Bilkent University
Department of Computer Engineering


An Exploration of Technical Debt


Dr. Aybüke Aurum

Technical debt utilises financial debt as a metaphor to describe the phenomenon of increasing software development costs over time. Whilst this phenomenon is evidently detrimental to the long-term success of software development, it appears to be poorly understood in the academic literature. The absence of a clear definition and model for technical debt means that the notion of technical debt remains metaphorical, thus preventing the realisation of technical debt’s utility as a conceptual and technical communication device. The objective of this research is to make a critical examination of technical debt and consolidate understanding of the nature of technical debt and its implications for software development. This research involves an exploratory case study technique that comprises systematic literature review, multivocal literature review, supplemented by interviews with software practitioners and academics to establish the boundaries of the technical debt phenomenon. A key outcome of this research is the creation of a theoretical framework that provides a holistic view of technical debt comprising a set of technical debts dimensions, attributes, precedents and outcomes, as well as the phenomenon itself and a taxonomy that describes and encompasses different forms of the technical debt phenomenon. The proposed framework provides a useful approach to understanding the overall phenomenon of technical debt for practical purposes. Future research should incorporate empirical studies to validate heuristics and techniques that will assist practitioners in their management of technical debt.

Bio: Aybüke Aurum is an associate professor of Information Systems and until recently was working in the School of Information Systems, Technology and Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Dr Aurum received her BSc and MSc in geological engineering, Istanbul Technical University and MEngSc and PhD in computer science from the University of New South Wales. Her research interests include requirements engineering, agile development, outsourcing, and global software development. Dr Aurum has over 130 publications, including three editing books, namely "Managing Software Engineering Knowledge", Engineering and Managing Software Requirements" and "Value-Based Software Engineering" published by Springer. Dr Aurum is a member of research grants assessor team in the Australian Research Council. She is on the editorial board of Information and Software Technology journal, Requirements Engineering journal, and International Journal of Business and Systems Research. She is a member of IEEE, Australian Computer Society and Associate of Information Systems.


DATE: 10 July, 2014, Thursday @ 13:40