Managing architectural technical debt: A unified model and systematic literature review
Journal article, 2017

Large Software Companies need to support the continuous and fast delivery of customer value in both the short and long term. However, this can be impeded if the evolution and maintenance of existing systems is hampered by what has been recently termed Technical Debt (TD). Specifically, Architectural TD has received increased attention in the last few years due to its significant impact on system success and, left unchecked, it can cause expensive repercussions. It is therefore important to understand the underlying factors of architectural TD. With this as background, there is a need for a descriptive model to illustrate and explain different architectural TD issues. The aim of this study is to synthesize and compile research efforts with the goal of creating new knowledge with a specific interest in the architectural TD field. The contribution of this paper is the presentation of a novel descriptive model, providing a comprehensive interpretation of the architectural TD phenomenon. This model categorizes the main characteristics of architectural TD and reveals their relations. The results show that, by using this model, different stakeholders could increase the system’s success rate, and lower the rate of negative consequences, by raising awareness about architectural TD.

Architectural Technical Debt

Software Architecture

Software Maintenance

Systematic literature review


Terese Besker

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Antonio Martini

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Jan Bosch

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Journal of Systems and Software

0164-1212 (ISSN)

Vol. 135 1-16

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology

Subject Categories

Computer and Information Science

Software Engineering

Information Science

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