Non-Technical Sources of Technical Debt and the Software Maintenance Readiness Framework (SMRF)Event: ICSME 2018
Research Programs: Systems Engineering for Velocity and Agility
Dr. Barry Boehm
At a workshop involving industry and government personnel on the sources of high software maintenance cost and technical debt, a number of sources were identified, discussed, and voted on, resulting in a Top-10 list of non-technical sources of technical debt. A resulting effort was made to categorize the sources as shortfalls in software maintainability planning, staffing, and technology (models, methods, processes, and tools). Subsequently, an effort was made to create for software maintenance preparation a counterpart of the 9-level Technology Readiness Level framework, to assess whether a software development project was satisfactorily progressing in its maintainability planning, preparation, and evolution. This paper summarizes the resulting Top-10 list of non-technical sources of technical debt, and a Software Maintenance Readiness Framework (SMRF) for use in project decision reviews to determine whether the project’s progress in addressing its maintainability planning, staffing, and technology preparation is satisfactory. It summarizes feedback from early applications of the SMRF and from a workshop tutorial involving industry, government, and academic personnel, including an exercise in applying it to a representative project. It also summarizes current plans and progress in evolving the SMRF.