A Benchmarking-based Model for Technical Debt Calculation
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14th International Conference on Quality Software, Dallas, USA, October 2-3, 2014
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Technical debt has become a popular term in the software engineering community in recent years for labelling issues and development risks incurred either intentionally or unintentionally throughout the entire software development process. There are some approaches for calculating and/or managing the costs related with different kinds of technical debt. Current research lacks a clear classification of these existing approaches. We therefore, in a first step, developed a classification scheme including respective categories and dimensions for this purpose and derived in a second step the need for a new approach that is able to (1) consider several levels of required target quality a project shall reach, and (2) base on a calculation mechanism that allows to regard experiences with known reference projects. In an experiment with two open source projects we find that the results of our model are in-line with an external quality judgment of these projects. It also shows how the resulting remediation costs depend on the actual quality level of the projects and the target quality level. We conclude this paper with future work regarding improvements of our calculation model and planned enhancements to cover design and documentation aspects.