e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal A Multivocal Literature Review on Non-Technical Debt in Software Development: An Insight into Process, Social, People, Organizational, and Culture Debt

A Multivocal Literature Review on Non-Technical Debt in Software Development: An Insight into Process, Social, People, Organizational, and Culture Debt

[1]Hina Saeeda, Muhammad Ovais Ahmad and Tomas Gustavsson, "A Multivocal Literature Review on Non-Technical Debt in Software Development: An Insight into Process, Social, People, Organizational, and Culture Debt", In e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 240101, 2024. DOI: 10.37190/e-Inf240101.

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Hina Saeeda, Muhammad Ovais Ahmad, Tomas Gustavsson


Software development encompasses various factors beyond technical considerations. Neglecting non-technical elements like individuals, processes, culture, and social and organizational aspects can lead to debt-like characteristics that demand attention. Therefore, we introduce the non-technical debt (NTD) concept to encompass and explore these aspects. This indicates the applicability of the debt analogy to non-technical facets of software development. Technical debt (TD) and NTD share similarities and often arise from risky decision-making processes, impacting both software development professionals and software quality. Overlooking either type of debt can lead to significant implications for software development success. The current study conducts a comprehensive multivocal literature review (MLR) to explore the most recent research on NTD, its causes, and potential mitigation strategies. For analysis, we carefully selected 40 primary studies among 110 records published until October 1, 2022. The study investigates the factors contributing to the accumulation of NTD in software development and proposes strategies to alleviate the adverse effects associated with it. This MLR offers a contemporary overview and identifies prospects for further investigation, making a valuable contribution to the field. The findings of this research highlight that NTD’s impacts extend beyond monetary aspects, setting it apart from TD. Furthermore, the findings reveal that rectifying NTD is more challenging than addressing TD, and its consequences contribute to the accumulation of TD. To avert software project failures, a comprehensive approach that addresses NTD and TD concurrently is crucial. Effective communication and coordination play a vital role in mitigating NTD, and the study proposes utilizing the 3C model as a recommended framework to tackle NTD concerns.


Systematic reviews and mapping studies, Software quality


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