue 5, September 2013, pages 51-54.

As the pace of software delivery increases and technology rapidly changes, organizations seek guidance on how to insure the sustainability of their software development effort. Over the past four years running the workshops on Managing Technical Debt, we have seen increased interest from the software industry to understanding and managing technical debt. A better understanding of the concept of technical debt, and how to approach it, both from a theoretical and a practical perspective is necessary to advance its state of the art and practice. In this article, we highlight the current confusion in industry on the definition of technical debt, their contributions that have led to a deeper understanding of this concept and the limits of the metaphor, the criteria to discriminate what is technical debt and not, and areas of further investigation.