The role of awareness and gamification on technical debt management





Publicado en

Actas de las XXVII Jornadas de Ingeniería del Software y Bases de Datos (JISBD 2023)

Licencia Creative Commons


Context. Managing technical debt and developing easy-to-maintain software are very important aspects for technological companies. Integrated development environments (IDEs) and static measurement and analysis tools are used for this purpose. Meanwhile, gamification also is gaining popularity in professional settings, particularly in software development. Objective. This paper aims to analyse the improvement in technical debt indicators due to the use of techniques to raise developers' awareness of technical debt and the introduction of gamification into technical debt management. Method. A quasi-experiment that manipulates a training environment with three different treatments was conducted. The first treatment was based on training in the concept of technical debt, bad smells and refactoring, while using multiple plugins in IDEs to obtain reports on quality indicators of both the code and the tests. The second treatment was based on enriching previous training with the use of Sonarqube to continuously raise awareness of technical debt. The third was based on adding a gamification component to technical debt management based on a contest with a top ten ranking. The results of the first treatment are compared with the use of Sonarqube for continuously raising developers' awareness of technical debt; while the possible effect of gamification is compared with the results of the previous treatment. Results. It was observed that continuously raising awareness using a technical debt management tool, such as Sonarqube, significantly improves the technical debt indicators of the code developed by the participants versus using multiple code and test quality checking tools. On the other hand, incorporating some kind of competition between developers by defining a contest and creating a ranking does not bring about any significant differences in the technical debt indicators. Conclusions. Investment in staff training through tools to raise developers’ awareness of technical debt and incorporating it into continuous integration pipelines does bring improvements in technical debt management.


Acerca de Crespo, Yania

Palabras clave

Technical Debt, Raising Awareness, SonarQube, Gamification, Quasi-experiment
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