A systematic mapping study on technical debt and its management

Z. Li, P. Avgeriou, P. Liang

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Context: Technical debt (TD) is a metaphor reflecting technical compromises that can yield short-term benefit but may hurt the long-term health of a software system. Objective: This work aims at collecting studies on TD and TD management (TDM), and making a classification and thematic analysis on these studies, to obtain a comprehensive understanding on the TD concept and an overview on the current state of research on TDM. Method: A systematic mapping study was performed to identify and analyze research on TD and its management, covering publications between 1992 and 2013. Results: Ninety-four studies were finally selected. TD was classified into 10 types, 8 TDM activities were identified, and 29 tools for TDM were collected. Conclusions: The term "debt" has been used in different ways by different people, which leads to ambiguous interpretation of the term. Code-related TD and its management have gained the most attention. There is a need formore empirical studieswith high-quality evidence on thewhole TDM process and on the application of specific TDM approaches in industrial settings. Moreover, dedicated TDM tools are needed for managing various types of TD in the whole TDM process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-220
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

PT: J; NR: 33; TC: 5; J9: J SYST SOFTWARE; PG: 28; GA: CB3CY; UT: WOS:000349507000015


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