Fourth International Workshop on Managing Technical Debt

By On December 14, 2012 At 3:00 pm

ICSE 4thTechnical Debt Workshop

It’s that time of year again! As part of the annual ICSE Event, The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) will be holding their fourth annual workshop on managing Technical Debt, this time in Los Angeles, USA on May 20, 2013. With a program committee made up of thought leaders like Ward Cunningham, Israel Gat, and Steve McConnell to name a few, it looks like this year’s workshop will be diving into some interesting and exciting topics:

Delivering complex, large-scale systems faces the ongoing challenge of how best to balance rapid deployment with long-term value. From the original description—”not quite right code which we postpone making it right”—various people have used the metaphor of technical debt to describe many other kinds of debts or ills of software development, encompassing broadly anything that stands in the way of deploying, selling, or evolving a software system or anything that adds to the friction from which software development endeavors suffer: test debt, people debt, architectural debt, requirement debt, documentation debt, or just an amorphous, all-encompassing software debt.

Consequently, the concept of technical debt in software development has become somewhat diluted lately. Is a new requirement, function, or feature not yet implemented “requirement debt”? Do we call postponing the development of a new function “planning debt”? The metaphor is losing some of its strength on one hand. On the other hand, the practitioner community has increased interest to understanding and managing debt. This is evidenced by the large amount of discussion of the concept of technical debt in the blogosphere, and in particular in the agile software development arena. We can offer software engineers a foundation for managing such tradeoffs based on models of their economic impacts. Technical debt succinctly communicates the issues observed in large-scale, long-term projects:

  • There is an optimization problem where optimizing for the short-term puts the long-term into economic and technical jeopardy when debt is unmanaged.
  • Design shortcuts can give the perception of success until their consequences start slowing projects down.
  • Software development decisions, especially architectural ones, need to be actively managed and continuously analyzed quantitatively as they incur cost, value, and debt.

For the 4th workshop on Managing Technical Debt, they are seeking papers on practical experience with technical debt, and approaches to evaluate and manage technical debt including, but not limited to the following topics:

— Techniques for eliciting technical debt
— Visualizing technical debt
— Analyzing technical debt
— Measuring technical debt
— Relationship of technical debt to software evolution, maintenance and software aging
— Economic models for describing technical debt
— Technical debt and software life-cycle management
— Technical debt within the software ecosystem
— Technical debt and architecture

Paper submission deadline: February 7, 2013
Workshop date: May 20, 2013

Further information including important dates, submission guidelines, and information on past workshops can be found at

FREE Report: How to Monetize Application Technical Debt — Gartner & CAST
A Data-Driven Approach to Balance Delivery & Agility with Business Risk

Technical Debt has been growing exponentially as maintenance is starved and development teams are forced to cut corners to meet increasingly unrealistic delivery schedules. CAST clearly defines Technical Debt so it can be measured and then juxtaposed with the business value of applications to inform critical tradeoff between delivery agility and business risk.

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