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Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop 24452

Reframing Technical Debt

( Nov 03 – Nov 08, 2024 )

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Technical Debt is considered the "silent killer" of software projects. In a recent survey, software developers claimed that they spend 13.5 hours per week on Technical Debt, one-third of their working time. There is now widespread consensus in the industry that managing Technical Debt should be treated as a core software engineering practice. While the research community has already produced a substantial body of knowledge on Technical Debt, there are critical gaps in understanding Technical Debt for value-creation, integrating software architecture aspects, performing holistic data collection, managing socio-technical aspects, and designing robust tooling. This Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop will bring together researchers and software practitioners to analyze these gaps to reframe the field of Technical Debt with concrete and actionable next steps, in the form of a manifesto. The manifesto will formulate 5-10 concise core principles to overcome current limitations in Technical Debt research and practice, and will further explain the benefits and consequences of these principles, as well as outline a roadmap with concrete milestones to be addressed by researchers, software practitioners, and tool vendors.

This Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop aims to address the following key challenges and research questions:

  • Technical Debt as value-creation: how can Technical Debt be positively taken in an informed and conscious manner to meet business goals, while still avoiding prohibitively high interest payments in the future?
  • Elevating the role of architecture: beyond low-level code analysis, how can software architecture considerations be integrated into a Technical Debt management approach?
  • Next-generation tooling: how can AI-based capabilities be utilized to overcome the limitations of today's software tools?
  • New perspectives on data collection: beyond code analysis, how can other forms of data inform Technical Debt management?
  • Socio-technical aspects: given that Technical Debt is often a matter of how individuals and teams operate, how can social aspects be integrated into Technical Debt management?

The workshop will include plenary sessions, break-out discussion groups, panels, and open spaces to aid the formulation of the core principles of the target manifesto. The manifesto will be drafted during the workshop and signed by the workshop participants. It is intended to embed the manifesto into a 10-page report that will be finalized after the workshop to provide more context, explanations, and expected implications. Upon finalization, the manifesto and report will be disseminated through social media and presentations at major software engineering conferences (e.g. ICSE, FSE, ICSA, ESEM). The manifesto will be sent to tool vendors and consulting companies for Technical Debt Management. We also aim to distribute the manifesto to funding agencies (to prioritize relevant research), industry leaders (to establish practices and frameworks on managing technical debt within their organizations), industry associations (to train professionals), and policymakers (to regulate how government projects handle economics related to technical debt).

Copyright Paris Avgeriou, Zadia Codabux, Heiko Koziolek, and Ipek Ozkaya

Related Seminars
  • Dagstuhl Seminar 16162: Managing Technical Debt in Software Engineering (2016-04-17 - 2016-04-22) (Details)

  • Software Engineering

  • Technical debt
  • Software maintenance and evolution
  • Software architecture
  • Software economics
  • Software Quality