Developing Processes to Increase Technical Debt Visibility and Manageability – An Action Research Study in Industry

Jesse Yli-Huumo, Andrey Maglyas, Kari Smolander, Johan Haller, Hannu Törnroos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The knowledge about technical debt and its management has increased in recent years. The interest of academia and industry has generated many viewpoints on technical debt. Technical debt management consists of technical and organizational aspects, which make it a challenge in software development. To increase technical debt visibility and manageability, new processes must be developed and thoroughly empirically tested for their applicability. In this paper, we use the action research methodology to design processes for identification, documentation, and prioritization of technical debt. Our partner in this research is a large Nordic IT company Tieto, currently in a need for new ways to improve their technical debt management. The results include a set of processes and templates that were successfully used to identify and document technical debt. The identified technical debt items were later prioritized based on evaluation by Tieto employees. Tieto was able to create a prioritized technical debt backlog, which is now used for reduction activities to create a healthy and sustainable product for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct-Focused Software Process Improvement
Subtitle of host publication17th International Conference, PROFES 2016, Trondheim, Norway, November 22-24, 2016, Proceedings
Volume 10027
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-49094-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 22 Nov 201624 Nov 2016
Conference number: 17

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


ConferenceInternational Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement
Abbreviated titlePROFES


  • Technical debt;Technical debt management;Software process improvement;Action research


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