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Monday, November 3 • 1:00pm - 5:00pm
T4: Strategic Management of Technical Debt

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The metaphor of technical debt acknowledges that development teams sometimes accept compromises in a system in one dimension (for example, modularity) to meet an urgent demand in another dimension (for example, a deadline), and that such compromises incur a “debt.” If not properly managed, the interest on this debt may accrue, hampering system stability and quality and impacting the team’s ability to deliver enhancements at a pace that satisfies business needs.

Although unmanaged debt can have disastrous results, strategically managed debt can help organizations take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities, fulfill market needs, and acquire stakeholder feedback. Because architecture has such leverage within the overall development lifecycle, strategic management of architectural debt is important.

This tutorial introduces practical aspects of managing technical debt. During this session, we will discuss the technical-debt metaphor and learn about techniques for measuring and communicating technical debt. We will play the Hard Choices game, an engaging technique for communicating the tradeoffs of technical-debt management to colleagues and managers. After the game, we’ll compare strategies and share practices to help make these choices. We will conclude by raising awareness of efforts to provide software engineers a foundation for managing tradeoffs based on models of their economic impacts.

Learning Outcomes
  • Understand key concepts
  • Acquire a technique for communicating the tradeoffs of technical debt to colleagues and managers
  • Learn about practical tools and techniques that can address part of the problem today
  • Gain knowledge of a foundation for managing tradeoffs based on models of economic impacts

Speakers
avatar for Neil Ernst

Neil Ernst

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute
Neil Ernst is Member of the Technical Staff at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. He researches the intersection of requirements engineering, quality attributes, and agile and iterative development. This includes developing new theoretical frameworks, conducting empirical studies, and communicating results to the wider community. Recent publications include an article in the Journal of Empirical Software Engineering and the... Read More →
avatar for Robert Nord

Robert Nord

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute
Robert Nord is a senior member of the technical staff at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute. He is engaged in activities focusing on agile and architecting at scale and works to develop and communicate effective methods and practices for software architecture. His collaboration with Philippe Kruchten and Ipek Ozkaya is helping shape the research agenda on technical debt. He is co-author of the practitioner-oriented books Applied... Read More →
avatar for Ipek Ozkaya

Ipek Ozkaya

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute
Ipek Ozkaya is a senior member of the technical staff at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI). With her team at the SEI, she works to help organizations improve their software development efficiency and system evolution. Her work focuses on software architecture practices, software economics, and requirements management. Her latest publications include articles on agile architecting, dependency management, and architectural... Read More →


Monday November 3, 2014 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Grand Station Ballroom 5

Attendees (4)