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Managing Technical Debt in Complex Software Systems

December 2016 Brochure

This brochure describes the SEI's approach to make technical debt visible, determine what type of debt a project has, and integrate debt into project planning.


Software Engineering Institute


Technical debt can be defined as a design or construction approach that is expedient in the short term but that creates a technical context in which the same work will cost more to do later than it would cost to do now. If managed well, some debt can accelerate design exploration. Left unrecognized and unmanaged, accumulated technical debt results in increased development and sustainment costs. This information sheet describes the SEI's systematic approach to making technical debt visible, determining what type of debt a project has, and integrating debt into project planning.