Social Debt in Software Engineering: Insights from Industry

D.A. Tamburri, P. Kruchten, P. Lago, H. van Vliet

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Abstract

Social debt is analogous to technical debt in many ways: it represents the state of software development organisations as the result of “accumulated” decisions. In the case of social debt, decisions are about people and their interactions. Our objective was to study the causality around social debt in practice. In so doing, we conducted exploratory qualitative research in a large software company. We found many forces together causing social debt; we represented them in a framework, and captured anti-patterns that led to the debt in the first place. Finally, we elicited best practices that technicians adopted to pay back some of the accumulated debt. We learned that social debt is strongly correlated with technical debt and both forces should be reckoned with together during the software process.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Internet Services and Applications
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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