Embracing Technical Debt, from a Startup Company Perspective
Paper i proceeding, 2018

Software  startups  are  typically  under  extreme
pressure to get to market quickly with limited resources and high
uncertainty.  This  pressure  and  uncertainty  is  likely  to  cause
startups to accumulate technical debt as they make decisions that
are more focused on the short-term than the long-term health of
the codebase. However, most research on technical debt has been
focused  on  more  mature  software  teams,  who  may  have  less
pressure  and,  therefore,  reason  about  technical  debt  very
differently  than  software  startups.  In  this  study,  we  seek  to
understand  the  organizational  factors  that  lead  to  and  the
benefits  and  challenges  associated  with  the  intentional
accumulation  of  technical  debt  in  software  startups.  We
interviewed 16 professionals involved in seven different software
startups.  We  find  that  the  startup  phase,  the  experience  of  the
developers,  software  knowledge  of  the  founders,  and  level  of
employee  growth  are  some  of  the  organizational  factors  that
influence  the  intentional  accumulation  of  technical  debt.  In
addition,  we  find  the  software  startups  are  typically  driven  to
achieve  a  “good  enough  level,”  and  this  guides  the  amount  of
technical debt that they intentionally accumulate to balance the
benefits  of  speed  to  market  and  reduced  resources  with  the
challenges of later addressing technical debt.


Software development

Technical Debt


Terese Besker

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering, Software Engineering for Cyber Psysical Systems

Rumesh Edirisooriya Lokuge

Organisation okänd

Antonio Martini

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Software Engineering

Jan Bosch

Software Engineering for Testing, Requirements, Innovation and Psychology

Kelly Blincoe

Organisation okänd

The International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME)
, Spain,


Informations- och kommunikationsteknik



Tvärvetenskapliga studier



Innovation och entreprenörskap

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