Keywords: Design Science Research (DSR), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Software Quality, Technical Debt (TD), Technical Debt Management (TDM).
Technical Debt (TD) is a metaphor that can be described as the technical issues that are hidden from end users and customers, but in fact hinder the development efforts during system evolution and future enhancements. Due to tight budgets and timelines, TD is frequently incurred, which may lead to technical, financial, and quality issues that make future maintenance more costly or impossible. While business professionals concentrate on external issues related to customer satisfaction, in fact they rarely pay attention to internal software quality defects and maintenance, which would rather cause future interest payments. In this research study, we propose a TD management (TDM) approach with best practices developed using Design Science Research (DSR) and conducted with multiple case studies for the software development team in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The study demonstrates that the proposed approach for measuring the impact of internal / external software quality leads to increased awareness of TD’s occurrence and thereby provides processes for preventing, identifying, prioritizing, monitoring, and repaying TD to satisfy both customer value and technical requirements, along with halting project failures and cost overruns. In actuality, applying our proposed TDM approach leads to a deeper comprehension of TD contraction in selected software companies, improved team morale and motivation, as well as an enhancement in its maintainability.