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Technical Debt: From Metaphor to Theory and Practice

November 2012 White Paper
Philippe Kruchten, Robert Nord, Ipek Ozkaya

This article discusses the technical debt metaphor and considers it beyond a "rhetorical concept." The article explores the role of decision making about developmental activities and future changes and the evolution that the software needs to undergo.

Publisher:

IEEE Software

Abstract

This article discusses the technical debt metaphor and considers it beyond a "rhetorical concept." Tackling technical debt requires an awareness of its causes as well as explicit management. One approach to its organization and management is through a common backlog that lists debt-related tasks along with actions for improvement. The article explores the role of decision making about developmental activities and future changes and the evolution that the software needs to undergo. The role of financial models in balancing cost and value is also discussed.

This article was first published in a Special Edition of IEEE Software.