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50 Years of Technical Debt with Rising Interest Rates

October 2016 Presentation
Firas Glaiel (Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems), Terri Potts (Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services)

In this presentation, the authors discuss technical debt and the challenges of detecting, measuring, and managing it.


Software Engineering Institute


This presentation was part of the Eighth International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt, held in conjunction with the 32nd International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME 2016).

At Raytheon, we build large and small systems mainly for the Department of Defense and other government organizations. These systems are built over a period of years and are often evolved and maintained for 30 to 40 years. As with all software systems, these systems accrue technical debt over the course of their lifetimes. Both intentional and inadvertent technical debt has accumulated in many of these systems, most of which is not documented in defect reports.

What happens when the decision to take on technical debt isn't recorded or the technical debt is inherited? In this keynote, I discuss the numerous dimensions of technical debt in our experience and the challenges of detecting, measuring, and managing technical debt in large complex software systems.