WHEN: 18 Oct 2023 at 15:00 

WHERE:  Blocco 0, Aula A1.6

Abstract: Technical debt, the metaphor likening the creation and evolution of software to a process of going into debt, was coined in 1992 by Ward Cunningham in his attempt to communicate to his boss the consequences of software development decisions or inaction (intentional or inadvertent).  Researchers have asserted that technical debt occurs in every software development project and should be managed.   Over the past 30 years, research in this area has progressed in terms of tooling and expanded understanding of various types of debt, including recently, social debt.    However, the extent literature offers little help in terms of empirical case studies to help companies who are searching for ways to manage technical debt holistically.  By “holistically,” we mean the aspects of technical debt are intimately interconnected and must be managed as a whole.  The recent melt-down of Southwest Airlines in December 2022 is an example of a “heart-attack” caused by technical debt that cost them billions of dollars.  This is what “holistic” health management of technical debt would hopefully prevent.    

In this talk, the analysis of eight case studies of technical debt management in industry will be presented.   Note that both existing technology adoption theories and discoveries using grounded theory research methods were combined to interpret the data collected.  Critical success factors will be detailed, and the talk will conclude with a holistic technical debt management (HoTDM) model synthesized from the best practices found.

Bio: Hong-Mei Chen is a Professor of Information Technology Management at the Shidler College of Business of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  She formerly served as Associate Dean for the College and was the Founder and Director of the Advanced Information Management Solutions (AIMS) Lab.  She has won prestigious teaching excellence awards at the college, community, and university levels.  She conducts cross-disciplinary empirical research on information systems design and development including technology adoption, frequently working with many executives of Fortune 100 companies.  She has obtained multi-million-dollar grants and directed several large-scale, multi-institution research projects.  She directed and implemented the image database system for the DARPA MISSION project utilizing NASA experimental satellites. She was the director for the National Data Center for the $34 million Electrical Vehicle development program. She serves on US NSF (National Science Foundation) review panels and a NSF large grant (>$25 million) management team.  She has widely published in prestigious MIS and Software Engineering journals in areas such as social debt, big data engineering and management, software architecture, innovation-driven system design methods, green information systems, cybersecurity, crowd-sourced systems, social CRM (customer relationship management), business-IT alignment, service engineering, distributed database, and AI.

[SEMINAR] Holistic Technical Debt Management: In Search of Best Practices