Investigating the Point of View of Project Management Practitioners on Technical Debt - A Study on Stack Exchange
Keywords:Technical debt, Project management practitioners, Stack Exchange
Context: Technical debt (TD) can bring short-term benefits to software projects, but its presence is associated with issues such as decreasing product quality. Recent literature has proposed various approaches for identifying and managing TD, but most of them focus on the software developers’ point of view. Little is known about how project management practitioners perceive and manage TD items. Goal: This work aims to investigate how project management practitioners discuss and experience TD. Method: To achieve this goal, our work mines, curates, and selects a total of 108 TD-related discussions on the Stack Exchange Project Management (SEPM) Q&A site. These discussions amount to 547 posts and 882 text comments on the subject. We analyze this data set quantitatively and qualitatively, using open coding to derive TD types, indicators, and management practices. Results: We identified 74 indicators used for recognizing debt items and 126 TD management practices. The types of debt most discussed at SEPM are process and people debts. This contradicts studies done with developers where code and design debts are most discussed. Conclusion: The perspective considered by project management practitioners to analyze the TD phenomenon is different from the one considered by other roles in the software development process. Our work organizes the identified TD indicators and management practices into a Sankey diagram, which may assist TD management practitioners and serve as guidance for future research on the subject.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Felipe Gomes, Eder Santos, Sávio Freire, Thiago Souto Mendes, Manoel Mendonça, Rodrigo Spínola
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