Systematic literature review: Technical debt management

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Technical debt is a metaphor which is used to characterize the compromise between short-term benefit and long-term health of a software system. Technical debt is created when software engineers knowingly or unknowingly introduce shortcuts in the development or maintenance of the software system. Therefore, it is crucial to manage the established debt. The aim of this paper is to establish an outline of what we know about Technical Debt Management, the methods applied to gain this knowledge and what we need to know from future studies. This is accomplished through a systematic literature review, which focuses on the concept technical debt management. We identify and analyze 31 papers, which were published from 2017 to April 2019. Our primary analytical focus is on the research approach and setting of the data collection. We identify several gaps in the existing literature: an absence of theory explaining the relation of events, a lack of techniques, such as observation, thus study actual technical debt management behavior, and the unavailability of studies conducted in the public sector. Finally, we offer suggestions for how these gaps can be addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date29 Jan 2020
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2020
EventScandinavian Workshop on E-government - Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 29 Jan 202030 Jan 2020


WorkshopScandinavian Workshop on E-government
LocationGothenburg University
Internet address


  • Technical Debt
  • Technical debt management
  • Systematic literature review


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