Designing a Framework for Managing Technical Debt in a Multi-Project Environment

IT strategies and goals of an organization are often realized by means of IT projects. Each project implements a dedicated IT solution, which often relies upon the past or future outcomes of other projects. The understanding of such interdependencies among IT projects is crucial to properly place IT development plans in the overall IT roadmap, including the plan for mitigating the impacts of technical debt. However, our observation suggests that technical debt tends to be managed in a completely decentralized manner, where projects neither take a common approach to technical debt management (TDM) nor share their knowledge and information about it. Moreover, the silo mentality that often exists between projects makes it hard to establish integration in this context. We argue that a degree of centralization in TDM is needed to have a broad overview of the organization’s technical debt situation and to perform holistic decision-making in this context. Therefore, this study aims to propose a framework for understanding, tailoring, and establishing a TDM approach in a multi-projects environment. To develop this framework, a systematic literature review is performed to gather theoretical and practical insights about relevant TDM challenges and requirements in a multi-projects environment. Based on the challenges and requirements, various potential means to adapt the existing TDM frameworks are identified and conceptualized accordingly. Lastly, to support future works in this context, this study elaborates future research and development directions for bringing the proposed framework into practice.

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Sehrish Khan