Investigating the Point of View of Project Management Practitioners on Technical Debt - A Preliminary Study on Stack Exchange
Context: Technical debt (TD) can bring short-term benefits to software projects, but its presence is also associated with issues such as decreasing product quality. Recent literature has proposed indicator-based strategies for TD identification and different approaches for TD management, but most of them focused on the point of view of software developers. Little is still known about how project management practitioners actually discuss, experience, and manage TD. Goal: This work investigates, from the point of view of project management practitioners, how they commonly discuss, experience, and manage TD. Method: We mined, curated, and selected a total of 42 TD discussions on Stack Exchange Project Management (SEPM), totaling 583 messages. We analyzed this data set quantitatively and qualitatively. Results: The most commonly discussed types of debt are process and people, revealing 47 indicators for recognizing debt items. We also found 72 practices related to TD management. Conclusion: The perspective considered by project management practitioners to analyze the TD phenomenon is different from the one considered by other roles in the software development process. This work organizes the TD indicators and management practices identified in SEPM into a Sankey diagram, which may assist practitioners and serve as guidance for future research.
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