Architectural technical debt in embedded systems
Book chapter, 2020

Agile software development (ASD) has been employed effectively in the development of embedded systems, contributing to speeding up the delivery of value to the customers. However, some obstacles have been found, limiting the application of ASD to such a domain. This chapter focuses on one such challenges, the degradation of the system architecture over time, which is called, in literature, Architectural Technical Debt (ATD). Software engineering is an individual activity and the causes for ATD accumulation can be related to suboptimal decision taken by individual employees. New employees as well are more subjected to accumulating ATD due to the natural noncomplete understanding of the architecture and patterns. The chapter summarizes the causes, trends, consequences, and possible solutions related to the management of ATD. The results are all based on a strong collaboration with several software-intensive systems industries located in northern Europe and, consequently, relevant to all Industry 4.0 companies.

Applied systems thinking

Industry 4.0 companies

Software engineering

Architectural technical debt

Embedded systems

Northern europe

Agile software development

System architecture

Software-intensive systems industries


Antonio Martini

University of Oslo

Jan Bosch

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

Systems Engineering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

9781119513957 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Software Engineering

Embedded Systems

Computer Science



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