Euromicro/SEAA 2019, Kallithea (Greece): Talk by Marcus Ciolkowski (@M_Ciolkowski, Principal IT Consultant at QAware) & Haralld Störrle (@stoerrle, Principal IT Consultant at QAware)
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Background: Technical debt is a metaphor for trading software quality for business goals, reminding actors of the deferred cost associated with such trade-offs. The bulk of the literature on technical debt focuses on source code quality debt. Much less research is devoted to other forms of technical debt, such as documentation debt or architecture debt. In practice, however, we often observe technical debt pertaining to high-level, domain-oriented design issues.
Goal: We aspire to fill this gap in the study of technical debt and establish "domain debt" as a first class citizen in the discourse on technical debt. We aim to explore sources, indicators, and potential remedies for domain debt.
Method: We present real-life examples of domain debt, representing common design flaws of Enterprise Information Systems. These examples are taken from our work in industry and allow us to characterize "domain debt" precisely. We explore the genesis and impact of these design flaws, and analyze the differences to other forms of technical debt.
Results: Once a name is coined, instances of domain debt pop
out surprisingly often.
Conclusions: Domain debt is a useful notion in practice, and it
can be made operational. It is suitable to steer the conversation around business trade-offs towards higher levels of system design quality.