Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration



First Advisor

Brian J. Reithel

Second Advisor

Tony Ammeter

Third Advisor

Bart Garner

Relational Format



As firms rapidly develop solutions in order to increase revenue and market share, software development decisions considered to be temporary shortcuts and/or compromises may be implemented. These shortcuts represent “technical debt,” a metaphor which succinctly describes a software solution that should be “paid in full” or remediated in the future. Software architects and developers intend to resolve the “debt” in future product releases, but practitioners recognize that the challenge of always innovating may indefinitely postpone this remediation effort. Further, the accumulation of technical debt may have long term impact on the product’s maintainability by the software development teams and, consequently, impact the effort estimate delivered to management for forecasting product delivery timelines and product revenue expectations. While there are multiple publications that have studied effort estimation in traditional and agile software development strategies, there is limited research which considers technical debt during the estimation effort. As a result, the purpose of this dissertation is to design and propose a research model intended to determine whether or not the consideration of technical debt during the effort estimation process will improve the accuracy of the effort estimate in an agile project.



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