Time to Pay Up - Technical Debt from a Software Quality Perspective
Paper i proceeding, 2017

Software companies need to produce high-quality software and support continuous and fast delivery of customer value both in the short and long term. However, this can be hindered by compromised software quality attributes that have an important influence on the overall software development lifecycle. The aim of this study is threefold: to understand which quality issues have the most negative impact on the software development lifecycle process, to deter- mine the association of these quality issues in relation to the age of the software, and relate each of these quality issues to the impact of different Technical Debt types. This paper reports the results of six initial group interviews with in total 43 practitioners, an online web-survey provided quantitative data from 258 participants and seven follow-up group interviews with in total 32 industrial software practitioners. First, this study shows that practitioners identified maintenance difficulties, a limited ability to add new features, restricted reusability, and poor reliability, and performance degradation issues as the quality issues having the most negative effect on the software development lifecycle. Secondly, we found no evidence for the generally held view that the Technical Debt increases with age of the software. Thirdly, we show that Technical Debt affects not only productivity but also several other quality attributes of the system.



Empirical Study

Software Development



Technical Debt


Software Quality


Terese Besker

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering

Antonio Martini

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering

Jan Bosch

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering