How Experience Impacts Practitioners' Perception of Causes and Effects of Technical Debt
comunicación de congreso
López Herrera, Gustavo
Pacheco Hernández, Alexia
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Context: The technical debt (TD) metaphor helps to conceptualize the pending issues and trade-offs made during software development. Knowing TD causes can support in defining preventive actions and having information about effects aids in the prioritization of TD payment. Goal: To investigate the impact of the experience level on how practitioners perceive the most likely causes that lead to TD and the effects of TD that have the highest impacts on software projects. Method: We approach this topic by surveying 227 practitioners. Results: While experienced software developers focus on human factors as TD causes and external quality attributes as TD effects, low experienced developers seem to concentrate on technical issues as causes and internal quality issues and increased project effort as effects. Missing any of these types of causes could lead a team to miss the identification of important TD, or miss opportunities to preempt TD. On the other hand, missing important effects could hamper effective planning or erode the effectiveness of decisions about prioritizing TD items. Conclusion: Having software development teams composed of practitioners with a homogeneous experience level can erode the team's ability to effectively manage TD.