“The Second Vice is Lying, the First is Running into Debt.” Antecedents and Mitigating Practices of Social Debt: an Exploratory Study in Distributed Software Development Teams

Dreesen, Tim
Hennel, Phil
Rosenkranz, Christoph
Kude, Thomas
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Although much is known about the concept of technical debt in software development, less is known about its social counterpart, also known as social debt. Social debt refers to future consequences of decisions related to people and their interactions. Omissions in social interactions or reduction of communication can foster social debt – and in turn result in negative outcomes in the long run. In this paper, we explore what factors drive and mitigate social debt in distributed agile software development teams. Utilizing an exploratory case study approach, we derive insights from two case organizations. We present antecedents and mitigating factors of social debt related to communication, collaboration, and coordination.
Agile and Lean: Organizations, Products and Development, 3c, home office, social capital, social debt, software development
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