Technical Debt Trade-Off - Experiences from Software Startups Becoming Grownups

  • Orges CicoEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 370)


Software startups are software-intensive early-stage companies that have high growth rates. Their time to market is often regarded as short and decisive in establishing their product/service success, thus leading to short-cuts in software engineering decisions. High accumulation of the technical debt at early stages has been documented from previous investigations. How startups rapidly becoming grownups perceive technical debt, make the primary goal of our study. We conducted semi-structured interviews with six technical and executive officers from five software startups, selected using purposive sampling. We identified four critical perceptions (managing, accepting, avoiding, ignoring technical debt) which permit them to make technical debt trade-offs. We also found that no one size fits all. Startups need to make deliberate educated decisions on how to use technical debt in their advantage.


Software startups Technical debt Software intensive 



This work was funded by the Norwegian Research Council under the project IPIT Project Number: 274816. Many thanks to Prof. Letizia Jaccheri, for the support as project leader.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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