Archive for December 2010
The Second Workshop on Managing Technical Debt will be held on May 23, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is part of and co-located with the 33rd International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE2011). Between the workshop and the conference you can rest assured any aspect of software engineering known to mankind will be amply covered.
The workshop is quite unique in its strong emphasis on rigorizing the foundations of technical debt and unifying the ways in which the generic concept is being applied. The reason for so doing is quite straightforward. The term ‘technical debt’ has, no doubt, proven intuitively compelling. The various intuitive interpretations, however, differ in various subtle nuances. The Overview of the workshop points out:
Yet, it leaves many questions open, such as
- How do you identify technical debt? What are the different kinds of debt? What are its parameters that help projects elicit, communicate, and manage it?
- What is the lifetime of technical debt?
- How is technical debt related to evolution and maintenance activities?
- How can information about technical debt empirically be collected for developing conceptual models?
- How do you measure and payoff technical debt? What metrics need to be collected so that key analysis can be conducted?
- How can technical debt be visualized and analyzed?
As readers of this blog know, I love the combination of intellectual challenge with pragmatic utility that characterizes technical debt. Doing technical debt in Hawaii adds a dimension of pleasure to the mix. The mental image I have for the workshop is ‘Surfing Technical Debt.‘
On a more prosaic note, the due date for submitting a paper to the workshop is January 21, 2011. Please do not hesitate to contact me or other members of the program committee for any questions you might have on your paper.
Click here for my just published interview on Technical Debt. Major themes discussed in the interview are as follows:
- The nature of technical debt
- Tactical and strategic effects of technical debt
- How the technical debt metric enables you to communicate across levels and functions
- What Toxic Code is and how it is related to Net Present Value
- The atrocious nature of code with a high Error Feedback Ratio
- Cyclomatic complexity as a predictor of error-proneness
- Use of heat maps in reducing technical debt
- Use of density of technical debt as a risk indicator
- How and when to use technical debt to ‘stop-the-line’
- Use of technical debt in governing software
To illuminate various subtle aspects of technical debt, I use the following metaphors in the interview:
- The rusty automobiles metaphor
- The universal source of truth metaphor
- The Russian dolls metaphor
- The mine field metaphor
- The weight reduction metaphor
- The teeth flossing metaphor
Between the themes and the metaphors, the interview combines theory with pragmatic advice for both the technical and the non-technical listener.