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An Empirical Investigation of the Harmfulness of Architectural Technical Debt

Terese Besker (Institutionen för data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering (Chalmers))
Gothenburg : Chalmers University of Technology, 2018.

Background: In order to survive in today's fast-growing and ever fast-changing business environments, large-scale software companies need to deliver customer value continuously, both from a short- and long-term perspective. However, the consequences of potential long-term and far-reaching negative effects of shortcuts and quick fixes made during the software development lifecycle, described as Technical Debt (TD), can impede the software development process.

Objective: The overall goal of this Licentiate thesis is to empirically study and understand in what way and to what extent, TD in general and architectural TD specifically, influence today’s software development work and, specifically, with the intention of providing more quantitative insights into the field.

Method: To achieve the objectives, a combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies are used, including interviews, surveys, a systematic literature review, a longitudinal study, correlation analysis, and statistical tests. In five of the seven included studies, we use a combination of multiple research methods to achieve high validity.

Results: We present results showing that software suffering from TD will cause various different negative effects on both the software and on the developing process. These negative effects can be illustrated from a technical, a financial and from a developer’s working situational perspective.

Conclusion: This thesis contributes to the understanding and quantification of in what way and to what extent TD is harmful to software development organizations. The results show that software practitioners estimate that they waste 36% of their working time due to experiencing TD and that the TD is causing them to perform additional time-consuming work activities. This study also shows that, compared to all types of TD, architectural TD has the greatest negative impact on the daily software development work.

Nyckelord: Software Engineering, Software Architecture, Technical Debt, Software Developing Productivity, Software Quality, Mixed-methods, Morale, Empirical Research

Denna post skapades 2018-01-03. Senast ändrad 2018-01-03.
CPL Pubid: 500030